One of the important applications of climate knowledge is in the area of disasters. Being able to predict the scale of a potential disaster and the risks a disaster could impose on a community in the future is valuable and crucial information for not just government agencies and aid organizations, but also to support individuals and communities to both build strategies to become more resilient, and to anticipate when a disaster is likely to occur.
Disasters can differ widely based on region, climate, time of year, socioeconomic context, and other factors. However, while we have seen significant advances in understanding risk for some disaster types, such as drought and hurricanes, progress has lagged behind for other types — such as floods and particularly flash floods. While floods differ based on the water source and land area, it is generally recognized that flash floods can be especially dangerous.
Some people might see dividing floods into different types as splitting hairs, but it’s true that a “coastal” flood is very different in many ways from a “flash” flood. Why do you think these distinctions are crucial? Why do we need to categorize disasters?