From the Director

Masayuki MAKI, Director

It is expected that the effects of natural disasters caused by heavy rainfall, such as sediment disasters and floods, will decrease in the long term because of various disaster prevention countermeasures that will be employed in Japan. Yet, the frequent typhoons and heavy rainfalls experienced all over Japan in 2004 seriously affected the lives of more than 200 people. Further, the damage from heavy rainfalls in Fukuoka-city in 1999 and 2003, and the heavy rainfalls in the Tokai area in September of 2000 highlighted the fact that big cities are vulnerable in ways that were not previously considered. The vulnerability of big cities is a new issue; in addition to human suffering, heavy rainfalls adversely affect economic activity and city infrastructures, such as underground areas, transportation systems, and communications systems. There are some misgivings for the future about increases in the size of typhoons due to global warming, and about increases in the frequency of heavy rainfalls. At the Storm, Flood, and Landslide Research Department, the countermeasures to these issues are currently the topic of our research; to better characterize the mechanisms of processes of and to develop prediction technologies for natural disasters using methods of observation, experiment and numerical simulation. The following are the research subjects of each group, for the next five years.

Radar Meteorological Research Group: Observation technology and development of techniques (for short-term forecasts) of heavy rainfalls and strong wind.
NIED has developed the Multi-Parameter Radar (MP-Radar), an advanced 3cm-wave meteorological radar, and have obtained accurate estimates of rainfall using a 500m mesh at continuous one minute periods. In the future, we will construct a network system composed of several MP-radars arrayed in a metropolitan area, with the aim of establishing technology to observe the distribution of rainfall and wind in a 150 square meter area. Further, we will develop techniques for the hourly forecasting of rainfalls.

Wind and Flood Damage Research Group: Implementing techniques for real-time flood risk mapping for practical applications.
We aim to forecast real-time flood risk mapping using accurate MP-radar system rainfall data, and to operate on-line the flood risk mapping for hourly forecasting, over several testbed areas with a 10m spatial resolution at 10 minute intervals. There is the possibility of providing useful information to residents to decrease damage in high risk areas.

Landslide Disaster Research Group: Improving the techniques for predicting landslide disasters caused by heavy rainfalls.
We aim to improve the techniques for predicting the high risk areas of surface collapse disasters using accurate rainfall data obtained from the MP-radar system. We will perform two types of research: (1) development of a technique for the early prediction of collapse disaster times. (2) development of techniques to predict damage areas resulting from collapsed soil, as applied to the original landform using numerical simulations and experiments at the large-scale rainfall simulator. These prediction techniques are implemented for practical use through the verification of experimental escarpments.

Climatic Change Research Group: Typhoon risk prediction
Japan is at risk from extreme disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005, as a result of living areas being extended and from the effects of global warming. We are developing techniques for the prediction of typhoon disasters, which are expected to follow from global warming. We will also produce hazard evaluation maps based on data from a typhoon disaster database, a coast line database with diastrophism effects removed and using a numerical simulation technique.

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