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Number 489 • November 1, 2007 | Past Issues


1) Call for Session Ideas: 2008 Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop – Deadline Extended

The Natural Hazards Center invites proposals for session topics for the 2008 Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop. Proposed session topics will provide guidance to the Center as it plans and prepares next year’s program. Session ideas may be modified, combined, or otherwise altered by the Center, and submission of a topic does not guarantee inclusion in the program.

The annual workshop is designed to bring members of the research and applications communities together for face-to-face networking and discussion of cutting-edge issues related to hazards and disasters and society’s efforts to deal with them. It provides a dynamic, provocative, and challenging forum for the diverse opinions and perspectives of the hazards community.

To submit a session idea, go to Session topics must be submitted by November 16, 2007, to be considered.

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2) Call for Papers: 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) 2008

Organizers of a special academic session on “Virtual Teams and Virtual Communities in Emergency Preparedness and Response” have issued a call for papers. The 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM) 2008 conference will be held in Washington, DC, on May 4-7, 2008.

Papers are invited that provide data from studies of the use of virtual teams or virtual communities in the design or use of emergency management information systems, with data collection methods ranging from laboratory or field experiments to qualitative case studies. Some non-exhaustive examples of topics that could contribute to this session are papers that address the following questions: What are the problems that occur when virtual or partially distributed teams need to use information technology to coordinate disaster management related tasks, and how can they be resolved? In regard to virtual communities or forums: What patterns of use of these systems as used for disaster response planning or emergency response now; what problems are occurring; and what role could these sorts of forums have in future disaster preparation and response? How could their efforts be better facilitated? What sociotechnical conditions should be in place to make them most beneficial?

Papers are due December 21, 2007. Details on paper submission and the complete call for papers can be found at

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3) National Institutes of Health Requests Input on Research Priorities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is seeking input about emerging priorities in basic behavioral and social sciences research that may offer potential for improving and accelerating health research and its impact on the health of the nation.

If you wish to participate please visit

Additional information regarding NIH Behavioral and Social Science Research and the current call for input is also available at .

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4) NOAA Weather Radio Audio Available on the Internet

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that audio from many NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) channels is now available online, either as streaming audio or as MP3s and podcasts.

Though National Weather Service (NWS) offices are not hosting live streaming audio, many third parties do so, and the NWS maintains a list of streams at

In addition, a few dozen NWS offices are uploading audio files of weather radio messages to their Web sites, either as MP3 files or as podcasts. The audio files available vary by site, but typically contain routine messages such as forecasts, hourly weather roundups, and climate summaries. For the list of sites with downloadable audio, go to

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5) World Climate Map Updated

Although it is now over 100 years old, the Köppen-Geiger system of climate classification is still widely used by teachers and researchers. Developed in the 1800s, it assigns the climate at any particular location to one of five general categories (tropical, arid, temperate, cold, or polar) and adds subdivisions based on annual temperature and precipitation. When this system was first created, the global distribution of weather stations was inconsistent and mapping techniques were relatively crude.

Now, Murray C. Peel, a geographer at the University of Melbourne in Australia, has updated the Köppen-Geiger system and produced a new global climate map based on data from more than 4,200 weather stations that have been collecting precipitation and temperature data for at least 30 years. According to the new map, the most common climate type by land area is Hot Desert (14.2% of total land area), followed by Tropical savannah (11.5% of total land area).

An article authored by Peel and co-authors Brian Finlayson and Tom McMahon on the updated system, titled Updated World Map of the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, was published in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. The paper discusses some problems related to dealing with sites that are not uniquely classified into one climate type by the Köppen-Geiger system and assesses the outcomes on a continent by continent basis. The abstract, full paper, and the updated map as an image file (.jpg) and as a raster file (ArcMap), can be downloaded for free at Also available at this site are files containing the precipitation and temperature variables for all stations used in the construction of the updated map.

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6) Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we have discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see]

Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative
The new Web site of the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) is an online database of disaster risk reduction academic courses worldwide. Currently the database contains more than 70 entries and will continue to expand. CADRI is a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Program, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The Stafford Act: Priorities for Reform - Cities, Communications and Catastrophe: Improving Robustness and Resiliency
This New York University Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response study finds that the Stafford Act—the nation’s major disaster response law—is out of date. The study notes that the 1988 act offers the same level of assistance for a blizzard in a rural community as it does for a major earthquake or hurricane in a major urban area, and the authors recommend that the act be amended to establish a response level for catastrophic events.

