- GIS | Health & Hazards Lab
- City and Community Studies Initiative
- Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability
Our department has a multi-faceted approach to studying extreme environments. We are interested in the physical characteristics, how people and society react to and interact with these environments, and how we map and monitor these areas. Of particular interest are hazards and disasters, both human-induced and natural, and landscapes of war and terrorism.
Tom Schmidlin and Scott Sheridan, both climatologists, have studied natural meteorological hazards, from a physical point of view as well as social impacts. Tom's work on tornado and hurricane safety has evaluated, among other things, vehicle stability in extreme winds, with an eye on improving tornado safety recommendations and hurricane evacuation procedures. Scott's focus is on heat waves and he has worked on heat warning systems for a number of cities worldwide. Mandy Munro-Stasiuk studies glaciated landscapes, and specifically the origin of subglacial landforms. While most of her research has focused on ancient glaciated landscapes, she is now focusing attention on more modern environments such as the glacier forefields in Iceland. Because of her expertise in ground penetrating radar and remote sensing, she has started working in Yucatan, Mexico, looking at sinkholes in terrain almost entirely devoid of water. Among anthropological hazards, Jim Tyner has studied the geography of genocide in Cambodia, and has published extensively on his findings. Communication within hazardous landscapes is key, and is something studied by a number of geographers as well.