• EarthquakesOil Feld Operations Likely Triggered Earthquakes in California Near San Andreas Fault

    By Thomas H. Goebel

    The way companies drill for oil and gas and dispose of wastewater can trigger earthquakes, at times in unexpected places. California was thought to be an exception, a place where oil field operations and tectonic faults apparently coexisted without much problem. Now, new research shows that the state’s natural earthquake activity may be hiding industry-induced quakes.

  • Emergency preparednessThe Strategic Stockpile Failed; Experts Propose New Approach to Emergency Preparedness

    A new analysis of the United States government’s response to COVID-19 highlights myriad problems with an approach that relied, in large part, on international supply chains and the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). A panel of academic and military experts is instead calling for a more dynamic, flexible approach to emergency preparedness at the national level.

  • ARGUMENT: Climate migrationPolicy Approaches to Climate Migration: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean

    As climate change has gained more attention and governments have developed policies to reduce carbon emissions and manage increasing environmental risks, climate migration—the movement of people primarily due to changes in the environment that result from climate change—has become a key issue for research and policy.

  • First respondersCloud-Based Framework Improves Efficiency in Disaster-Area Management

    Researchers have, for the first time, designed a cloud-based autonomous system framework utilizing the standard messaging protocol for the internet-of-things (IoT). This framework is robust to network-denied environments by utilizing each vehicle, along with a clustering algorithm, to maximize the network coverage area. Also for the first time, researchers have implemented a cloud-based, highly efficient control system to aid first responders in disaster-area management.

  • FloodsMore Rainfall in Florida During Flooding Season

    Rising Atlantic Ocean temperatures haven increase Florida’s late summertime rainfall. The increase in rainfall will make summer flooding in the state worse.

  • FloodsMobile Flood Tool

    The U.S. Geological Survey announced Friday the completion of a new mobile tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather and flood forecasts all in one place on a computer, smartphone or other mobile device. The new access anywhere interactive map helps minimize loss of life and property.

  • AlertsAction-Led Alerts Effective in Natural Disasters

    Is an “evacuate now” text message more likely to initiate action by the receiver than “you will be impacted by a flood” in a natural disaster emergency such as bushfire and flood? “Words are powerful during natural hazard emergencies and it is important to use words and phrases that are understood to avoid panic, message desensitization, and guide safe risk assessment and response.”

  • Climate challengesMost Surprising Thing about a New Report Showing Climate Change Imperils the U.S. Financial System Is That the Report Even Exists

    By Jeffrey Dukes

    As an expert on the impacts of climate change, I contributed to a recent report that examined what climate change means for the U.S. financial system. Our report includes many important findings and recommendations, perhaps most notably that the U.S. financial system is imperiled by climate change. The report’s greatest significance, though, may be that it exists at all.

  • InfrastructureMaking Critical Infrastructure Safer as Natural Disasters Increase

    According to the European Union, it costs around €20 billion to repair and maintain transport infrastructure as a direct result of natural hazards. The American Society of Civil Engineers believes neglecting to maintain transport infrastructure could have dire economic consequences, including a loss of 2.5 million jobs and $7 trillion in business sales by 2025 A new roadmap shows the way to more resilient transport networks in a world where natural disasters are increasing, and data is at the heart of the plan.

  • Disaster managementCreating 3-D Maps of Complex Buildings for Disaster Management

    In case of an emergency, first responders like the fire brigade need up-to-date information. 2D maps are a common source of information but they can be difficult to read in an emergency situation. A researcher has created an algorithm that can accurately generate 3D models of the insides of large buildings from point clouds.

  • landslidesSimple Actions May Help People Survive Landslides

    An engineer who analyzed the aftermath of the March 2014 landslide in Oso, Washington, began to investigate the circumstances that can make landslides so deadly. The resulting study shows that certain human actions increase the chance of surviving a devastating event, and suggests simple behavioral changes could save more lives than expensive engineering solutions.

  • PreparednessDisaster Preparedness in the Palm of Your Hand

    Natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes can devastate communities and bring uncertainty in their aftermath when it comes to safely accessing buildings or homes. When an EF-3 tornado struck Jefferson City, Missouri, in May 2019, it killed three people and left over 600 buildings damaged, presenting first responders with an overwhelming response challenge.In tragic situations like this, facility owners and emergency planners play a key role in taking swift action to evaluate the damage done.

  • FloodsOne in Six Historic Resources in Colorado Is in a Floodplain

    Colorado has lost several of its important historic landmarks to disasters. The 2013 floods, for instance, destroyed a WPA-era shelter in Lyons and severely damaged the town’s historic library. A new study reaches a sobering conclusion, that one in six historic resources in Colorado is at risk from a flood disaster, yet few communities proactively plan for their protection.

  • Disaster responseNatural Disaster Preparations May Help Businesses' Pandemic Response

    The economic impacts of COVID-19 have battered small and medium-sized enterprises, putting millions of jobs in the U.S. at risk. And a year rife with natural disasters has not done many struggling businesses any favors. ,A new survey found that nearly a quarter of businesses felt natural disaster preparations helped them address COVID-19. They tended to find preparations of broad applicability during natural disasters, such as telework readiness, more useful than hazard-specific measures. The survey also identified areas of hardship for businesses, including uncertainty and a lack of guidance and resources.

  • InfrastructureClimate Change Undermines Safety of Europe’s Buildings, Infrastructure

    Buildings and infrastructure also need to adapt to the changing climate. Updating structural design standards is crucial to improving European climate resilience and ensuring the safety of constructions, that are expected to suffer from changes in atmospheric variables and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. The higher temperatures expected over the next 50 years in Europe will accelerate corrosion of buildings, and will expose infrastructure to higher stresses, thus undermining the safety of constructions.