Applying Science to Understand the Vulnerability of Modern Society to Natural Disasters

Applying Science to Understand the Vulnerability of Modern Society to Natural Disasters


(swoosh) (mouse click) – [Announcer] This program is presented by University of California Television. Like what you learn? Visit our website or follow
us on Facebook and twitter to keep up with the latest UCTV programs. (upbeat music) – Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Mary Comerio, Professor
of the Graduate School in the College of Environmental Design and Chair of the Hitchcock
Professorship Committee. We are pleased, along
with the Graduate Council, to present Lucy Jones, this year’s speaker in the Charles M. and Martha
Hitchcock Lecture Series. As a condition of this request,
we are obligated and happy to tell you how the endowment
came to UC Berkeley. It is a story that
exemplifies the many ways this campus is linked to
the history of California and to the Bay area. Dr. Charles Hitchcock, a
physician for the Army, came to San Francisco during the Gold Rush where he opened a thriving
private practice in 1885. Charles established a
Professorship here at Berkeley, as an expression of his long
held interest in education. His daughter, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, still treasured in San Francisco for her colorful personality
as well as her generosity, greatly expanded her
father’s original gift to establish a Professorship
at UC, making it possible for us to present this series of lectures. The Hitchcock Fund has become one of the most cherished endowments of the University of California, recognizing the highest distinction of scholarly thought and achievement. Thank you, Lillie and Charles. And now, a few words about Lucy Jones. Dr. Lucy Jones has
served as a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and visiting Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory
at Cal Tech since 1983. She created SAFRR, Science
Application for Risk Reduction, Project to innovate and
protect the safety, security, and economic well-being of the nation. Major products of SAFRR, I guess
we should say that acronym, include the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario and the Great Shakeout, a public emergency preparedness event that began with five million people in Southern California in 2008 and has expanded to more than
24 million people annually around the world in 2013. The ARkStorm Scenario is
a model of a great storm in California and there’s
a SAFRR Tsunami Scenario. So these things have brought
huge public awareness to disaster preparedness. In 2014, she served in
a special assignment as the Mayor’s Science
Advisor for Seismic Safety for the city of Los Angeles,
applying the results of the ShakeOut Scenario
to increase the resilience of the city. The Task Force recommendation
included retrofitting many of the city’s older concrete buildings, planning water backup systems
for the Fire Department, and building a solar-powered
wireless network to backup cellular and digital service. On October 9th, 2015, just last week, Jones celebrated a triumphant moment as the legislation was passed requiring the mandatory
earthquake retrofit of 15,000 buildings in Los Angeles. I have to personally tell
you this is a really big deal and this was not easy. And Lucy deserves a huge
amount of the credit for the kind of coalition
she put together. She received a Bachelor of
Arts degree in Chinese Language and Literature, Magna Cum Laude, from Brown University in 1976. At Brown, she also studied physics and began to gravitate towards geophysics. In 1981, she had her PhD
in Geophysics from MIT. She is a fellow of the
American Geophysical Union, member of the Resilient America Roundtable of the National Academy of
Sciences and previously served on the California Seismic
Safety Commission. She has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Service Award from the Department of the Interior, an Ambassador Award from the
American Geophysical Union for outstanding contributions
in policy and public service. In early October, Jones was
awarded the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal
in services often known as the Oscars of government service, they’re called the
Sammy’s for those of you who don’t know that award,
recognizing Federal workers who have made notable
impact in the United States and around the world. And I should add that
she has just been given a Distinguished Alumni
Award from Brown University. Would you thank you me and the host Department of Seismology in welcoming Dr. Lucy Jones to Berkeley. (applause) – Thank you, Mary. And I’m glad to be here. And it’s been a extraordinary
time in the last month, especially being able to
see this significant step in seismic safety for
the city of Los Angeles, and I do hope that it’s gonna end up being a significant event for the whole state. I’m really think that we’re gonna be able to use this opportunity to
advance across the state and maybe eventually across the country. We’re seeing a shift in how
people think about disasters. And that’s the really fundamental issue is this something that you can’t predict and who knows what’s gonna happen or is it something that’s inevitable, it’s just a matter of
when and there are things that we can do about it. And I’ve spent a lot of my
work over the last decade is trying to help that
shift in opinion happen. And it’s a combination of a lot of things. Part of it is about how we
as scientists communicate. We like to focus on what we don’t know, ’cause that’s what’s interesting, that’s where we do our work. When we communicate to
the public that way, we often end up communicating
that we don’t know instead of focusing on the
things that we do know. And what I’m gonna talk
about today is the process of creating disaster scenarios as a way of helping our
communities better understand what science has to tell
them and how they can be used to be making better choices about this. And I’m gonna focus primarily
on our first scenario which was to create an earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault, really focused on Southern California, and look at how we put
together the information and then, to a certain
amount, about how it was used. A lot of it is applicable
for other disasters and for other regions. And, in fact, the SAFRR
Project is just now coming towards the end of creating a scenario, a comprehensive scenario,
for the Hayward Fault. We all know that we have
earthquake risks here. We’ve had the science
of what’s the hazard, what’s the shaking, but
integrating it over a range of disciplines to better
understand what it means for us as individuals and as
communities gives us the support for moving forward some
of these policy decisions that we wanna have. So, let’s start with why we
would be wanting to do it. I’ll just remind you. Now we, this is the way a seismologist or a geologist sees California. All of those red lines are some
of the faults that we have. And those faults are what make
California California, right. Because of the San Andreas,
we have the San Francisco Bay, because of the frontal fault, we create the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains are there because of the Sierra Madre Fault. The faults are what make
California a place we wanna live. Without it, we’d be a desert. It’s our mountains that
are trapping our moisture. And especially for those of
us in Southern California, the faults trap the oil
which is how the whole city got started in the first place. So they’re all part of
what our reality is. If we wanna live here,
we have to learn to live with the earthquakes. So, we need to learn
to live with that risk. And what is the nature of the risk? In general, most people are afraid of dying in an earthquake. The reality is if you look
at your chance of dying, if you were a regular skier, you have about a one in ten
