• ResilienceNetwork Resilience is Key to Surviving Compound Hazard Events

    As weather extremes such as Superstorm Sandy, which swamped New York City’s subway system in 2012, increase in frequency and intensity and as cybercriminals ramp up attacks on technologies that tie together urban infrastructure systems, networks critical to the flow of data, people, goods, and services must be made more resilient to failure

  • PERSPECTIVE: Catastrophes50,000 Benghazis, 109 Katrinas: U.S. COVID-19 Death in Perspective

    The United States now counts over 200,000 dead in direct connection with the novel coronavirus. Elizabeth Hunt Brockway writes that to grasp the enormity of this figure, we need to see how this massive number stacks up to Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and other iconic events of mass death, suffering, and pain seared into the American collective conscience.

  • Climate migrationClimate Change Triggers Migration

    Environmental hazards affect populations worldwide and can drive migration under specific conditions, especially in middle-income and agricultural countries. According to a new study, changes in temperature levels, increased rainfall variability, and rapid-onset disasters such as tropical storms play an important role in this regard.

  • WildfiresWildfire in Northern California's Coastal Ranges on the Rise Since 1984

    High-severity wildfires in northern coastal California have been increasing by about 10 percent per decade since 1984, according to a new study. From Berryessa to Klamath Mountains, High-Severity Burns Quadrupled During Warm Drought.

  • WildfiresDoes Experiencing Wildfires Create Political Consensus on Resilience Measures?

    By Bruce E. Cain

    As of last weekend [12-13 September], 97 large fires have burned 4.7 million acres across the American West, causing widespread evacuations in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho and Utah.  The smoke from these summer wildfires has spread very widely over the region, curtailing outdoor activity and sending many to the hospitals with respiratory ailments, heat attacks and strokes.  Will this move us any closer to achieving a consensus on the topic of dealing with climate change?

  • WildfiresInsurance Markets Face Challenges in Higher Fire-Risk Areas

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, and in 2017 that number jumped to 10,800. In 2018, wildfires wrought even greater destruction, with more than 22,000 structures destroyed. Those conflagrations can devastate homeowners and bring heavy costs for the insurance industry. In a new study, RAND researchers found that while the insurance market in lower-fire-risk areas was working relatively well as of 2017, higher-fire-risk areas faced challenges.

  • Tipping pointsWhat Is a Tipping Point, and Why Should I Care?

    By Andrew Bernier

    Big or small, certain shifts — spurred by disruptions — indicate that in some way a point between the way things were in the past and the way they’ll be in the future has been met and passed. Our ability to understand and act thoughtfully around this single concept could determine the fate of life on Earth.

  • Infrastructure protectionMaking Highways, Tunnels, and Bridges More Resilient to Extreme Events

    The EU-funded RESIST project aims to provide a methodology as well as tools for risk analysis and management for critical highway structures (in the case of bridges and tunnels) that will be applicable to all extreme natural and man-made events, or cyber-attacks to the associated information systems. Its goal is to increase the resilience of seamless transport operation and protect the users and operators of the European transport infrastructure by providing them optimal information.

  • FloodsHelping Urban Communities Install Low-Cost Sensors to Reduce Flood Risks

    Floods are costly and dangerous events that impact communities across the U.S. every year. DHS S&T released a guidebook to help communities deploy and operate low-cost sensors for flood monitoring and management.

  • Coastal challengesUp to 15 Inches of Sea-Level Rise from Ice Sheets by 2100

    A collaborative effort of more than three dozen research institutions from around the world has helped to create the most accurate prediction of how melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland will contribute to global sea-level rise.   

  • Wildfires & Calif.’s electric gridWhat the Wildfires Tell Us about the Shortcomings of California’s Electric Grid

    In addition to the vast destruction they have caused, the wildfires that have engulfed California in recent weeks have laid bare serious concerns about the state’s electric grid. UCLA’s expert Eric Fournier explains why the architecture of California’s grid isn’t well suited for such extreme conditions and what it would take to improve it.

  • Disaster evacuationImproving Wildfires Evacuation Planning

    As global temperatures continue to rise, cities and towns not historically prone to large wildfires may begin to face greater threats. An unsuspecting Tennessee community found itself in this position during the 2016 Chimney Tops 2 Fire, which led to 14 deaths and nearly 200 injuries — many related to last-minute evacuations. A new NIST study could help communities, especially those without robust wildfire response plans in place, devise and improve strategies for getting people to head for safer ground.

  • WildfiresClimate Change Making Western Wildfires in U.S. Worse

    By Steve Baragona

    Wildfires have burned a record-breaking 1.25 million hectares in California as of Saturday. Washington state is enduring its second-largest area burned. A half-million people are under a fire evacuation warning or order in Oregon, one-tenth of the state’s population. The devastation is not unexpected. Climate experts have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Wildfires need dry plants to burn, and climate change is helping increase the supply.

  • WildfiresGlobal Fire Outlook Not Good News, but Mitigation Is Possible

    Wildfire is a natural process necessary to many ecosystems. But wildfires are getting worse and more damaging, and it is our fault, according to new research. The global economic and environmental damage caused by wildfire will only increase because of human-caused climate change, but we are also able to save ourselves, the researchers said.

  • Arson terrorismCaptivating Conflagration: Arson as a Terrorist Tactic

    By Stevie Kiesel

    The 2018 Camp Fire in California and the 2019 bushfires in Australia killed dozens of people, destroyed thousands of homes, and scorched millions of acres, inflicting widespread pain and steep economic costs. The most extreme terrorist groups aspire to achieve this level of death and destruction. It therefore comes as no surprise that the use of arson for terrorist purposes is not a new phenomenon. Jihadists; extremists on the far right and the far left; as well as special interest extremists, have used arson to send political messages for years.