• 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.

  • A Seattle quake may cause more damage than expected to reinforced concrete

    Using ground motions generated for a range of simulated magnitude 9 earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, researchers are testing how well reinforced concrete walls might stand up under such seismic events. The walls may not fare so well, especially within the city of Seattle, the researchers say.

  • Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western U.S., affecting water supplies

    Forest fires are causing snow to melt earlier in the season, a trend occurring across the western U.S. that may affect water supplies and trigger even more fires, according to a new study. It is a cycle that will only be exacerbated as the frequency, duration, and severity of forest fires increase with a warmer and drier climate.

  • The why, how, where, and what of earthquake early warning

    Earlier this year, Los Angeles became one of the first cities in the country to roll out ShakeAlert – a dedicated earthquake early warning system. Advanced warning of an earthquake has long been a goal for everyone from seismologists to local governments. Especially in cities like Los Angeles, located along the notorious San Andreas fault. But what about cities like Seattle?

  • Fracking Linked to earthquakes in the Central and Eastern United States

    Small earthquakes in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas can be linked to hydraulic fracturing wells in those regions, according to researchers. While relatively rare compared to earthquakes caused by wastewater disposal in oil and gas fields in the central United States, the researchers  have identified more than 600 small earthquakes (between magnitude 2.0 and 3.8) in these states.

  • “Metamaterials” may mitigate earthquake damage

    In the past decade scientists have been experimenting with metamaterials, artificial materials designed with periodic internal structures to give them properties not found in natural materials. Some of these materials can control waves propagating through them, filtering sound or deflecting light so that an object appears “cloaked” or invisible, for instance. Could this same principle be applied to controlling seismic waves?

  • Mozambique hit by another unprecedented tropical cyclone

    A few weeks after Cyclone Idai which wreaked havoc on central Mozambique (and eastern Zimbabwe), the country is dealing with another unprecedented event. Tropical Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique on 25 April, near the border with Tanzania, in an area where no tropical cyclone has been observed since the satellite era. There is no record of two storms of such intensity striking Mozambique in the same season. It has now weakened into a depression.