thousand chance of dying because of skiing,
unless you wore helmets, and then you bring the rate
down to a certain extent. Your chance of dying from lightning is about one in 80 thousand. That’s how many Americans
will die this death. You know, it’s a weird sort of statistic. What death do you die? You know, one in two Americans
die from heart disease. All right? One in 80 thousand die
by hitting by lightning. Presumably, you only die
once, so you can use this as a pretty robust statistic. For dying in an earthquake, it’s about one in 125 thousand. And it’s a hard number to get. They are extremely infrequent. How many people are really gonna
die in the next earthquake? How far have we got and all this? But in general, our one is
earthquakes are cause fear out of proportion to
the risk to our lives. And we have done a pretty
good job of installing, you know, working with life
safety in our building code. So your chance of dying in an
earthquake is not very high. This really isn’t about dying. It’s about living and
what life is gonna be like after the earthquake and will
the city keep on working? So we have defined what
we’ve been aiming for as urban disaster
resilience, having a city that still functions after the earthquake, after the disaster. And as society has become more complex, that’s become a more
difficult thing to do. So part of what I’m gonna
be showing today you is how we go and look at urban
life as a system of systems and the ways in which disasters
can disrupt those systems that make life work. We’ve done this primarily
through the ShakeOut Scenario where we chose one particular earthquake and went and built together a picture of what it would be like in the event. And you notice, I’ve got a
lot of different disciplines. To actually get an accurate picture of what this is gonna be like, you need to invoke a very
wide range of scientific and social science disciplines. You know, the seismologists
can tell you what the fault is, and often, we’ll do
that, and we’ll give you a pattern of shaking and say, “There, we’re done,
there’s your scenario.” In fact, that doesn’t tell a human being what happens to them. You go to the engineer and they’ll take what the seismologists do
and then they say, you know, “Here’s what happens to all the buildings and all the infrastructure,
there, there’s the picture.” It still isn’t making
connections to people. It’s only when we take it up through all of the social sciences
where we really think about what happens to people and to communities that we start connecting and
giving people the information that allows them to make
those policy decisions. Just wanna make a point. This is how we created
it for an earthquake. For instance, here’s
how we put it together for a storm scenario. You’ve got the same basic concepts. You have kept earth science, engineering, and social sciences. We have different pieces
as we go along here. On both the storm and the tsunami, it became a lot more interesting ’cause we had to think about
the role of prediction. And earthquakes, you know,
we don’t predict ’em. We don’t have to think about that. But in fact, like on a storm,
what the prediction says determines a lot about how
flood control management happens, for instance. One of the things I didn’t
understand until I went in and looked at is like they
actually get to choose where to flood in many cases. We have flood control. If you have a flood exceeding the capacity of your flood control,
somebody has to decide whether to breach this
levee or that levee, where to let the water go. So it becomes a much more complex system. And as somebody said,
“Imagine if you could go and bottle up your earthquake shaking and sell it the next summer. You end up with a whole different picture about how it gets managed.” And of course, in flood management, every bit of water that goes past the dam doesn’t get to be sold the next summer and it leads to whole
different sets of dynamics. All right. So taking our picture of an earthquake, we now need to put it into a system. This is the beginning of a city. Underneath all of our buildings, we have a whole network of pipes. We have water systems. We have sewer systems. Tend to be the oldest
things in our community. They get put in before
the rest of the city. And on top of this, we go
ahead and we put our roads, we put the houses that we’re living in, we’re putting the buildings
that we’re working in, we’re putting in our
manufacturing centers, our power systems, our communication systems, our transportation systems. And all of those systems are
there to support human society. So if we want to look at
the impact of a disaster and inform people how
they can make choices to move from that, we have to look at how all of these systems interact. And I must say, as a
scientist, I’m a bit frustrated at the simplicity of the
analysis that we’ve been able to accomplish so far. It’s an awful lot of hand
waving and approximations that as a scientist, I’d much
rather be more analytical, but we tend not to be. But as I said, at the beginning
of the earthquake scenario, we need to start with
the earthquake itself. And so we started from these models. What I’m showing you is our animation of what we expect the
earthquake shaking to be, having set up a lot of parameters
to define the earthquake. I’ll start with one point. The next earthquake will
be different than this because we had to make so many assumptions and it’s never gonna be exactly that. And that was a really hard
thing for the scientists to get past. They wanted to say, but, you
know, it’s not gonna be this, or it’s not that and why did you say this. And what we have to do here is say we’ve picked a plausible scenario
and be able to understand that this is the type of thing that we need to be planning for. Notice how much I’ve been talking ’cause I’m having to use up the time. A big earthquake like this
happens on a long fault. We estimated it to be about– We chose a 200 mile long system. And the rupture propagates up this. In real time, it is 75 seconds from the start of the earthquake
until the strong shaking makes it into the Los Angeles area. So just by the way a little bit of plug for what goes on here at Berkeley. This is why early warning is
a particularly effective thing when we’re talking about
really big earthquakes. You have a lot of time
within which to work. But the other thing to
notice here is the scale over which the strong
shaking happens, okay. Here, when you have a 200 mile long fault, it means you have 200 miles that’s actually producing the energy. And in Southern California, we
have almost 10 million people that are gonna be receiving
extremely strong shaking, intensity nine or 10, that
was the level of shaking that we had only in the worst
shaken parts of the valley in the Northridge Earthquake. It’s really, you only had it, I think, up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Maybe a little pocket in Santa Cruz and a pocket in the Marina District in the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Here, because the fault is so long, we’re gonna be putting it
through much larger territory and it’s territory on which people live. So when we look at what this
earthquake can do to us, we get a really sobering picture. And I’m, at this point, I’m
basically just jumping over all of the work that
went into analyzing this. But we started with
all of these geologists understanding the shaking
and the landslides that would be going through it. And we come up with a conclusion that we’ve got about 300,000 buildings will be moderately damaged,
defined as losing 10% the value of the building. And because of that building
damage, we are going to end up with some substantial
other types of damage. One in 60 people having no place to live, 53,000 injuries bad enough
to go to the Emergency Room at a time when we’re probably losing at least one third the
