Animals, Earthquakes and Cloud Technology
26 May, 2015
In the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal to its core, questions have been raised about new ways to predict and prepare for inevitable natural disasters. The sky is quite literally the limit, with scientists now exploring the concept of using cloud technology and animals to predict natural disasters, before they happen.
Despite the fact that humans have an in-depth understanding of the world’s major earthquake zones it’s not possible to predict when plates will shift and disaster will strike. Animals on the other hand seem to possess natural instincts that kick in and forewarn them of impending danger. Now, some scientists are maintaining that by using powerful ‘super computers’ humans could also tap into this sixth sense.
While there is not yet any statistical proof, the possibility of a link between abnormal animal behaviour and imminent natural disasters does exist. From herds of cattle unexpectedly stampeding, flocks of birds taking to the skies and dogs seeking shelter, there have been plenty of reports over the years. In 2008 the Chinese government even confirmed that zoo animals were exhibiting unusual behaviour before the Wenchuan earthquake hit. Theorists suggest that this is because they are able to detect minor fast-travelling waves or chemical changes in ground water that indicate an earthquake is on the way.
Connecting with creatures
According to environmental scientists the key to tapping into an animal’s natural ability to foresee earthquakes lies in the use of ambient sensors. By installing non-intrusive motion detectors in their natural habitats scientists will be able to covertly monitor changes in behaviour. Data from the ‘animal whispering’ software can then be used to automatically detect any variations from normal behavioural patterns. This could arm humans with hours, if not days of warning.
Strength in numbers
The more data, the more accurate the results. Scientists pioneering the concept of using technology to harness animal instincts maintain that using behaviour to predict earthquakes will be far more effective if there is an abundance of data available. As well as monitoring the behaviour of wild animals scientists are also suggesting that domesticated herds of cattle and other livestock are also leveraged.
With the generation of big data comes the need for a powerful processing solution. Cloud computing and data centres will play a crucial role in transmitting information to research hubs, monitoring behaviour, pinpointing changes, identifying trends, storing past records and ultimately, issuing earthquake warnings.