• HurricanesImproving hurricane intensity predictions through early use of “hurricane hunter” data

    Data collected via airplane when a hurricane is developing can improve hurricane intensity predictions by up to 15 percent, according to researchers who have been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Hurricane Center to put the new technique into practice.

  • TsunamisA warning system for tsunamis

    Right now, tsunami warning systems rely on region-specific scenarios based on previous patterns in that area. This is because scientists use sensors in the ocean, which can detect abnormal movements but cannot make accurate projections of how much water will hit a coast and how hard. But “most likely” is not a sure thing. Seismologists have created a new algorithm that could one day help give coastal cities early warning of incoming tsunamis.

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  • FloodsFlood preparedness: There’s a new USGS app for that

    During the recent Texas flooding, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) unveiled a new tool that gives users real-time water, weather and National Weather Service flood forecast information all in one place. When water levels are rising, it can be hard to quickly get all the information you need about your area, especially when you are not in front of a computer.

  • Coastal resilienceTrump-owned resort cites sea level rise in application for seawall permit

    Donald Trump may believe that the scientific evidence about global warming is a “hoax,” or the result of a Chinese plot to undermine the American economy, but the professional managers of his coastal properties believe that global warming is real, and that one of its consequences – sea level rise – poses a real threat to the Trump properties they manage.

  • Man-made earthquakesUpdate on earthquakes: Newest results from Oklahoma Commission look “encouraging”

    By Robert Lee Maril

    The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), the regulatory agency overseeing the state’s oil and gas industry, now has data that may suggest their directives to owners of production and induction wells have successfully contributed to a decline in seismic activity in the most volatile areas prone to earthquakes.Scientists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) continue to remind the public that there are a wide variety of unanswered questions about immediate and long-term remedies even with the new directives in place. 

  • WildfiresExploring the unique relationship between fire and mankind

    Fire has been an important part of the Earth System for over 350 million years, but humans are the only animals to have used and controlled fire. The complex interrelationships between fire and mankind transcend international borders and disciplinary boundaries. The specter of climate change highlights the need to improve our understanding of these relationships across space and time.

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  • Seismic early-warningJapanese-language MyShake app crowdsources earthquake-shaking information

    UC Berkeley scientists have released a Japanese version of an Android app that crowdsources ground-shaking information from smartphones to detect quakes and eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes. The app, called MyShake, became publicly available on Sunday. Since it was first released in English on 12 February 2016, more than 170,000 people have downloaded the app from around the world, and on any given day 11,000 phones provide data to the system.

  • ResilienceImproving national resiliency: Joplin tornado 5th anniversary

    Disaster struck Joplin, Missouri, on 22 May 2011, when the deadliest and costliest single tornado in U.S. history left a 22-mile long path of destruction. The storm killed 161 people, destroyed some 8,000 structures, and left $2.8 billion in damages in its wake. In the five years since the tragedy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has led the effort to learn from the devastation and make improvements based on those lessons so that communities nationwide can become more resilient to tornadoes, significantly reducing both deaths and property damage.

  • Emerging threatsFrequency of extreme heat waves on the increase in Africa -- could soon occur annually

    Climate analysis shows that periods of unusually hot weather are on the rise for one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change, even if the increase in global average temperature remains at a modest level.Longer, hotter, more regular heat waves could have a damaging effect on life expectancy and crop production in Africa warn climate say scientists.

  • FirefightingSeismic networks can serve as the backbone for 21st century firefighting

    The same twenty-first century communications network used for real-time seismic monitoring in Nevada and parts of California can provide high-quality images to help first responders catch fires before they grow costly and dangerous. Experts say that seismic networks in place to provide earthquake early warning, if designed to sustain multi-hazard monitoring, can provide a robust data backbone for fire cameras that pan, tilt and zoom as they monitor wildfires and other extreme weather events like remote floods.

  • Man-made earthquakesHumans have been causing earthquakes in Texas since the 1920s: Study

    Earthquakes triggered by human activity have been happening in Texas since at least 1925, and they have been widespread throughout the state ever since, according to a new historical review of the evidence. The earthquakes are caused by oil and gas operations, but the specific production techniques behind these quakes have differed over the decades.

  • Water securityWith drought easing, California rolls back water conservation rules

    California announced on Wednesday that it was rolling back mandatory water conservation rules which were put in place at the height of a 4-year drought. The decision to roll back the restrictions came after water conditions in many parts of the state have improved as a result of a wet winter.

  • GridDHS efforts to address EMP threats to the electric grid fall short: GAO

    A report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) found that as of July 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken several actions that could help address electromagnetic threats to the electric grid. Although these are positive steps, GAO says that its preliminary work indicates that DHS has not effectively coordinated with stakeholders to identify critical assets or collect necessary risk information, among other responsibilities.

  • Emerging threatTrend continues: April 2016 the seventh consecutive warmest month on record

    April 2016 was the warmest April on record for the globe, according to NASA. every month from October 2015 to April 2016 has now been warmer by 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1951-1980 average. Parts of Alaska, Russia, western Greenland, and northern Africa had a temperature deviation of at least 4 degrees Celsius above the April average.

  • Zombie invasionThe physics of the walking dead: Scientists study the spread of zombies

    Zombies, with their appetite for the living and their ability to transcend the boundaries of life and death, have captured the imagination of audiences for centuries, and it seems that even physicists cannot resist the appeal of these reanimated corpses. Ateam of researchers has taken mathematical models commonly used to understand traditional disease outbreaks and added a supernatural twist.