capacity of our hospitals due to damage to the hospitals, 1800 deaths. You see, it’s not a very big number compared to the rest it. It does unfortunately assume that all of those 53,000 injuries are getting the medical
care that they need. And if that gets really impaired, we could be raising the number that way. It’s also potentially not the worst thing that’s gonna happen to us because when we looked at
what happens to our utilities, we ended up coming to the conclusion that it was gonna take us six months to get all of the pipes
in the ground fixed. Remember, I said those pipes
are one of the oldest things that go on in a community. 70% of the pipe in Southern California is something called AC pipe,
which is a nice way of saying asbestos concrete, but
people don’t like the word, put the word asbestos next to their water, so they don’t usually use that term. But those are a particularly brittle type and it was when Southern California happened to be developed,
it was a very common way of doing it. Because of that, such extensive
loss to our water systems when we got all the
water people in the room, you know, looking at the damage, how many breaks did we
think we would have, and working it out, and there was a moment at which one of the guys
from the water company said, “But wait a minute, how much pipe is made in the U.S. each year? Aren’t we all gonna be
competing with each other for the same product?” And that’s where we end up
coming to the conclusion it’s gonna take us six
months to get it made, get all of the pipes
repaired across the region, even with them working
as hard as they can. And then the other part that we recognized is the roll of fire following earthquake. People in San Francisco
know that pretty well. And there’s actually a professor, he used to be here a
Berkeley, Charlie Scawthorn, who’s one of the, probably
the expert in the world on fire following earthquake. And we engaged him as part of this process to say what did we think the
role of fires was gonna be. And he came to the
conclusion by extrapolating from the rate of fires in Northridge, the much larger area, so many more people receiving the strong
shaking, he said 1600 fires large enough to call the Fire Department, 1200 of which would
grow beyond the capacity of one fire engine to respond. We don’t have 1600 fire
engines in Southern California. We are going to be facing the probability of fires getting out of control. As he went and tried to model
this, he ended up concluding that the fire losses
actually double the losses for the region. It was so extreme that
the state geologists said you can’t be right, this can’t
be, we can’t go with this, it’s just too much. And we ended up convening a
special group of Fire Chiefs. We got the L.A. Chief from Northridge, the Oakland Chief from Loma Prieta, a few other Fire Chiefs around the state, to sit down with us and
go through this analysis. And they came to the
conclusion that, in fact, we, if anything, it was an underestimate. So we see the potential for
fire following earthquake as being the overwhelming issue that we are going to be
dealing after the earthquake and water problems compound it. We also ended up with
business disruption costs that are potentially,
again, double the losses because of the loss of business. And that’s with a very minimal analysis just on the impact of loss of
water and loss of electricity. And as we looked at what’s
going on in the modern world, we struggled to quantify it, but we recognize that telecommunications has changed the nature of business. If we wanna keep our businesses open, we have to have telecommunications. We have to have connection
to the internet. And we have actually been
creating new vulnerabilities like at the time of Northridge, our grocery stores had warehouses in the inland empire. They, out in the Fontana
area, for those of you who know Southern California,
there were major warehouses for the grocery store chains from which they would deploy food and go out to their
different stores each day. When we had the earthquake
and disrupting things, the food’s there. Because of the internet,
we no longer have that. They do a just-in-time economy. They can decide each day
exactly how much needs to be shipped into Southern California. It’s not cost effective
to have those warehouses. They’re all gone. All of our food now crosses the
fault to get to us each day. When the San Andreas moves
and disrupts the import across those areas, when
those freeways are gone, we don’t have a stockpile of food on our side of the fault anymore. So we’re recognizing that communications has changed the nature of
where our vulnerabilities are and we’re trying to
understand it in more detail. So I can show you the type of things of how we’ve tried to
understand the impact that these things happens. So let’s look at damaged buildings. We know we’re gonna be
having damaged buildings. What does that mean to the rest of us? Well, we damage it from a variety of ways. We have shaking, we have fire,
and actually water damage. There were two billion dollars
of losses in Northridge, that was out of 40,
came from water damage. Because of it, you have significant
short-term consequences. You lose life, your businesses close, you don’t have a place to live. How do you get rid of those problems? Well, you need to take on
quite a few different actions. You need to get rid of the debris, you need to be able to
have power to do that, you need to have transportation
to get the debris out and bring the new supplies in, and you need people that
are able to be there to work on those. If you don’t get your buildings back, in a long enough term,
what do you end up with? You end up with significant
business disruption, you have people that end
up giving up on the region ’cause they don’t have an
adequate place to live, and the other big thing,
and this was very important in getting Los Angeles to
understand what the issue is, is that each damaged building affects all of the buildings around it. We often see after an earthquake that a badly damaged building
will cause red tagging of the adjacent buildings
because it’s just too dangerous to be in there during
the aftershock sequence. So what we have is, damage to one building affects everything around it. And this is a really
important thing to understand and to really work with
because it means that the, we have left the cost of
retrofitting buildings solely to the owners. But the cost of not
retrofitting lands on all of us. And this is one of the sort
of societal aspects of it that we really need to grapple
with if we wanna move on to a safer society. Let me also take a moment out of this because this was a very important thing of what we looked at. Many people don’t know that
our building code does not try to give us a building that you
can use after the earthquake. Absolutely modern building
designed to the current code is trying to make sure that
you can crawl out alive. It’s saying try and not collapse. But if it’s a complete
financial loss, oh well. And even getting out alive, we, in fact, you know there’s, it’s
not actually perfect. It’s not guaranteeing it. It’s saying let’s have a 90%
chance of not collapsing. Well, if you say you have a
90% chance of not collapsing, you’re actually accepting a 10% of our current modern buildings
collapsing in the shaking. That’s what it actually means. Once you aren’t looking
at an individual building, but you’re looking at
a group of buildings. And in addition to collapsing, there’s also impairment
of buildings, right? A building may not damage anybody, but it’s gonna be red
tagged and you can’t use it. Yellow tag meaning you
only get limited use, you’re not going in during the immediate aftershock sequence. If you look at the history in California, what we see is that on average for every collapsed building,
we’ve had 13 red tags. And for every red tag, 3.8 yellow tags. This is data from
