• Russia embarking on a program to thwart asteroid threat

    Officials from Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear agency, and from Russia’s space agency, yesterday (Tuesday) told a special conference at the Russian Federation Council, the Russian upper house, that Russia was embarking on an ambitious program – estimated to cost about $2 billion – to shield Russia from the threat of asteroids and meteors. The first steps will be taken by the end of the year, but the comprehensive set of measures will not be available until 2018-20. The officials discussed various possible measures, ranging from planting beacon transmitters on asteroids to megaton-sized nuclear strikes to destroy asteroid or divert them from a course which would lead to a collision with the Earth.

  • The benefits of multi-state catastrophic risk pool

    A modeling platform from Kinetic Analysis Corp. enabled researchers to drill deeply into large volumes of storm-related data spanning nine states and 140 years. Study finds that multi-state catastrophic risk pools offer significant benefits in major tropical events.

  • Making future sea-level predictions more accurate

    Sea-level rise is a major issue facing those in charge of infrastructure protection in coastal communities. New research into radiocarbon dates of tiny fossilized marine animals found in Antarctica’s seabed sediments offers new clues about the recent rapid ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and helps scientists make better predictions about future sea-level rise. 

  • Arctic ice loss intensified Superstorm Sandy ferocity

    If you believe that last October’s Superstorm Sandy was a freak of nature — the confluence of unusual meteorological, atmospheric and celestial events – then Cornell and Rutgers researchers suggest you should think again. The researchers report that the severe loss of summertime Arctic sea ice — attributed to greenhouse warming — appears to enhance Northern Hemisphere jet stream meandering, intensify Arctic air mass invasions toward middle latitudes, and increase the frequency of atmospheric blocking events like the one that steered Hurricane Sandy west into the densely populated New York City area.

  • Norfolk, Virginia, tries to cope with sea-level rise

    Norfolk, Virginia, is home to the largest U.S. naval base in the country, and the second biggest commercial port on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Floods are an ever-present problem, a problem which has become worse in recent decades. The relative sea level around Norfolk has risen 14.5 inches (.37 meter) since 1930, when the low-lying downtown area routinely flooded. The frequency of storms-induced surges has increased as well.

  • The impact of sea-level rise on coastal military installations

    The Pentagon says that climate-related effects are already being observed at Department of Defense (DoD) installations in every region of the United States and its coastal waters. The effects of climate change will adversely impact military readiness and DoD natural and built infrastructure unless these risks are considered in DoD decisions. A new white paper developed by the Pentagon’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) identifies key climate-related policy questions that need to be addressed.

  • People remain optimistic even after experiencing devastating tornados

    Even in the face of a disaster, we remain optimistic about our chances of injury compared to others, according to a new study. Residents of a town struck by a tornado thought their risk of injury from a future tornado was lower than that of peers, both a month and a year after the destructive twister. Such optimism could undermine efforts toward emergency preparedness.

  • Weather extremes caused by giant waves trapped in the atmosphere

    The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010, coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists in a new study. The study suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe’s Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.

  • Russian fireball largest ever detected by nuke monitoring organization

    Infrasound has been used as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) monitoring tools to detect atomic blasts since April 2001 when the first station came online in Germany. Infrasonic waves from the meteor that broke up over Russia’s Ural Mountains last week were the largest ever recorded by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System.

  • Climate change as a national security issue

    In a new report, Harvard researcher is pointing toward a new reason to worry about the effects of climate change — national security. During the next decade, the report concludes, climate change could have wide-reaching effects on everything from food, water, and energy supplies to critical infrastructure and economic security. “The imminent increase in extreme events will affect water availability, energy use, food distribution, and critical infrastructure — all elements of both domestic and international security,” the report’s author says.

  • Earthquake catastrophes and fatalities to rise in 21st century

    Predicted population increases in this century can be expected to translate into more people dying from earthquakes. There will be more individual earthquakes with very large death tolls as well as more people dying during earthquakes than ever before, according to a new study.

  • Evacuation in the Netherlands is not pointless

    An evacuation in the event of flooding is not as pointless for the Netherlands as is generally assumed. Experts say that currently the Netherlands is ill-prepared for an evacuation, but with an effective evacuation plan, this can be changed.

  • The costly wild-weather consequences of climate change

    Throughout 2012, the United States was battered by severe weather events such as hurricanes and droughts that affected both pocketbooks and livelihoods. Research suggests that in the coming years, U.S. five-day forecasts will show greater numbers of extreme weather events, a trend linked to human-driven climate change.

  • Russia meteor a “once every 100 years” event

    The meteor which disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, early Friday morning entered the atmosphere at about 40,000 mph (18 kilometers per second). The energy released by the impact was in the hundreds of kilotons.The meteor is the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia.

  • System to vaporize asteroids that threaten Earth

    As an asteroid roughly half as large as a football field — and with energy equal to a large hydrogen bomb – flew by Earth on Friday, two California scientists unveiled their proposal for a system that could eliminate a threat of this size in an hour. The same system could destroy asteroids ten times larger than the one known as 2012 DA14 in about a year, with evaporation starting at a distance as far away as the Sun.