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Masters Programmes in Risk

Spatial and Temporal Dimensions of Hazard (30 credits)

This is 30 credit core module for students taking the MSc in Risk and Environmental Hazards.

The aims of the module are to

  • Provide students with theoretical and practical training in how to understand and quantify the spatial and temporal dimensions of hazard

After taking this module students should be able to

  • Understand the relevant spatial and temporal scales over which a variety of hazards act
  • Appreciate the dominant controls on hazard dimensions, and how they vary with the underlying mechanism
  • Critically evaluate remote-sensing methodologies and common data sets
  • Critically evaluate methodologies, techniques, and limitations of surface change analysis
  • Understand how scale influences societal response to different hazards and the production of vulnerability

Teaching and assessment

The first part of the module is concerned with understanding the spatial and temporal dimensions of hazards and hazardous events. Lectures and practicals will be used to discuss the various factors that set the scale of hazards, including their distribution in space, their duration in terms of primary and secondary effects, the relationships between event magnitude, frequency, and location, and the importance of spatial heterogeneity and connectivity. This will be followed by an overview of effective techniques, approaches, and data sets. Particular attention will be paid to new or innovative ways of quantifying hazard, including (but not limited to) new types of sensor, high-resolution data (in space or time), and new platforms. Throughout this first block, the emphasis will be on generic issues, challenges, and approaches to addressing research questions, rather than on the specific advantages or disadvantages of a particular method or data set.

The second part of the module is centered around a self-guided project using one or more of the data sets and techniques discussed in part 1, supported by workshops for exchange of ideas, generic quantitative techniques, and individual assistance. Project topics will be chosen from a list provided by staff, and may vary from year to year depending on availability of staff and appropriate data sets. Projects will be presented and discussed, and formative feedback given on the presentation, at the final module meeting.

For further details on module content, contact hours and assessment please refer to the postgraduate modules handbook.