Northridge and Loma Prieta. 63 impaired buildings for each collapse. By comparison, the Napa
Earthquake that just happened had a similar level, 57
impaired buildings per collapse. So what does this mean if we
have a really big earthquake? Well, it’s not a 10% collapse
rate because that’s only in the strongest shaking
and not everywhere gets the strongest shaking, but Dr. Porter from Colorado took the
distribution of shaking in the ShakeOut Earthquake and compared it against the design criteria and estimates that we’re talking about
a 0.8% collapse rate for modern buildings. Well, when we now put
that across the scale of Southern California, if we
scale up with those red tags, 0.8% collapse rate means
10% of our buildings, new buildings, red tagged and another almost 40% yellow
tagged and impaired use. How do we keep our businesses
going in this situation? And as a really concrete example of this, this is a picture of the city
of Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2011, so this– It’s a city of about 400,000
people, modern skyline. In 2011, they had an earthquake. It’s, in fact, only a magnitude 6.3. It was, in fact, an aftershock to a seven that had been out of town, but the 6.3 was right
under the downtown area. This picture, amazing picture, taken during the earthquake itself. The building code in New
Zealand is like ours. It’s a life safety code. And it said make sure
you can crawl out alive and it worked. This is essentially their
designed earthquake. People, there were
really only two buildings that caused a significant loss of life in the modern buildings. One of them was, in
fact, an older building. One of them should not have
been allowed to be built. They see what the problems were. Basically, the code worked
as it was supposed to. Only 185 people died
in those two buildings. 1800 buildings had to be torn down over the next several years. They didn’t kill people. They met the code objective. But they were a total financial loss. And this is what
Christchurch looks like now. They lost their downtown
because of the same code that we’ve said is enough for us. Take this picture, imagine
this in Los Angeles, okay. What will it be like
when this is what happens to our downtown? Or to Oakland, or to San Francisco? This is the way we have
chosen to build our cities. And we said it’s not worth the extra money to make them be usable. And, you know, sometimes,
we’re thinking it’s maybe only a couple percent
increase in the total cost of a project to instead of having this, have a building you can use afterwards. And this may be saying life safety, but you know, I went to New
Zealand actually last month. They asked me to come down and tell them about the L.A. Project. And in the discussions
there, somebody said to me, “You can’t treat life safety
as what just what happens in the earthquake. My brother died in the
year after the earthquake because it was so bad, he just gave up. My cousin killed himself in
the year after the earthquake because he couldn’t handle
the financial losses that he was facing. Life safety isn’t just what
happens in the earthquake.” So, this is the picture I’ve
been taking to Los Angeles and saying, “Is this
the city we want to have after the earthquake?” For all the problems of the buildings, the water is probably a bigger one. If we take the same sort of analysis, what is it gonna be like to
be needing to get your water by buckets for weeks after the earthquake? Another person in New Zealand said to me his house had been fine, he really was one of the lucky ones. He said, “I didn’t know
how much water it takes just to live. I’m spending two hours a
day getting enough water for my family to function.” ‘Cause when you look at what happens to your damaged water
supply, it can happen for a variety of reasons. You break the pipes with the shaking. You could offset the water
coming into the region through fault offset, and
chemical accidents can cause a lot of contamination. Chemical accidents is a
sort of odd way of saying it because one of the big issues
they’ve seen in Christchurch, all those broken water pipes
run next to broken sewer pipes. Yeah, that’s enough. (laughter) So, what happens? You’ve obviously got the
life loss, loss of shelter, you can’t run your businesses,
they do extra damage to the buildings, and it
really gets in the way of the medical response. You need clean water to have a hospital. To get it going again, you
need a lot of these resources that are already impaired. You have to have transportation. The purification systems, you know, they have some portable systems. Like the American
Waterworks Association said, “We got this covered. We have portable systems. We’ll bring them in.” We have four of them in the country. You got the scale of this. There’s no way it’s gonna be working. And of course, you need a
lot of manpower to do it. If you go for a long time without water, you end up with really big consequences. You cannot reopen most
businesses without water. Beauty salon, a
restaurant, most businesses can’t open without water. And then there’s the personal issues that you face as well. How many of you would
be willing to stay here when you haven’t had a shower in a month? And what are the public
health consequences of nobody having a shower in a month? And what you see is you end up, this is the one way you’re
most likely end up losing your population for a region. If we go in and look in
Los Angeles, in particular, we have a couple of specific issues. This is the Elizabeth Lake Tunnel. This is the original aqueduct,
the Los Angeles aqueduct, as in Mulholland and, you
know, the Chinatown movie, the water coming in from the
Owens Valley to Los Angeles. This tunnel was built in 1908 and it crosses the San Andreas Fault. This is where it crosses the fault. Nine foot wide wooden tunnel
and we expect the fault offset to be about 15 feet and
this aqueduct is going to be completely gone after the earthquake. There are three other
aqueducts bringing in water to Californ, into Southern California and the Water Districts have said we don’t have to worry about this. We have four aqueducts. So we lose one in an earthquake. We’ve got three others. And we were like, um, you do
know that a 200 mile long fault breaks all of them. The most likely earthquake
is going to take them all out and they haven’t been addressing this. The other issue that we have, though, is if you, we look back at
the Christchurch earthquake and what happened with them
with their water system. We discovered, I mean, there’s,
they in general have pipes like we do that wide spread
breakages during the earthquake. They also have an experiment
with two and a half kilometers of a type of polyethylene
pipe and none of it broke in the earthquake. There’s also a type of
pipe being created in Japan that does very well in a earthquake. This is called earthquake
resistant ductile iron pipes and Professor Tom O’Rourke at Cornell has been doing a lot of research on this, has been working with
the city of Los Angeles. And we are now recognizing that we need to shift out our pipes and
try and make them be ones that won’t break in an earthquake. Let me finish this just looking
at the same sort of thing by looking at communication networks. Again, we have damage
from cellphone towers. We’ve separate the fiber. Phone lines get overloaded. With they get broken
for a variety of reasons between the shaking and the fault offset. For instance, two thirds of
the internet connectivity for Southern California
to the rest of the world crosses the San Andreas
Fault in fiber optic cables. It would be extremely easy
to make those resilient to fault offset because fiber optic, you can just coil up extra
wire and you move the fault and it now just gets a bit longer. Fiber optic you could do
that, but it hasn’t happened up until now. So again, it’s a place