Top 10 Killer Tornadoes
This LiveScience feature explores the top 10 deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history. The slideshow format provides users with pictures of the event, a fatality count, and the tornado’s Fujita scale ranking. The deadliest tornado was the March 18, 1925, Tri-State Tornado, which killed 695 people and injured more than 2,000.

All-Hands Community Portal
After being shut down due to repeated hacker attacks, the All-Hands Community Portal is back online, on a more secure platform. The portal is an excellent resource for emergency management, homeland security, and business continuity professionals to use in sharing information, tools, and other resources, and includes more than 4,000 pages of resources.

Preparing Your Community for Tsunamis: A Guidebook for Local Advocates
A working draft of this GeoHazards International guidebook is now available online. Addressing community-level tsunami preparedness, the guidebook is a work in progress, and GeoHazards International plans to make available in mid-November a new version with photographs, maps, and graphics.

Wildfire Mitigation Fact Sheet
This five-page fact sheet was produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with Firewise Communities, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, and the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and is a resource for rebuilding after a fire. It includes information on creating survivable space around homes, the importance of maintenance, and using fire-resistant materials.

The New Certification Program for Business Preparedness
The Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) hosted a virtual forum on October 31, 2007, titled “The New Certification Program for Business Preparedness: Key Issues for Stakeholders.” Matt Statler, the associate director of the International Center for Enterprise Preparedness at New York University presented information on the implications of legislation that requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide for the development of a voluntary certification program for private sector all-hazards emergency preparedness. The transcript is now available.

Potsdam Symposium Memorandum
An October 8-10, 2007, symposium on global sustainability in Potsdam, Germany, brought together Nobel Laureates and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Called “Global Sustainability: A Nobel Cause,” the Potsdam Memorandum was developed at the symposium. The memorandum, an executive summary of items discussed, and more information about the meeting are available here.

FEMA: Federal Response to the California Wildfires
This site serves as a central node of information on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s role in the response to the California wildfires. Included on the site are specific responsibilities of other government agencies, information on donations and volunteering, and tips for recovery and rebuilding.

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7) Conferences, Training, and Events

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. For a comprehensive list of upcoming hazards-related meetings, visit our Web site at]

6th Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Conference—Cheyenne, Wyoming: November 8-10, 2007. Presenter: Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute. This annual meeting focuses on the role of mental health in natural and human-caused disasters. This year’s conference theme is “From Crisis to Recovery: Resilience and Strategic Planning for the Future.” Topics will include cultural issues, ethnicity, political concerns, religious considerations, children, and mitigation. Visit

Impacts of Extreme Weather & Climate on Socio-economic Development in Africa—Akure, Nigeria: November 11-15, 2007. Organizer: Nigerian Meteorological Society. This international conference focuses on African weather-related disasters and their consequences. Its goal is to unite researchers who have been studying African weather and climate and the impacts of extreme weather. The conference will take place at the Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria. Themes will include the impacts of extreme weather and climate on agriculture, water resources, healthcare, urban planning and tourism, transportation, and socio-economic development in Africa. See

Cities on Volcanoes 5 (COV5)—Shimabara, Japan: November 19-23, 2007. Cities on Volcanoes (COV) is now considered to be the most important forum for volcanologists, city planners, authorities, and businesses to meet and discuss the effects of volcanic eruptions on society, infrastructure, and economic development, and ways to mitigate these effects. In addition to highlighting recent volcanological research, COV5 will focus on volcanic crisis preparedness and management in densely populated areas.More information is at

2007 Emergency Preparedness Conference—Vancouver, British Columbia: November 21-23, 2007. Sponsor: Pacific Northwest Preparedness Society. This conference supports the evolving disaster management field by inviting speakers from all jurisdictions across Canada and the United States to discuss new ideas, concepts, and technology and to share this knowledge with delegates from the region. This, in turn, provides an opportunity for community emergency practitioners to improve their knowledge and skill level and keep abreast of new and improving technology and concepts of operation. Visit

