Unit 4: The changing Earth - the cause and impact of Earth hazards Description
Earth hazards occur over a range of time scales and have significant impacts on Earth systems across a wide range of spatial scales. Investigation of naturally occurring and human-influenced Earth hazards enables prediction of their impacts, and the development of management and mitigation strategies. In this unit, students examine the cause and effects of naturally occurring Earth hazards including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunami. They examine ways in which human activities can contribute to the frequency, magnitude and intensity of Earth hazards such as fire and drought. This unit focuses on the timescales at which the effects of natural and human-induced change are apparent and the ways in which scientific data are used to provide strategic direction for the mitigation of Earth hazards and environmental management decisions.
Students review the scientific evidence for climate change models, including the examination of evidence from the geological record, and explore the tensions associated with differing interpretations of the same evidence. They consider the reliability of these models for predicting climate change, and the implications of future climate change events, including changing weather patterns, globally and in Australia (for example, changes in flooding patterns or aridity, and changes to vegetation distribution, river structure and groundwater recharge).
Through the investigation of appropriate contexts, students explore the ways in which models and theories related to monitoring and managing Earth hazards and climate change have developed over time and through interactions with social, economic, cultural, and ethical considerations. They investigate the ways in which science contributes to contemporary debate regarding local, regional and international management of Earth hazards, evaluation of risk and action for sustainability, and recognise the limitations of science in providing definitive answers in different contexts.
Students use inquiry skills to collect, analyse and interpret data relating to the cause and impact of Earth hazards. They critically analyse the range of factors that influence the magnitude, frequency, intensity and management of Earth hazards at local, regional and global levels.