where there’s a lot of ways in which we can lose our connectivity. It’s very difficult to
have much of life anymore without communications. Again, we need the manpower
and the transportation to be able to bring it together. And the longterm consequences
are both business disruption, but also emotional hardship. We have a society that does not accept not communicating anymore. What we saw in Sendai, Japan, when they had the magnitude nine in 2011, they lost their
electricity, people stayed. After 48 hours, they lost the backup power to their cell networks and
all the cellphone’s out and that’s when they started seeing large numbers of people getting
up and leaving the region. If they couldn’t communicate,
it was cold, it was wet, and they, you know, no lights, but they couldn’t talk to anybody, that ended up being the final straw. And here in Southern, in
California, we don’t have 48 hours of backup power. Our communities have not been willing to have backup generators up
at all the cellphone towers. So we, in general, have about
four hours of backup power, after which we lose our cellphone towers. And when we really look, the
other thing that’s coming in is just about every system we have now depends on internet functioning. My guess, you know, I’m
sure the internet’s working after the earthquake. The problem will be whether
or not we can connect to it. And there’s a lot of these systems that if they can’t connect, they aren’t going to be operational. And it’s hard, again, to keep
modern life going at this. So what’s at stake in all of this? The other part of this
is really understanding that the core issue is talking about our economic dependence. So if you look at a region, you
expect the economic activity to be growing with time. If you don’t, it’s called a recession. During an earthquake, you lose assets. Things get broken, you
know, things are destroyed, but you also lose business. Without water, without power,
businesses stop functioning. You stop creating economic wealth. What we are trying to do
is recover quickly enough that we get back to where we were. Within a year or two is
considered really pretty good. And in fact, we have seen situations, if there’s enough money
coming in after the event, if people have insurance,
if FEMA is active, really the situation after Northridge, we saw the economic recovering
going really quickly. People hired contractors,
they hired subcontractors. We were really back up
within about two years from where we had been. It doesn’t have to happen that way. You can have a response,
if the response is delayed and things become too difficult
and you lose population and people move out, then
you end up with a situation where you really can’t get that
economic engine going again. Or if you don’t have assets coming in. You know, if we have,
FEMA doesn’t write checks the day of the disaster
anymore like they did in 1994 and instead of having
40% insurance coverage, we now have about 10% insurance coverage. Who’s gonna be able to
pay to repair their house? How do we get things moving again? And when you look at the
difference in the areas under the curve, you can see that having that delayed
economic response can be a much larger economic impact
than the disaster itself. As an example of this, we
were able to get the data for New Orleans. Here’s data comparing
the economic, the GDP, of Nashville and New
Orleans from 2002 to 2012 and you can see that before
the hurricane hit in 2005, causing 80 billion dollars in losses, Nashville was actually a bit
smaller than New Orleans. They’re comparable though. They’re similar size
cities in a similar area. When you look then for
the next seven years, the total losses by
saying what’s, you know, that New Orleans should have at least had the GDP of Nashville. You end up estimating 105
billion dollars in losses in just those seven years
and we’re continuing to lose at about 15 billion dollars a year. The longterm, you know, after a decade, the economy is maybe 20%
below what it would have been if the hurricane hadn’t happened. So this is what we’re
worried about in California, the level of disruption that we will face. How do people stay when this is going on? I also found in Los Angeles,
it was really useful to consider what happened
in San Francisco. Here’s data from 1906. 1905, San Francisco was
five times the population of Los Angeles. And, you know, it was the
economic center of California. Everything went through San Francisco. The decade after 1906 is
the largest growth decade in the history of Los Angeles. People gave up on San
Francisco and went south. By a decade later, and there’s
of course new population coming into California,
but they didn’t come to San Francisco. They came to Southern California. And within a decade, Los Angeles is bigger than San Francisco and of course now, it’s about five times the
size of San Francisco. So, you know, that’s just an anecdote, but this is the type of
thing we’re looking at. And in fact, take the other
end of the population data, we actually saw the only times, there’s only four years in
the history of Los Angeles that the population’s
gone down, 1971 and 1972, which were right after the
’71 San Fernando Earthquake and 1994 and ’95, right after Northridge. The only times we’ve ever lost population. So how do you try and make them resilient? We defined a set of
critical infrastructure and said that these need
to function well enough to keep the system going. We’re not trying to make them perfect. We’re trying to get them good enough. Because from this critical set, we developed a set of
systems that define our life. And all of these are part
what makes a society work. We can cope with a little bit of loss. For instance, if we lose some buildings, but we still have the internet, we have people that can telecommute. And even though their building may be out, that doesn’t mean that that business is completely shut down. Or if we lose water, but we
still have transportation, we can bring in water to drink,
which will work for a while. And then so these are the
areas that we’re looking at and then we also, of course,
have sort of these wildcards of internet and cell towers
where we aren’t completely sure of how the things play out. So this is how we put together a picture of what the disaster could do to us. And by putting it
together in this framework and saying this isn’t just about will this fault move or not, it’s rather, eventually the fault will
move and this is what’s going to be happening to our society. We’ve been able to get
engagement in Southern California for moving forward. As Mary said, we create, I
worked with the Mayor’s Office. We created a Resilience By Design Program. Out of this, we had recommendations
for how to move forward, a series of proposals for
retrofitting the different types of bad buildings that we have. And as of last Friday,
all of the mandatory retrofit ordinances were passed and the voluntary ratings
system, it’s voluntary, but the city is in the process of rating all of its own buildings, will be disclosing that
information to the public to try and get the discussion going about what does it mean to
have a good or a bad building. We know which buildings are
most likely to fall down. Wouldn’t everybody like
to have that information? Well, maybe the building owners don’t particularly want
people to be having all that information,
but it’s better, yeah. I’m a scientist. I think knowledge is always better. We’ve discovered that, in
fact, the population really, in general, does want to
know and the city is trying to promote this approach by
going with this rating system and disclosing all the information. There’s also a wide variety of proposals that have been put in to
fortify the water system. Here are these– This is actually the San Andreas Fault and the California Aqueduct. It’s sort of astonishing. It actually runs down
the fault for a ways. So proposals to how to strengthen
