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Unit of study_

PHYS4802: Quantitative Disaster Analysis

In recent decades, anthropogenic disasters such as climate change are increasingly adding to natural disasters, both impacting on people and assets of built infrastructure, resulting in loss of lives and damage cost. It is therefore important to understand the impacts of disasters before they strike and the vulnerability of certain sectors of the economy, enabling us to take precautionary measures to protect people and minimise damage. Disaster analysis has become a powerful tool for assessing potential economic losses, and in particular for preparing recovery plans and developing scenarios for building resilience into the economy. This unit will provide a comprehensive introduction to the field of disaster analysis, with particular emphasis on simulating and quantifying the effects of a disaster on an economy, both directly and indirectly as a result of cascading disruptions of supply chains. The aim of the unit is to equip students with an understanding of quantitative and qualitative approaches underlying the field of disaster analysis, and their importance for planning resilient economies. In particular, students will undertake hands-on exercises, modeling disasters and shocks at various scales. Furthermore, students will be able to explore the many applications of disaster modelling in assessing the impacts of floods, droughts, space weather, diseases, and a collapse of animal and plant populations. This unit of study includes detailed case studies of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tropical Cyclone Debbie, and the impact of climate change on food supply. Guest lecturers from academia and industry provide perspectives from real-world practice. Students will benefit from enrolling in PHYS5033 for a sound understanding of input-output analysis as the basis of disaster input-output assessments.

Code PHYS4802
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the importance of disaster analysis for simulating the impact of natural and anthropogenic disasters on the local, national, and global economy
  • LO2. appreciate the complexity and interconnectedness of economic supply chains, and what this means for the vulnerability of our society
  • LO3. understand the theory of disaster input-output analysis
  • LO4. understand the methodology underlying quantitative disaster simulations
  • LO5. appreciate the need for assessing the impacts of disasters for preparing recovery plans, and building resilience into the economy
  • LO6. gain skills for quantitatively analysing the shocks of a disaster at a local and regional Australian setting
  • LO7. understand the many applications of disaster modelling for assessing the impacts of natural disaster (e.g. electromagnetic storms), and anthropogenic disasters (e.g. due to climate change).

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 1 week before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.