Perth Australia GEOL-1100-850: Earth System Science Introduction This paper is about what could possibly happen to the city of Perth, Australia and all of the people whom call it home, should a natural disaster strike the city or region.
First let me give you some facts about the city of Perth. Perth is located in the country of Australia, which is located in the Southern Hemisphere. Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. As of 2009, Perth had a population of 1,650,000.
(Perth, 2009) The metropolitan area of Perth is located on the southwest coast of the country.The central business district and suburbs of Perth are situated along the banks of the Swan River. Natural Disasters Perth has the potential to be struck by natural disasters just as any other country in the world. A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard that effects the environment, and leads to financial, environmental and/or human losses.
(Natural Disaster, 2009) The list of possible natural disasters includes: tropical storms, earthquakes, droughts, floods, cyclones and bush fires. Everyday around the world natural disasters take place and they shape the environment in which we live.Many countries have other natural disasters that strike them like tsunamis, tornadoes, volcanoes and many more.
Droughts Droughts are periods of time in which a region does not receive any precipitation and it is usually critically damaging to crops. (drought, n. d. ) In Perth and many other parts of Australia, droughts are a way of life and the impact on those living through one can be severe. Frequently there are temporary and/or sometimes permanent water restrictions in many areas of Australia including in the major cities like Perth.
During draughts, many rural rivers are sucked dry either by the weather or by the demand for water.The weather has a crucial effect during a drought, take El Nino for instance, which is an ocean warming phenomenon, this has an effect on the weather in Perth. The warmer dryer weather for an extended period of time can disrupt the water cycle. Droughts can leave the country susceptible to fires.
They can kill off crops, livestock and the people that live within the stricken region. Below you will see a system diagram of a drought. The increase in the ocean temperature decreases the difference in the air temperature along with less wind creates less evaporation. Less evaporation leads to less precipitation leads us into a drought.
+ Temperature Temperature Evaporation Ocean & Rivers Drought Less Precipitation – – Wind Bush Fires Bush fires are a constant threat throughout all parts of the country during the summer months. Lightening strikes however often causes these bush fires but many are deliberately lit. They often threaten country towns and occasionally cities, so the impact on Perth would be on the rural areas. These brush fires burn the vegetation and pretty much anything that may be in its path. At times many people needlessly lose their lives in bush fires because they refuse to abandon their homes.Many times during the year restrictions are placed in the lighting of fires in a bush fire zones. (Sutton, 2006) As these fires burn, they cause the air to become polluted with smoke and it also makes the land that does go through the fire more susceptible to landslides and erosion. Not to mention the number of homes that ultimately get destroyed along with number of people that could lose their lives at the same time.
Fires also play havoc with the circle of life with the vast number of animals that live within the region as the predator/prey population changes as a result of the fires.Bush Fire in Australia (thisperthlife, 2006) Floods Floods are normally caused by cyclones or tropical storms, both of which are common in the country. In January 1998 torrential rain in one Australian town caused widespread flooding when 500mm (20 inches) of rain fell in just 12 hours.
(Sutton, 2006) The sudden rise of the water level in Perth could be catastrophic as the Swan River runs through the middle of the city. The flooding of the river would cause wide spread damage to property and personal injury to many of the residents of Perth.Floodwaters can and will seep into the drinking water system and contaminating it therefore making it non-drinkable. Floodwaters also kill people and animals that cannot get to higher grounds. Cyclones A cyclone is a large-scale, atmospheric wind-and-pressure system characterized by low pressure at its center and by circular wind motion, counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. (Sutton, 2006) It is widely accepted that vertical wind shear is a major factor in the intensity change of tropical cyclones. (Patterson, 2005) Cyclones in Australia and Perth are fairly common in the summer months.The most famous cyclone to hit Australia was in 1974 when Cyclone Tracey flattened Darwin on Christmas Day with gusts of up to 280kph/174mph winds.
It killed 66 people and destroyed more than 5000 homes leaving fewer than 500 intact in the whole city. More recently, in 2006 a cyclone destroyed over 80% of the entire country’s banana crop. (Sutton, 2006) Cyclones cause a large amount of damage with the wind that is produced. The high winds can level houses and buildings not to mention trees and flying debris can injure and or cause fatalities to kill humans and animals.
With the large amounts of rainfall that they create, they can also lead to flooding which will contaminate the water supplies in Perth. This will create further issues with the water table and the quality of water. Earthquakes An earthquake occurs when rocks break under the stress created by the constant movement and collision of the thin jigsaw-like tectonic plates found at the surface of the Earth. While earthquakes are rare in Australia, there is still a possibility of one happening at any point in time.The last major earthquake in recent history was in 1989 that caused $1.
7 billion worth of damage and killed 13 people. Across the world earthquakes occur all of the time, many of these smaller earthquakes do not cause any major damage but the larger ones do. It is when the larger ones strike that the damage happens and that is when everyone realizes the potential damage.
These plates that shift cause the quakes and at those times the earth is recycling itself. Parts of the earth are pushed further down into the center as the other plate slides over the top.These parts that go down further continue on that path and get changed into different forms. Conclusion In conclusion, it seems that Perth is similar to most all of the other cities in that it has the potential for a natural disaster to occur at anytime. Each of the natural disasters listed can cause severe damage to personal property, the environment and the ecosystem that calls the city of Perth home. There are also other concerns that affect the people of Perth, it is what affects the mental health of those living there and it will have along term effect on the climate in the region. Morrissey & Reser, 2007) This has to do with the coping response to the disasters and the changes in the environment and the location, which is a challenge and stressful time for those going through these periods of trauma. As the Perth metropolitan area has a high number of households with relatively high economic resources, a large majority of households in the area would be able to draw on their own economic resources to assist recovery after a natural disaster.
However, households in some areas could find the recovery process hard because of limited financial capacity.However, Perth’s strong community network will be a positive source of support in managing recovery from natural disasters. AUSGEO News, (2005) All of these natural disasters have a role in the ever-changing climates and ecosystems of the world.
Even though each of them are frightening and have the potential to cause considerable damage they all serve a purpose in the world in which we live. AUSGEO News, (2005) References AUSGEO News, (2005) Australian Government Geoscience Australia Retrieved from http://www. ga. gov. u/ausgeonews/ausgeonews200506/perth. jsp on November 12, 2009.
Drought. (n. d. ). Dictionary. com Unabridged. Retrieved November 10, 2009, from Dictionary. com website: http://dictionary.
reference. com/browse/drought Morrissey, Shirley A. and Reser, Joseph P. ,(2007) Natural disasters, climate change and mental health. Australian Journal Rural Health.
Retrieved from UNO Library on November 10, 2009. Natural disaster. (2009) Retrieved November 9, 2009, Wikipedia.
com website. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Natural_disaster Paterson, L. Hanstrum, B. , Davidson, N. , & Weber, H.
(2005). Influence of Environmental Vertical Wind Shear on the Intensity of Hurricane-Strength Tropical Cyclones in the Australian Region. Monthly Weather Review, 133(12), 3644-3660. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Perth. (2009) Retrieved on November 8, 2009, Wikipedia. com website. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Perth,_Western_Australia Sutton, Claire, (2006) Natural Disasters in Australia. Retrieved from http://www.
thisperthlife. com/2006/07/bush_fire. html on November 1, 2009.