Disasters are a product of society and are caused by extreme events interacting with human, social, and physical vulnerabilities
I am a hazards geographer, atmospheric scientist, and geographic information systems (GIS) analyst with interests in coupled human-environment interactions, severe and local storms, mesoscale meteorology, natural hazard vulnerability and risk, and GIScience applications.
My research: 1) severe weather hazard exposure, risk, and disaster potential; 2) relationship between land use-land cover and disaster potential; 3) Mobile home resident vulnerability to tornadoes and warning communication; 4) changes in wildfire risk and vulnerability; and 5) climate change, atmospheric hazards, and future impacts on society.
The Strader Research Group focuses on coupled human-environment interactions, severe and local storms, mesoscale meteorology, natural hazard vulnerability and risk, climate change, and GIScience applications in the environmental, atmospheric, and hazard sciences.
Our department emphasizes integrated thinking and learning at the nexus of science, policy, and human behavior so that our graduates will be able to solve environmental problems. We seek to understand the complex interactions between people and their environment.
Mobile & manufactured housing (MH) residents are the most tornado vulnerable subset of the population due to a combination of physical and socioeconomic factors. Despite the weather and emergency management enterprises consistently suggesting that MH residents evacuate their homes for sturdier shelter during tornado events, more than 50% of MH residents believe their homes are safe sheltering locations. In addition, although the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicate that improvements in building codes in 1976 have rendered MHs as wind resistant/safe as permanent homes during tornado events, research continues to illustrate MHs are FAR LESS safe during severe wind events compared to permanent homes. Overall, the Southeast U.S. contains the greatest tornado-vulnerable population in the U.S. due to the combined effects of a larger number of MHs and more sprawling development pattern. Other vulnerability factors include: greater socioeconomic vulnerability, a lack of adequate sheltering options, lower self-efficacy during tornado events, etc. (See Publications in the Abridged C.V.)
What is the expanding bull's eye effect? “Targets”—i.e., humans and their possessions—of geophysical hazards are enlarging as populations grow and spread. It is not solely the population magnitude that is important in creating disaster potential, it is how the population and built environment are distributed across the landscape that defines how the fundamental components of risk and vulnerability are realized in a disaster.
Why is it important? While climate change may amplify the risk of certain hazards, the root cause of escalating disasters is not necessarily event frequency, or risk, related. Rather, our recent research confirms the upward trend in disasters is predicated on increasing exposure and vulnerability of populations.
(See this site for greater explanation and related publications)