Remembering When: Fire and Fall Prevention for Older Adults—December 2-4, 2007: Boston, Massachusetts. Sponsor: National Fire Protection Association NFPA). NFPA’s Center for High-Risk Outreach is committed to helping communities reduce fire and fall injuries and deaths among older adults. The Remembering When program is centered around 16 key safety messages—eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention—developed by experts and practitioners from national and local safety organizations as well as through focus group testing in the high-fire-risk states of Alaska, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and in Cleveland and Atlanta. To ensure that the program is reaching the most vulnerable of older adults, NFPA will select up to 40 communities to attend the first Remembering When Conference, emphasize reaching older adults through home visits. See

8th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Climate Change: Science and Solutions—Washington, DC: January 16-18, 2008. Organizer: National Council for Science and the Environment. This large interactive conference focuses on developing and advancing science-based solutions to climate change. Climate Change: Science and Solutions will explore approaches to climate stabilization, minimization, mitigation, and adaptation. Workshops, breakout sessions, and symposia will provide opportunities for institutions, organizations, and individuals to contribute ideas and innovations, visionary concepts, successful models and prototypes, and pragmatic recommendations on moving forward on solutions to climate change. Visit

88th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting—New Orleans, Louisiana: January 20-24, 2008. Organizer: American Meteorological Society (AMS). The broad theme of the 2008 meeting is “Enhancing the Connectivity between Research and Applications for the Benefit of Society.” This is an important topic that will shape weather, ocean, climate, and environmental enterprise for many years to come. A Presidential Forum will consist of diverse presentations from the broad weather and climate enterprise on "Hurricanes—Research Priorities, Improving Forecasts, and Effective Response,” surrounded by a two-day special session on hurricanes, climate and policy, with emphasis on Hurricane Katrina as a case study. In addition to the annual showcase of outstanding exhibits, events, conferences, and symposia, this year’s meeting will include a number of new and unique sessions, such as joint sessions between selectively-grouped AMS scientific and technological conferences to identify societal impacts of their important work, an Educational Forum on Data Assimilation, special symposium on hurricanes, THORPEX symposium, GOES Users Conference, and First Colloquium on Industrial Meteorology and Certified Consulting Meteorologists. See

The Inland Empire: Towards a More Humane Metropolis—Riverside, California: January 24, 2008. Organizers: University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Speakers and panelists from Southern California and elsewhere will examine some of the environmental and social challenges confronting the Riverside-San Bernardino region, one of the fastest growing and most hazardous metropolitan areas in the United States. The meeting is the second regional workshop based on The Humane Metropolis: People and Nature in the 21st Century City, a series that began in Pittsburgh in 2007 and tentatively will continue in Baltimore later in 2008. Visit

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8) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Assistant Professor of Geography
California State University; Sacramento, California

California State University, Sacramento, seeks to fill one position in geography with a specialty in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), effective Fall 2008.

Minimum Qualifications: Education: Ph.D. in Geography or related discipline required; all requirements for the degree must be completed by August 25, 2008.

Special Knowledge and Abilities: A strong background in geography, with graduate coursework and/or research experience in Geographic Information Systems and geotechniques. The successful candidate will be expected to (1) teach advanced courses in GIS/geotechniques and (2) take the lead in helping the Department strengthen and expand its role as the primary provider of GIS expertise on the Sacramento State campus. Preference will be given to applicants who, in addition to the above, also have expertise in an additional systematic or regional specialty. A strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and supervision of undergraduate research is required.

Experience: Prior teaching experience at the college or university level is desired. Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated the ability to work well with students from diverse backgrounds and/or who have a record of attracting external funding.

Assignment: Duties will include: (1) developing and teaching upper division courses in the candidate's areas of specialization, (2) teaching other undergraduate courses, including introductory level courses, (3) engaging in scholarly activities/research (preferably in a way that involves undergraduate students in the research experience), and (4) the service and advising responsibilities normally expected of university faculty. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to take the lead in strengthening the Geography Department's GIS program.

Appointment: The position is tenure-track at the rank of Assistant Professor. Starting salary $48,720 to $61,416 depending upon experience.

Application Procedure: Review of applications will begin November 5, 2007; position open until filled.

