• Safe fracking requires distance from sensitive rock strata

    Fracking — the process which releases natural gas and oil from shale rock strata – is becoming more and more popular because it promises access to new, abundant sources of energy; the process of fracking, however, has been associated with increase in the frequency of earthquakes and contamination of drinking water; scientists examine thousands of fracking operations in the United States, Europe, and Africa, and conclude that in order to minimize water contamination and earthquakes, there should be a minimum distance of at least 0.6 km between a fracking operation and sensitive rock strata

  • Designing stormwater systems for the future

    Researchers study how climate change is affecting rainfall and weather patterns throughout Kansas to help with future adaptation and mitigation strategies; the researchers are updating rainfall distribution data to ensure current stormwater management systems can handle future weather changes

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  • Increased U.S earthquakes may be caused by fracking

    From 1970 to 2000 the number of magnitude 3.0 or greater temblors in the U.S. mid-continent averaged twenty-one annually; by 2011 the number of such quakes had increased to 134; a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey links the increase of seismic activity to the increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking

  • Cost of a dirty bomb attack in L.A. would reach $16 billion

    A dirty bomb attack on downtown Los Angeles’ financial district could severely affect the region’s economy at a cost nearly $16 billion, fueled primarily by psychological effects which could persist for a decade

  • Scientists: Deepwater Horizon exposed gaps in deepwater oil spill knowledge

    On the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a national team of scientists warns that inadequate knowledge about the effects of deepwater oil well blowouts threatens scientists’ ability to help manage comparable future events

  • Solar storms and infrastructure vulnerabilities

    Space weather, and in particular coronal mass ejections, can cause huge disruption to many highly technological systems on Earth; experts say that vulnerable industries, such as power grids and airlines, should gather more information on space weather in order to make more informed decisions about how to deal with future solar storms

  • San Francisco earthquake planners developing pet-disaster response

    San Francisco is preparing for the Big One in more ways than one: the latest addition to the city’s disaster preparedness plans is a legion of pet disaster responders, trained by city officials to rescue pet dogs, cats, rodents, birds, and reptiles in the event of a disaster, and transport them to one of 125 temporary shelters

  • California quake test shows promise of new building code

    Researchers place a model hospital on a shake table to assess the structure’s ability to withstand earthquake; in accordance with California latest building code, base isolators, which are rubber bearings intended to absorb the shock of the motion, were installed underneath the structure; the hospital passed the 6.7-magnitude and 8.8-magnitude tests with flying colors

  • Industrial, materials industry facing risks on global scale

    The struggling global economy and recent disasters, including the Thailand floods and Japan earthquake and tsunami, have forced the global industrial and materials industry to change the way it views and prioritizes resources for risk response

  • Direct drinking water recycling could prevent floods

    The use of a more streamlined process to recycle wastewater could have saved Brisbane from severe flooding in 2011 and mitigated recent flood risks in NSW, a leading water expert says

  • April 2011 was one of the worst ever in terms of killer tornadoes

    The month of April 2011 saw a historic outburst of 202 tornadoes which turned broad swaths of southeastern United States into a disaster zone; researchers believe that something called a “thermal boundary” set the stage for the birth of these killer storms

  • Scale of 2011 disasters challenged established thinking on nature of risk

    New paper says that the scale of the catastrophes experienced in 2011 exceeded previous loss-modeling predictions and has challenged established thinking on the nature of risk; the paper says that, post-2011, companies need to re-examine their risk management strategies and introduce new methodologies to strengthen their operational and financial resilience

  • In environmental disasters, families experience conflict, denial, silence

    Environmental disasters affect individuals and communities; they also affect how family members communicate with each other, sometimes in surprising ways; the researchers say that the findings were, in some ways, counterintuitive

  • Southern sea levels rise dramatically

    Sea levels have risen about twenty centimeters in the South West Pacific since the late nineteenth century, a new scientific study shows

  • U.S. severe weather insurance losses breach $1.2 billion in March

    The estimated economic loss of a series of natural disasters in the United States in March reached approximately $2.0 billion, while insured losses are expected to breach $1.1 billion amid more than 170,000 insurance claims