• Volcano Threats Are Hiding in Plain Sight

    The series of powerful earthquakes that shook Southern California in July prompted understandable concern about whether the region is prepared for a period of possibly more active seismic shifts. It also generated, however, a viral wave of apocalyptic warnings that a “supervolcano” in Yellowstone National Park, a few states away, was about to erupt and plunge the world into darkness in a colossal explosion of lava and ash. There is a serious volcanic threat in the contiguous U.S., but it isn’t in Wyoming,” Sillow writes. “It lurks hundreds of miles to the west, inside the snow-capped, picture-postcard peaks of Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, Mount Hood and others. They might look like ordinary mountains, but in fact they are volcanoes—and potentially dangerous ones.

  • The World's Aging Dams Are Not Built for Ever More Extreme Weather

    The town of Whaley Bridge in the UK has had to be evacuated after damage to a dam built in 1831. The Toddbrook Reservoir is just one of many ageing dams worldwide not designed for ever more extreme rainfall as the planet warms. Dams are typically designed to cope with a so-called 1-in-100-year flood event. But as the world warms the odds of extreme rainfall are changing, meaning the risk of failure is far greater. Engineers have been warning for years that many old dams around the world are already unsafe and need upgrading or dismantling.

  • Climate Change Has Made Our Stormwater Infrastructure Obsolete

    We are not ready for the extreme rainfall coming with climate change. A quick dramatic thunderstorm in New York on Wednesday flooded Staten Island so badly that brown murky water joined bus riders for their evening ride home. It’s just one in a growing number of examples of infrastructure not being up to the task. Many cities’ water management systems—think stormwater drains or dams—aren’t equipped to handle climate change-influenced weather shifts.

  • NOAA Increases Chance for Above-Normal Hurricane Season

    NOAA forecasters monitoring oceanic and atmospheric patterns say conditions are now more favorable for above-normal hurricane activity since El Nino has now ended. Two named storms have formed so far this year and the peak months of the hurricane season, August through October, are now underway.

  • Humanity’s Ability to Feed Itself Under Growing Threat

    A new UN report warns that the world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” and that the combination of this increasingly more rapid exploitation with climate change is putting dire – and threatening — pressure on the ability of mankind to feed itself.

  • Asteroid's Close Approach Illustrates Need for More Eyes on the Sky

    On 25 July, an asteroid the size of a football field flew by Earth, coming within 65 000 km of our planet’s surface during its closest approach – about one fifth of the distance to the Moon. While 2019 OK illustrates the need for even more eyes on the sky, it also provides an opportunity to improve the asteroid recognizing abilities of current and future telescopes.

  • DoD “Precariously Underprepared” for Security Challenges of Climate Change

    The United States Army War College recently released a report exploring the broad impact climate change will have on national security and U.S. Army operations, and offering what it describes as urgent recommendations. The second sentence of the report captures the report’s tone and argument: “The Department of Defense is precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.”

  • U.S. Infrastructure Unprepared for Increasing Frequency of Extreme Storms

    Current design standards for United States hydrologic infrastructure are unprepared for the increasing frequency and severity of extreme rainstorms, meaning structures like retention ponds and dams will face more frequent and severe flooding, according to a new study.

  • July Equaled, or Even Surpassed, the Hottest Month in Recorded History

    July at least equaled, if not surpassed, the hottest month in recorded history. This follows the warmest ever June on record. The figures show that, based on the first 29 days of the month, July 2019 will be on par with, and possibly marginally warmer than the previous warmest July, in 2016, which was also the warmest month ever. The latest figures are particularly significant because July 2016 was during one of the strongest occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon, which contributes to heightened global temperatures. Unlike 2016, 2019 has not been marked by a strong El Niño.

  • Predicting Storm Surges, Flooding, and Tides to Help Coastal Communities

    When weather systems threaten the coast, emergency responders rely on high-precision storm modeling systems and real-time data to accurately predict hurricane activity and flooding threats, collaborate with each other, and make critical decisions that will protect the lives and property of millions of U.S. residents. During the 2018 hurricane season, the ADCIRC Prediction System (APS) played an integral role in accurately predicting the storm surges, flooding, wind and wave interactions, and speed of tides and currents associated with both Florence and Michael.

     

  • Faint Foreshocks Foretell California Earthquakes

    New research mining data from a catalog of more than 1.8 million southern California earthquakes found that nearly three-fourths of the time, foreshocks signaled a quake’s readiness to strike from days to weeks before the mainshock hit, a revelation that could advance earthquake forecasting.

  • Predicting Earthquake Hazards from Wastewater Injection

    A byproduct of oil and gas production is a large quantity of toxic wastewater called brine. Well-drillers dispose of brine by injecting it into deep rock formations, where its injection can cause earthquakes. Most quakes are relatively small, but some of them have been large and damaging. Yet predicting the amount of seismic activity from wastewater injection is difficult because it involves numerous variables. Geoscientists have developed a method to forecast seismic hazards caused by the disposal of wastewater.

  • What Will Communities Do When the Water Runs Dry?

    Earlier this summer, the sixth-largest city in India, Chennai, ran out of water. Water crises are now global. Cape Town, South Africa, narrowly escaped Day Zero last year, but it’s still at risk, as are Sao Paulo and Mexico City. Iraq, Morocco and Spain also face water shortages.What we are seeing in Chennai right now is a devastating illustration of human-driven climate disruption,” says an expert. “It is hard for me to picture a near future where access to clean, fresh water continues in as plentiful a way as it is in most of our country at this moment.”

  • Worst Rainfall in 150 Years Damages Pennsylvania Homes, Roads

    According to the 150 years of data used by the National Weather Service, 2018 was the wettest year in the Berks region of Pennsylvania, with 68.08 inches of precipitation measured at Reading Regional Airport. This year is ahead of last year’s pace, with 38.21 inches already, far above the normal rate of 24.18 inches. Records for the wettest 12-month period are being set each month, according to the weather service. Some municipal officials say their infrastructure and stormwater management systems can’t handle the amount of rain we’re now receiving, and they are trying to figure out what type of improvements they can afford.

  • Jakarta’s Giant Sea Wall Is Useless If the City Keeps Sinking

    Late last week, president Joko Widodo of Indonesia told the AP that he’s fast-tracking a decade-in-the-making plan for a giant sea wall around Jakarta, a city that’s sinking as much as 8 inches a year in places—and as seas rise, no less. Models predict that by 2050, a third of the city could be submerged. It’s an urban existential crisis the likes of which the modern world has never seen.