• Be PreparedU.S. “prepping” culture influenced by events, not apocalyptic visions

    The culture of preparing for disasters in the United States is usually portrayed as a delusional response to the belief in the imminent long-term collapse of society due to irrational fears of foreign invasions, the conspiratorial plans of New World Orders or a religious apocalypse. New research finds most people hoarding items such as food and water do so “just in case,” rather than because of deeply held, irrational beliefs that society is on the verge of an imminent collapse.

  • TsunamisBig tsunami in the Caribbeans

    Indian Ocean tsunami has researchers reevaluating whether a magnitude 9.0 megathrust earthquake and resulting tsunami might also be a likely risk for the Caribbean region, seismologists reported. Some seismologists “think that several faults in the region could be capable of producing earthquakes of 8.6, and the catastrophic planning by our emergency management community is considering 8.5 and 9.0 earthquakes,” says one researcher.

  • HurricanesFuture hurricanes: Stronger, slower, wetter

    Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how twenty-two recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late twenty-first century. While each storm’s transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower-moving, and a lot wetter.

  • Search & rescueArtificial “nose” helps find people buried by earthquakes, avalanches

    Trained rescue dogs are still the best disaster workers – their sensitive noses help them to track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. Like all living creatures, however, dogs need to take breaks every now and again. They are also often not immediately available in disaster areas, and dog teams have to travel from further afield.. Scientists have developed the smallest and cheapest ever equipment for detecting people by smell. It could be used in the search for people buried by an earthquake or avalanche.

  • Climate threatsInsurance industry dangerously unprepared for extreme weather

    As historic flooding caused by climate change devastates coastal communities, new research reveals that the insurance industry hasn’t considered a changing climate in their practices, putting homeowners at financial risk.

  • Climate threatsGlobal warming of 2°C doubles the population exposed to climate risks compared to 1.5°C rise

    New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2°C, compared to a rise of 1.5°C. The researchers investigated the overlap between multiple climate change risks and socioeconomic development to identify the vulnerability hotspots if the global mean temperature should rise by 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C by 2050, compared to the pre-industrial baseline.

  • Climate threatsGlobal warming fueled Hurricane Harvey’s record-breaking precipitation

    In the weeks before Hurricane Harvey tore across the Gulf of Mexico and plowed into the Texas coast in August 2017, the Gulf’s waters were warmer than any time on record, according to a new analysis. These hotter-than-normal conditions supercharged the storm, fueling it with vast stores of moisture. When it stalled near the Houston area, the resulting rains broke precipitation records and caused devastating flooding. “As climate change continues to heat the oceans, we can expect more supercharged storms like Harvey,” says one researcher.

  • Planetary securityThe threat of asteroids and comets

    In 1994, astronomers watched in awe as the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into the planet Jupiter, creating massive fireballs exploding with the force of six million megatons of TNT—equivalent to 600 times the world’s nuclear arsenal. What would have happened if it had hit Earth instead of Jupiter?

  • Social media & disastersTwitter users likely to spread falsehoods during disasters

    We know that Twitter is littered with misinformation. But how good are the social media platform’s most active users at detecting these falsehoods, especially during public emergencies? Not good, according to researchers who examined more than 20,000 tweets during Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing.

  • Earthquake survivalEngineers solve the 500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery

    Why has the Leaning Tower of Pisa survived the strong earthquakes that have hit the region since the middle ages? After studying available seismological, geotechnical and structural information, researchers concluded that the survival of the Tower can be attributed to a phenomenon known as dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI).

  • HurricanesPowerful hurricanes strengthen faster now than thirty years ago

    Hurricanes that intensify rapidly — a characteristic of almost all powerful hurricanes — do so more strongly and quickly now than they did thirty years ago. While many factors are at play, the chief driver is a natural phenomenon that affects the temperature of the waters in the Atlantic where hurricanes are powering up.

  • Coastal perilHelping rebuild eroding lands in coastal Louisiana

    As coastal lands in Louisiana erode, researchers, environmentalists and engineers are all searching for ways to preserve the marsh coastline. Now, researchers have developed a model to help stakeholders figure out what factors they need to consider to rebuild land in this fragile wetland.

  • Water securityAs drought returns, experts say Texas cities aren't conserving enough water

    By Paul Cobler

    Three years after one of the worst droughts in Wichita Falls history, life is returning to normal. But as Texas creeps back into a drought, water experts say residents in the city and around the state can do more to conserve water and prepare for the next shortage, which is always on the horizon.

  • Climate & conflictClimate change not the key driver of conflict, displacement in East Africa

    Over the last fifty years, climate change has not been the key driver of the human displacement or conflict in East Africa, rather it is politics and poverty, according to new research. “Terms such as climate migrants and climate wars have increasingly been used to describe displacement and conflict, however these terms imply that climate change is the main cause. Our research suggests that socio-political factors are the primary cause while climate change is a threat multiplier,” said one researcher.

  • Climate risksHelping banking industry address climate-related risks, opportunities

    Sixteen leading banks from four continents, convened by the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), have published a jointly developed methodology to increase banks’ understanding of how climate change and climate action could impact their business.