the aqueduct crossings, improve the pipe system, and the last one, which is potentially
the most important one and maybe isn’t obvious, where I say a Resilience By Design Program. From here on out, there’s now
a Resilience By Design Program at the Department of Water and Power and every project they
undertake is being evaluated for the impact on our seismic resilience. Moving forward, and
then telecommunications. In some ways, we discover the
problems weren’t really as bad as they might have been. But there are some very big things. One of them is our cellphone towers. 50% are on buildings and
generally our older buildings more likely to come down. So, but we do have free standing towers and we are requiring
now that those be built to a life safety standard, not just a, I mean a functionality standard, and not just a life safety standard. Right now, cellphone
towers are life safety. Make sure you can crawl out alive. Who do they think’s living
in cellphone towers? I mean, it’s sort of a bizarre concept. And so we’re saying no, they actually, we’re gonna be aiming towards
usability of the towers. And from this, we’re hoping
to really move forward. The city of Los Angeles
has adopted all of these. I actually, and I would have
been happy if half of it had made it through. The fact that all of them
seem to be going forward, to me, is incredibly astonishing. And I think it’s gonna make a difference. We’re also seeing, the Mayor’s
really been reaching out to the other cities. I have them coming to me as well. We are looking at, there’s
a dozen other cities that have asked about
getting more information to move towards some of
the ordinances themselves. I thought I would end this
by just teasing you a bit. I couldn’t give you the full thing yet, but we’re starting to do
the same thing for up here. We’re creating The Haywired Scenario because of the impact of the Hayward Fault on the digital economy. And it’s going to be released
in April of this year. So again, the same sort of pictures. You know that you’ve got the fault, but what does that mean
in terms of the shaking that you’re actually
going to be receiving. And the scary thing,
this scale is actually, I believe it’s in, it’s
accelerations in the, you know, it’s twice the force
of gravity showing up here in the Berkeley area. And in the process, we’re trying to create a lot of the same sort of
information that I just showed you for Los Angeles. We’re also trying to
expand in a couple of ways. One of the ways is to try and focus more on some of the issues
raised by aftershocks. So just what we saw in Christchurch, the ongoing sequence of earthquakes caused a whole other set of problems. So we’re creating a synthetic
aftershock sequence. That’s all, again, it’s a plausible, sure it isn’t gonna be different, but part of the plausible aftershock is plenty of aftershocks on other faults. That’s a thing that we tend to forget is that most aftershocks are
off the ends of the faults, sometimes they’re on different faults. So we created a
statistically viable sequence that matches all of the
characteristics that we see and it’s a part of the planning that could be able to be used,
will be focused on that area. We’re also getting modeling
from Charlie Scawthorn about fire following earthquake. And I thought it looked bad in L.A. Whoo! This is really a big issue. And San Francisco, of course, has an alternative fire fighting system. Looking at developing more of
the capacity in the East Bay is a really big piece of this. And just one other sort
of piece of information to give you this sort of idea
of the things we’re doing. 25,000 people trapped in 5,000 elevators. So again, get that earthquake
early warning in there and get those elevators stopped before the earthquake
shaking comes through. There’s 25,000 people that
are not gonna be spending a couple of days trapped
in a little metal box wondering what’s going on. So, thank you. (applause) – [Audience Member] Hello. – Hi. – [Audience Member] Hi, thank you so much. This is fantastic.
– Thank you. – [Audience Member] I’m a
volunteer with city of Berkeley for Emergency Preparedness. I do a lot of this stuff. I recently visited Christchurch and I was just really intensely
moved by seeing the downtown as I imagine you were four
years after the earthquake. Still abandoned buildings. You can still see the search
and rescue marks on buildings. What I learned speaking
with the City Planner in Christchurch was I learned about the residential red zones
where they actually purchased and demolished 8,000
homes in what he called a strategic retreat
that they will not allow any structures to be
built on that land again. And I’m curious if that’s
something that anyone in, you know, California talks
about or thinks about? – Okay, the red zones in Christchurch are, they have a compounded problem. They had extensive liquefaction that came with the earthquake
so it was one of the reasons that there’s that much
damage in spite of the size. But it also literally
sank the area, all right. So much material came out
through the liquefaction that they then had to cart
away, the elevation went down and the regulations in New
Zealand do not allow building within the 50 year floodplain. And by sinking, they actually
moved whole neighborhoods down into the 50 year floodplain. And they ended up making the
decision to buy people out, keep them out of there, and
move onto the other regions. It’s unlikely that we’re gonna end up in a similar situation. Number one, liquefaction at that scale requires a very high water table and the– It requires rain. The good part of a drought
is it really reduces the risk of liquefaction. (laughter) And so we don’t really have a
comparable situation to that. And it becomes a very difficult question, what is an appropriate level
at which to keep people out? And the decision has
been made in California, the logic makes sense to me to say, you can’t say stay away from the faults or otherwise we move out, right? There are over 100 faults in
the L.A. metropolitan area. Everybody’s within five
miles of an active fault. So, you gotta accept
that you’re near that. What you can do is say
don’t build right across the active trace of the fault and have your building ripped apart. And that’s what we call
the Alquist-Priolo Act. The problem is is that really
is only about being exactly on the trace. And so the way the law works
is you say if you’re near, you’ve gotta go in and dig and
figure out where the fault is and make sure you don’t stay on it. The problem with the
implementation of that is you can hire a geologist
to tell you where it is. You don’t like his
result, you throw it away and tell him to go away
because you signed, he signed a nondisclosure
agreement with you when you did it. And you can then submit it. Find another geologist to
give you a different answer. Not that that happens all
the time, but the situ– We allow it. And if it were up to me, I
would keep our current situation in California saying only
across the active trace that we actually ban construction, but I’d say that anytime a
registered geologist is hired to do a report, it cannot be
under a nondisclosure agreement and the results of the report,
as terms of his registration, get given to the State
Geologist and maintained in a database. We, it’s hap– We have a major issue with landslides where again, the same thing
happens and we’ve ended up with major damage in landslide regions and it turns out there had been a report saying this is landslides prone
that had been thrown away. So that would be the one
modification I’d like to make. Yeah. (clapping) (laughs) – [Audience Member] Thank you, Dr. Jones. We moved here from 50 miles
north of New York City and had the pleasure of living
through Superstorm Sandy. And we were on well and
septic and so for a week, we had not only no electricity,
but no heat, no water, no, and no cell towers. – Right.
