• Coastal perilExplaining rapid sea level rise along the East Coast

    Sea level rise hot spots — bursts of accelerated sea rise that last three to five years — happen along the U.S. East Coast thanks to a one-two punch from naturally occurring climate variations, according to a new study. The study shows that seas rose in the southeastern U.S. between 2011 and 2015 by more than six times the global average sea level rise that is already happening due to human-induced global warming.

  • Coastal perilSea-level rise accelerating along U.S. East Coast

    Sea level rise on the East Coast has been much less than 1 millimeter (mm) per year for the entire period 0 AD to 1800 AD, and, since then, it has skyrocketed. In fact, the rate of sea level rise on the East Coast is the highest it has been for at least 2,000 years, and the rate of global sea level rise is above 1.7 mm per year. In New York City, the rate of sea level rise is more than 3 mm per year in an area that currently houses more than $25 billion of infrastructure at less than 1 meter above sea level.

  • Bioresearch securityBiomedical research community should build resilience to disasters

    The academic biomedical research community should improve its ability to mitigate and recover from the impacts of disasters, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences. The consequences of recent disasters, from hurricanes to cyberattacks, have shown that the investments of the U.S. federal government and other research sponsors — which total about $27 billion annually — are not uniformly secure. “Continuing scientific advancement and the promise of future discoveries will require a commitment to resilience — and an unparalleled partnership across the emergency management and academic research sectors,” says one of the report’s authors.

  • Disasters & the elderlyHospital admissions for older adults continue to increase for weeks after natural disaster

    Older adults may still be checking into hospitals for weeks after a natural disaster, past the expected three days of anticipated injuries and health issues, a new research shows. The study found that in the thirty days after a rash of tornadoes swept through the U.S. Southeast and Midwest in 2011, hospital admissions for adults 65 and older rose an average of 4 percent in the swatch of affected zip codes in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee.

  • EarthquakesHuman-induced and natural earthquakes in central U.S. are “inherently similar”

    Between 1980 and 2000, Oklahoma averaged about two earthquakes greater than or equal to magnitude 2.7 per year. That number jumped to about 2,500 in 2014 and 4,000 in 2015, then dropped to 2,500 in 2016. On Sept. 3, 2016, a magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck Oklahoma, the state’s largest earthquake to date. According to USGS, many earthquakes in Oklahoma and other parts of the central U.S. have been triggered by wastewater fluid injection associated with oil and gas operations.

  • Food securityFarming practices require dramatic changes to keep pace with climate change

    Major changes in agricultural practices will be required to offset increases in nutrient losses due to climate change. To combat repeated, damaging storm events, which strip agricultural land of soil and nutrients, farmers are already adopting measures to conserve these assets where they are needed. Researchers investigating nutrients in runoff from agricultural land warn that phosphorus losses will increase, due to climate change, unless this is mitigated by making major changes to agricultural practices.

  • FloodsBenefits of dikes -- reducing flooding -- outweigh costs

    In the first study of its kind, an international team of scientists has concluded, on a global scale, that the economic and long-term benefits of building dikes to reduce flood damage far outweigh their initial cost. They found that in many parts of the world, it is even possible to reduce the economic damage from river floods in the future to below today’s levels, even when climate change, growing populations, and urbanization are taken into account.

  • Floods"Hindcasting": Investigates the extreme 2013 Colorado flood

    In September 2013, severe storms struck Colorado with prolonged, heavy rainfall, resulting in at least nine deaths, 1,800 evacuations and 900 homes destroyed or damaged. The eight-day storm dumped more than 17 inches of rain, causing the Platte River to reach flood levels higher than ever recorded. Researchers report that climate change attributed to human activity made the storm much more severe than would otherwise have occurred.

  • Planetary securityNASA to use asteroid flyby to test planetary defense network

    For the first time, NASA will use an actual space rock for an observational campaign to test NASA’s network of observatories and scientists who work with planetary defense. The asteroid, named 2012 TC4, does not pose a threat to the Earth, but NASA is using it as a test object for an observational campaign because of its close flyby on 12 October 2017.

  • FloodsTroubled flood insurance program traps homeowners in flood-prone areas

    The U.S. flood insurance program has repeatedly rebuilt some of the most flood-prone properties in the country, unintentionally setting a trap for owners of modest homes who would prefer to move out of harm’s way, according to a new national report. Today it is thousands of properties, but climate change and rising sea levels threaten to flood millions of properties in the coming decades. For every $100 the nation spends to rebuild homes with national flood insurance funds, FEMA spends just $1.72 to better protect people by moving them to safer, less flood-prone land.

  • Coastal perilShifting storms threaten once placid areas with extreme waves, extensive damage

    The world’s most extensive study of the impacts of coastal storm fronts in a changing climate has found that rising seas are no longer the only threat. The study of a major storm front striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognized danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before.

  • Planetary securityA “cocktail” of geoengineering approaches to combat climate change

    Geoengineering is a catch-all term that refers to various theoretical ideas for altering Earth’s energy balance to combat climate change. New research from an international team of atmospheric scientists investigates for the first time the possibility of using a “cocktail” of geoengineering tools to reduce changes in both temperature and precipitation caused by atmospheric greenhouse gases.

  • Nuclear attackHawaii launches a campaign to prepare islanders for North Korean nuclear attack

    Officials in Hawaii are preparing for a North Korean nuclear attack. State officials said they would not want to create a panic among the islanders, but that the right thing to do under the circumstances was to have the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency unveil a public education and information campaign aiming to inform people what to do in the event Pyongyang launched a nuclear-tipped missile targeting Hawaii.

  • Search & rescueSoft, growing robot for searching people under collapsed buildings

    Imagine rescuers searching for people in the rubble of a collapsed building. Instead of digging through the debris by hand or having dogs sniff for signs of life, they bring out a small, air-tight cylinder. They place the device at the entrance of the debris and flip a switch. From one end of the cylinder, a tendril extends into the mass of stones and dirt, like a fast-climbing vine. A camera at the tip of the tendril gives rescuers a view of the otherwise unreachable places beneath the rubble. This is just one possible application of a new type of robot – a robot that can grow across long distances without moving its whole body.

  • Search & rescueSearch and rescue dogs perform well despite travel stress

    When disaster strikes, you want the very best tools, functioning at their peak. In the case of catastrophic earthquakes, tornadoes, or even bombings in war zones, those tools are search and rescue dogs. But researchers have found that getting dogs to disaster sites can add to the animals’ stress. search and rescue dogs fly on a moment’s notice to the site of a disaster, where they are expected to perform at the top of their game. But, just like for humans, flying can be stressful for dogs.