Applicants must submit a two to three page letter of application addressing their fitness for the position described above. The letter must address the applicant's teaching interests and experience; experience working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS); and scholarly interests and experience (particularly in the context of doing research with undergraduate students). The application packet must also include official transcripts of all college work (unofficial copies accepted until invited for interview), a curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation sent directly to the department search committee, and the telephone numbers of at least three references who will speak to the applicant's professional qualifications.

Send Materials to: Michael Schmandt, Chair of Search Committee, Department of Geography, California State University, Sacramento, 6000 J Street , Sacramento, CA 95819-6003.

Environmental Fellows
Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts

Purpose: The Harvard University Center for the Environment created the Environmental Fellows program to enable recent doctorate recipients to use and expand Harvard's extraordinary resources to tackle complex environmental problems. The Environmental Fellows will work for two years with Harvard faculty members in any school or department to create new knowledge while also strengthening connections across the University's academic disciplines.

Environmental Fellows may include people with degrees in the sciences, social sciences, law, government, public policy, public health, medicine, design, and the full array of humanities.

The award: The fellowship will provide an annual stipend of $52,000 plus health insurance, a $5,000 allowance for travel and professional expenses, and other employee benefits. Environmental Fellows will begin work in September 2008.

Schedule: Applications and all letters of reference must be received by the Center for the Environment by 5 pm Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, January 15, 2008. The Center will announce the awards in April 2008.

For more information, see

Los Angeles Community Preparedness Corps
City of Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Department; Los Angeles, California

Please see the complete details here,

Centre Manager/Senior Lecturer in Disaster and Development
Northumbria University; Newcastle upon Tyne

The Northumbria University Disaster and Development Centre (DDC) together with the Division of Environmental Management is seeking to appoint a Centre Manager (Senior Lecturer). The post holder will be expected to take on a management role for the Centre. This opportunity results from the expanded commitments of the Director of DDC with ongoing increase in Centre activity. The post also provides significant opportunity for bringing in new research and development activities through the DDC. The appointee, who is to be recruited as soon as possible in 2008, will be responsible for a contribution to teaching of the MSc Disaster Management and Sustainable Development and to some undergraduate modules. Applicants should have excellent teaching skills whilst being capable of active involvement in the field of development and disaster risk reduction at an international level. A specialist focus on a topic within this field is likely to prove to be an advantage and should be identifiable within the candidates profile. Preference is likely to be given to those who can demonstrate bringing something new to the Centre in terms of detailed subfields of disaster and development studies. Disaster management and sustainable development at Northumbria has since 2000 defined the DDC as a first Centre dedicated to this relationship through international research, consultancy, and postgraduate studies.

The post is fixed term for two years in the first instance with prospects for extension to long term or permanent.

Closing date: 12th November 2007.
Selection date: 22nd November 2007.

Applications can only be accepted when made on the official application form which you can request from our website, by telephoning (0191) 227 4321 during office hours or by writing to: Human Resources Department, Northumbria University, Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST. Please quote reference APS07/04.

Homeland Security Manager
The O’Brien’s Group; Brea, California

The O’Brien’s Group, a leading domestic and international emergency management firm is seeking a qualified professional to join our Houston, Texas Homeland Security team. The preferred candidate will have a thorough knowledge of NIMS, ICS and Crisis Management with a particular emphasis on emergency preparedness and planning in federal, state, and local government. Additional experience with training and exercise program development, HSEEP, and project management is desired. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree or higher in Emergency Management, Safety Science, Public Health, Public Administration or equivalent technical/managerial experience as normally acquired through 10+ years of relevant work-related activities. Excellent organizational, interpersonal and communication skills are essential. The candidate must be able to work effectively in a fast-paced and changing environment. In addition, the candidate must be proficient with personal computers, Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) and Microsoft Outlook. The Homeland Security Manager must be able to travel approximately 30% of the time.

The O’Brien’s Group offers competitive salaries and benefit packages. If you are interested in the Homeland Security Manager position, please forward your resume and salary history to or you can mail them to:

The O’Brien’s Group, Inc.
Daniel M. Sobieski
2929 East Imperial Highway, Suite 290
Brea, California 92821

Senior Officer for Research and Learning
Oxfam America U.S. Regional Office; Louisiana or Mississippi

BACKGROUND: Oxfam America’s Gulf Coast Recovery Program works to assert the rights of low-income and vulnerable communities on the Gulf Coast gain access to public assistance in the post-disaster reconstruction process and to advocate for an equitable recovery. The program focuses on affordable housing and the rights of low-wage workers. Oxfam America’s US Regional Office works with communities to end domestic poverty and economic injustice.

