• Rising seas threaten Australia’s major airports – and it may be happening faster than we think

    Most major airports in Australia are located on reclaimed swamps, sitting only a few meters above the present-day sea level. And the risk of sea level rise from climate change poses a greater threat to our airports than we’re prepared for. Given the significant disruption cost and deep uncertainty associated with the timing of sea level rise, we must adopt a risk-based approach which considers extreme sea level rise scenarios as part of coastal infrastructure planning.

  • Rural areas more vulnerable to sea-level rise

    Type “sea-level rise” in an internet search engine and almost all the resulting images will show flooded cities. But there is a growing recognition that sea-level rise will mostly impact rural land–much of it privately owned—where existing knowledge is insufficient o best inform private and public decisions on how to cope with the threat.

  • Earthquakes or tiger attacks: understanding what people fear most can help prevent disasters

    Understanding what people worry about is crucial to preparing for natural hazards such as earthquakes and mitigating their effects. To prevent disasters, local people, municipal authorities and national governments all need to pull in the same direction – especially when budgets are low for disaster planning. But if residents feel that their everyday fears are ignored by those in power, they may disengage, leaving authorities unable to influence their behavior in a time of crisis.

  • Can we prepare for climate impacts without creating financial chaos?

    Likely sooner than we think, the destruction that warmer global temperatures are inflicting — through record floods, wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes — could physically overwhelm our ability to maintain many communities in their existing form. Communities face a tricky dilemma as climate changes: How to prepare for impacts without scaring away homeowners and investors and setting off a damaging economic spiral.

  • Preparing low-income communities for hurricanes begins with outreach

    Interviews with economically disadvantaged New Jerseyans in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy yield advice for future disasters.

  • Cities can save lives, resources by using a vulnerability reduction scorecard

    A new planning tool enables communities to effectively reduce their vulnerabilities to hazards across their network of plans – including transportation, parks, economic development, hazard mitigation, emergency management and comprehensive land use.

  • The costs of extreme weather

    An expert tells lawmakers that there is one “underappreciated” fact in discussions about the costs of climate change: “small shifts in long-term average conditions — what we call climate — can have a large effect on the frequency of extreme weather events.” Examples: “In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused an estimated $125 billion in losses, with an estimated 200,000 homes experiencing damage. Ongoing flooding in the upper Midwest is sure to produce agricultural losses alone in the billions of dollars, and extreme drought across much of the U.S. in 2012 caused $33 billion in losses.”

  • The fundamental challenges of living with wildfire

    Wildfires can have dramatic impacts on Western landscapes and communities, but human values determine whether the changes caused by fire are desired or dreaded. This is the simple - but often overlooked - message from a collaborative team of researchers.

  • Floods will cost the U.K. billions, but AI can help make sewers the first defense

    The U.K. will need to spend £1 billion a year on flood management to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, according to the national Environment Agency. Coastal defenses – including sea walls, buffer areas and evacuation plans – can help to protect towns and cities against flooding from storm surges. But inland flooding caused by excess rainwater requires more nuanced solutions. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) can use data to help make decisions about how water should flow in and around human settlements, to avoid the worst effects of flooding.

  • As floods increase, cities like Detroit are looking to green stormwater infrastructure

    Urban sprawl meant paving over grasslands and wetlands, making it so water is unable to soak into the ground. Today, that impervious development, coupled with the more intense storms brought by climate change, is making flooding a major issue for many cities. Urban areas are looking for better ways to manage runoff.

  • Better earthquake protection for buildings

    Researchers examine how buildings with externally bonded fiber-reinforced polymer composite retrofits withstood the 30 November 2018 magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Alaska. By assessing how these buildings held up, the researchers hope to help engineers construct buildings that stand up to natural disasters.

  • As planet warms, even little precipitation may disrupt road networks

    A new computer model shows that as more rain falls on a warming planet, it may not take a downpour to cause widespread disruption of road networks. The model combined data on road networks with the hills and valleys of topography to reveal “tipping points” at which even small localized increases in rain cause widespread road outages.

  • Extreme floods associated with distinct atmospheric patterns

    Extreme floods across the continental United States are associated with four broad atmospheric patterns, a machine-learning based analysis of extreme floods found.

  • Revisions to National Seismic Hazard model proposed

    As many as 34 million people in the U.S.(about one in nine people) are expected to experience a strong level of shaking at least once in their lifetimes. Experts say that the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM) should be revised to reflect the greater likelihood of ground shaking across many locations in the central and eastern United States.

  • Maths shows the nature of “tipping points” for climate, eco crises

    Humans need to be wary of breaching a “point of no return” that leads to ecological disaster such as loss of rainforests or irreversible climate change, according to the most detailed study of its kind.