– Nothing. There were two or three
problems which I’d like to ask you to address in further detail. One is that, this was wind forces. They’re different forces,
– Right. – [Audience Member]
but I think it might be the same problem. About 25% of the power poles just cracked. So the streets were full of live wires until NYSEG and the utilities got around to turning off the electricity, which is a hazard to everybody. That also meant people weren’t driving. There was so much damage
everywhere it took time for the crews to get to the
different neighborhoods. So transportation, maybe. Second, what bothered us coming
here is the issue of fire. And we had a power outage and
people were lighting candles and I’ve swapped out all my candles for those windup flashlights
because if they don’t– We’re really dependent on the utilities to have things so that they turn off. I’m more scared of gas
even then electricity. If we have gas streaming out,
somebody lights a candle, poof, the whole neighborhood goes. So could you please speak
to plans utilities have to turn things off, you know, immediately. And secondly, you kind
of had to go quickly for time reasons over fire control. – Right.
– But we live in such a congested area here
in Berkeley, in many places. Can you speak to Berkeley’s
Fire Department, thank you. – So fires and utilities, yes you got it. That’s where we’ve got problems. One thing I’ll just say and
I didn’t say this earlier, you know, you look at
where we have problems in Southern California, it’s
water, fire, and healthcare. It’s like where do we have
trouble on a normal basis? Fire, water, and healthcare. And so, you know, the
failures in a disaster happen in the parts of the
system that are already weak. In terms of utilities, one of the reasons for doing these scenarios
is to engage the utilities in a discussion. By asking them to come
in, and we didn’t say, here’s what the problem
is you’re gonna have. We said, here’s the shaking. Tell us what the problem is. So we got them to think
it through and understand what the vulnerabilities were. And we scared them and they
went back to their companies and we’re starting a process. I’m not gonna say it isn’t a big problem. It is very much a big problem. But I believe that this
scenario process has advanced the discussion
and one of the things that’s come out of it,
took a while to happen, and the Mayor’s process
has implemented it, or gives us a bit of a prod
in Southern California. We actually now have a
consortium of utilities that are looking together at where the shared vulnerabilities are. I wish, I mean it’s,
it tends to be focused on how to respond and I
tend to go wait a minute, why don’t you prevent the
loss in the first place. Like put valves when you have a gas pipe crossing an active
fault so you turn it off when you set up the early warning system. I think that whole process takes time. Right now, I’m not, we’re
not in a great place, but I do see the discussion happening and that part is extremely encouraging. Fire following earthquake, you’re right. It becomes the scariest part. When we modeled it for
the Southern San Andreas, we doubled the losses with the fires and we defined it as not
having Santa Ana winds. I don’t get to do that for
the real earthquake, right? If we actually have Santa Ana winds, I don’t think we keep the fires in control and that becomes the
real doomsday scenario. So you’re right about that. What we are hoping,
especially with Haywired, is to get, well, I’m getting
it going in Los Angeles through this process. We’ve been working with
the Fire Department. One of the Mayor’s recommendations and it’s now moving forward
is that the Fire Department and the Water Department have to agree on what they need to do. And, one, what, you know, city
departments tend not to talk to each other so making this
requirement has been a bit of an adjustment, but
they’re moving forward and I think that requiring that was probably the most
important thing we did. Here in the Bay area, you’ve
again, got this issue. You’ve got all these
different communities. You’ve got different systems in place. In Haywired, we are very much focusing on the fire following earthquake
for all of these reasons. And, I mean, and Professor
Scowthorn’s been working on this for quite a while. I think that we’re getting
traction on the problem. Again, not to say it’s solved in any way, but I hope it’s moving forward. Yeah. – [Audience Member] I’m
very excited about the fact that L.A. is actually starting
to do something about this. It hasn’t been my
favorite city, of course. I’m in Northern California. But I’m a Bay area person. I’d like to know if there’s
a way that, you know, an individual can impact it. I work with scientists and I’m very aware that their primary
effort is not political. And, in fact, they would rather
not deal with these things, as most of us would not. I know the Facilities
Manager’s Association is very concerned about prevention both for fire and for water and gas. So the public/private partnership
seems really important. I’m kinda overwhelmed with
the thought of how do I as an individual begin
to make some inroads here because I don’t even know at what level. Is it regional, do I
go to my city council? You know, I’m just overwhelmed. I, any suggestions are fine. – Okay, yeah, and I’m
actually thinking, you know, so tomorrow, I’m talking about science communication
challenges and why it’s so hard for scientists to do
this ’cause we just talk in different ways. And I, one of the points
that would be there is we’re never supposed
to give the problem without the solution and
I sort of did that today. So, I’m sorry about that. You’re right. So what can you do as an individual? There’s a range of things that can go on. Part of it is getting your
local government to take action. I will say, I mean, I’m not
as familiar with what goes on in the Bay area. I went to the Mayor of Los Angeles saying, “Look at everything San Francisco’s doing. Why can’t we be there?” So in many senses, there’s
a lot of what’s going on in the Bay area that’s very encouraging. And we tried to be learning from it. All of the regulations we
put in about the SAFRR story, we just adopted from what
San Francisco had done. So we’ve now done the
concrete one and worked out that ordinance and I
think they’re looking at how to learn from what we did. So, there is, you know, political support for doing this is important. The other aspect though is there are, there’s a lot that you
can do as an individual. And there’s a group called the
Earthquake Country Alliance that actually started the ShakeOut. So when we first did the scenario, we recognized that there
was all these things that really could make a
difference among individuals. We said, let’s do, let’s get
that information to people. We did the first ShakeOut Drill. It was supposed to be a one-time-only. But you get five million
people to do something and people take notice
and the state wanted to take it statewide. The group of people that worked with me to create the first ShakeOut was the Earthquake Country Alliance. That ended up becoming
a bigger organization. There is a Northern
California Chapter of it. I think it’s just called the Earthquake Country Alliance here. – [Audience Member] The Bay area. – The Bay Area Earthquake
Country Alliance. Okay. And Peggy, right behind us, might be able to give you more information. So you can become involved
as an individual on that. And then the other piece
that I feel like I’m sort of it’s the next challenge for me. Community resilience. How do you get community
organizations to care about this and move forward? And that’s a, it’s a difficult problem, but I think it’s where a
lot of the strength will be. Communities recover because
people wanna stay here. So we need to make this, you know, you need to make your home a place that is worth staying through
the problems (laughs). And I think that that’s where
one of the really big pieces are gonna happen. There was research in New Orleans. The communities, the neighborhoods that have recovered the
best, the single most best defining issue was that they did a Mardi
Gras float each year. – [Audience Member] Yes,
I’d been reading about that, that community spirit and, in fact, almost in spite of the
government assistance in some cases.