PURPOSE OF POSITION: The Senior Officer for Research and Learning will spearhead the management and creation of learning and knowledge to further the goals of the Gulf Coast Recovery Program in particular, as well as more broadly the US Regional Office and Oxfam America. The Senior Officer will help position Oxfam America as a thought leader in the equitable recovery of the Gulf Coast and help ensure that our team, partners, and allies gain access to as well as the capacity to create timely and relevant information, documentation and analysis.

The Senior Officer for Research and Learning will develop a research and evaluation agenda and will commission and oversee relevant research. The research agenda will include baseline documentation, federal program monitoring, relevant policy issues, and program evaluation. S/he will liaise with a wide range of research centers and individual researchers, identify short term consultants to produce research, monitor commissioned research projects, and when required, synthesize research. As required, s/he will also engage in direct research and writing. Priority will be placed on developing a network of contacts and research institutions located in and committed to the Gulf Coast region.


  • Coordinating closely with the Manager of the Gulf Coast Recovery Program and other relevant OA staff, including the Gulf Coast team and LEAD, identify research and knowledge needs of Oxfam America’s Gulf Coast Recovery Program, and develop and implement the research, learning and evaluation agenda for the program.
  • In coordination with the Gulf Coast Program Manager, ensure that learning and knowledge is incorporated into the Recovery Program and position Oxfam America as a thought leader in the Gulf Coast response through relationships with other institutions, critical research and external publication and messaging.
  • Identify research institutes and scholars, particularly in the Gulf Coast, that are focused on issues of relevance for the Gulf Coast Recovery Program and develop relationships with them as potential consultants and external peer reviewers.
  • Engage consultants to conduct research as outlined in terms of reference and supervise their work, monitoring quality and time of deliverables.
  • Respond to internal requests for information on research and statistics.
  • Provide critical support for Oxfam publications on the Gulf Coast as well as major external Oxfam Gulf Coast communications.
  • Keep abreast of research reports produced by other organizations relating to issues of relevance to the Gulf Coast Recovery Program, giving special attention to researchers coming from Gulf Coast /Southeast research centers, universities, NGOs, etc.
  • Participate in external meetings and seminars and represent Oxfam America as appropriate.
  • Participate in research consultations and meetings with other agencies on the Gulf Coast.
  • Participate as an active member of the U.S. Regional Office team, attend staff meetings, and Department meetings. Participate in inter-departmental teams, particularly those related to Oxfam’s work on the Gulf Coast.
  • As appropriate, engage in primary or secondary policy-relevant research.
  • As appropriate, support a broader Oxfam research agenda on poverty and economic injustice at regional and national levels.


  • The Senior Officer for Research and Learning will work effectively and collaboratively in support of building a team-based culture of work, will p erform all duties appropriately for a multi-cultural environment, treating all persons with dignity and respect, and will be familiar with and committed to Oxfam America mission and goals.
  • The incumbent will stay abreast of professional standards, trends and issues affecting this set of responsibilities, demonstrating continuous learning of the field.
  • Ability to travel periodically, up to 25% of time.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Southern Methodist University; Dallas, Texas

The Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX invites applications for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate position in the area of technological and natural hazards management. The applicant should have strong quantitative and computer skills including familiarity with Geographical Information Systems. The position requires a PH.D. but it is not required that the Ph.D. be in Engineering. The position is associated with several National Science Foundation projects to study the vulnerability of industrial plants to hazardous chemical releases due to natural disasters, and to design appropriate mitigation and response measures. The researcher's responsibilities will include both risk modeling and development of case studies of past events (including face to face interviews). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is negotiable, commensurate with qualifications and experience. Interested parties should send a c.v., letter describing qualifications/research interests, and contact information for three references to: Laura J. Steinberg, Professor, Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, 3101 Dyer Street, Rm. 203B, Dallas TX 75205. Inquiries may be addressed to Dr. Steinberg at


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If you or your organization would like to add a job posting here in the DR, please feel free to e-mail the information to

Questions for the readership and contributions to this e-newsletter are encouraged. Questions and messages should be indicated as such and sent to

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