– In New Orleans, definitely. You know, that was a pretty
dysfunctional political system. But they, you know, so
having a reason to come back. There’s also an organization
around doing the floats. Those crews would know how
to, you know, get resources, and arrange for volunteers,
and arrange for food, and whatever, so they were more effective at managing their neighborhood. But they also had a community spirit that made them wanna be here. – [Audience Member]
You’ve given me a couple of really good suggestions already. And I really, I’m so delighted to see that you set up a scenario which is, even though you said it’s negative, it’s very positive, in
fact, because it sets it out and it looks to okay, these are the area rather than oh, it’s
gonna be overwhelming, let’s hit the road. – Right, it’s steps you can
do just to make a change. And we’re just trying to be good enough. – [Audience Member] Thank you. – Thanks, yeah. – [Audience Member] I really
thank you for your talk and I found it really
stimulating and interesting. But I was involved with the
development of the scenario in the ’70’s. Scenario of a 7.0 earthquake
on the Hayward Fault. You’re probably familiar
with that state scenario. And some of the issues that
came up, like for instance, and I live in Berkeley, the Chevron, we’re in the Chevron Auditorium
so I’ll mention that first. The Chevron gas line and oil lines that go right on San
Pablo, down to San Jose, from the Chevron oil
refineries are huge pipes that were built in the
’40’s and ’50’s or earlier. They’re, it was viewed in the scenario that they would probably
break and there would be huge, huge fires and we tried to vote in the city of Berkeley for getting some kind of suction system
to get water from the Bay to be able to use in the
fire stations, but that, we did not pass that, even
after the fire in Oakland Hills. I think we’re in really
bad shape, if not worse, than 45 years ago in
the Bay area right now. And the firemen and the
police do not live in Berkeley or San Francisco. They live in Brentwood and Antioch and places where they can
afford to live and okay. Anyway, I just wanted to ask you again, I appreciated the person before me, but I really do feel that
it’s very difficult to, as a person who’s in
a different profession and not a seismologist,
to be able to work, even if you want to,
and some organizations try to get these things changed. – Well, I think that we do
need to look at what we can do as a community. And, you know, I’m trying to understand why we got it through this time. You know, what’s been different? And I do think that part of that has been that we have the science
to make a clear statement. You know, and I’m hoping
that the Haywired Scenario will give you guys a tool. You know, it’s not like
it’s really new science. It’s just giving it
into a coherent picture so you can make that
connection to what it is and why these actions are worthwhile. – [Audience Member] I just wanna mention, I hope you’re gonna include Silicon Valley and the things like Bubonic
Plague in the little jars and stuff like that. – Oh yeah, we’ve been doing
quite a bit of work with them. – [Audience Member] And the
plants, the power plants. – Yeah. – [Audience Member] Hi,
you mentioned insurance. When you, as a homeowner in Berkeley, you, I have very smart friends
that say it’s smart to get earthquake insurance. And I have other equally smart friends that say it’s the
stupidest thing you can do. I wonder what your position is? – Okay, earthquake insurance
is a very difficult thing. It is very clear at a societal level that we desperately
need a much higher rate of earthquake insurance. When you look at what’s
happened in Christchurch, they are recovering only because they had 95% insurance coverage. It brought in the money
that allowed them to do it. They almost lost their
reinsurance because of this. They were finally able to bring it along. If they have another big
earthquake like this, they’re losing it. They’re trying to figure out how to move to a higher standard. This is the problem with
the life safety code. As a society, we need more insurance now and we need to move to building buildings that don’t come down. As an individual, it is a
much more difficult choice, partly because what we, the
products that are offered, you’re required, you can only insure for the total replacement
value of your home. You aren’t, you know, and if
you really retrofit your home, the chances of losing the complete value is extremely small on a
really well-built house. So do you do this? One way to support you
in making the decision, there’s a new tool that’s just out, a place called temblor dot net. It’s an actually an ex-USGS scientist who has taken the USGS data and turned it into a really accessible tool. You put in your address. It tells you what– And you put in the value of your house and it gives you the probability in whatever timeframe you wanna look at, usually the length of
your mortgage, 30 years, your probability of shaking, of damage. What’s your chance that
you’re gonna have major damage exceeding a half a million dollars and comparing it to other things that you’re used to insuring for, like, you know, fire of your house, totaling your car, being
sued, major injury. And in Berkeley, in general, unless you have really
retrofitted your house, your probability of
major damage is up there with your chance of major injury and greater than your
chance of being sued, totaling your car, or
burning down your house. So, it’s a useful piece of information to just do that financial comparison. Temblor dot net. – [Audience Member] So the bottom line was would you get it yourself? If you had a (laughs). – I haven’t talked my
husband into it (laughs). – Please join me in giving
another round of applause to Dr. Lucy Jones. (applause) (upbeat music)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

2 thoughts on “Applying Science to Understand the Vulnerability of Modern Society to Natural Disasters

  1. The economic option is always a bad option. It will be the same with human induced climate change. We will have a trainwreck and barely survive. Just look around mount Vesuv in Italy. All know it will explode some day like in the days of Pompei, but humans will behave like ants if society as a whole has not the guts to remove people from an area before the catastrophe happens.

  2. Very good lecture on the topic! When I was in L.A. recently I could not believe how fragile US infrastructure looked and felt. Mostly because taxes for the rich have gone done over the last decades and wealth has not been invested into public infrastructure but fled the country to be invested into growth elsewhere or the housing bubble of 2005.

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