Disasters | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Future hurricanes: Stronger, slower, wetter

    Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how twenty-two recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late twenty-first century. While each storm’s transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower-moving, and a lot wetter.

  • Artificial “nose” helps find people buried by earthquakes, avalanches

    Trained rescue dogs are still the best disaster workers – their sensitive noses help them to track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. Like all living creatures, however, dogs need to take breaks every now and again. They are also often not immediately available in disaster areas, and dog teams have to travel from further afield.. Scientists have developed the smallest and cheapest ever equipment for detecting people by smell. It could be used in the search for people buried by an earthquake or avalanche.

  • Insurance industry dangerously unprepared for extreme weather

    As historic flooding caused by climate change devastates coastal communities, new research reveals that the insurance industry hasn’t considered a changing climate in their practices, putting homeowners at financial risk.

  • Global warming of 2°C doubles the population exposed to climate risks compared to 1.5°C rise

    New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2°C, compared to a rise of 1.5°C. The researchers investigated the overlap between multiple climate change risks and socioeconomic development to identify the vulnerability hotspots if the global mean temperature should rise by 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C by 2050, compared to the pre-industrial baseline.

  • Global warming fueled Hurricane Harvey’s record-breaking precipitation

    In the weeks before Hurricane Harvey tore across the Gulf of Mexico and plowed into the Texas coast in August 2017, the Gulf’s waters were warmer than any time on record, according to a new analysis. These hotter-than-normal conditions supercharged the storm, fueling it with vast stores of moisture. When it stalled near the Houston area, the resulting rains broke precipitation records and caused devastating flooding. “As climate change continues to heat the oceans, we can expect more supercharged storms like Harvey,” says one researcher.

  • The threat of asteroids and comets

    In 1994, astronomers watched in awe as the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into the planet Jupiter, creating massive fireballs exploding with the force of six million megatons of TNT—equivalent to 600 times the world’s nuclear arsenal. What would have happened if it had hit Earth instead of Jupiter?

  • Twitter users likely to spread falsehoods during disasters

    We know that Twitter is littered with misinformation. But how good are the social media platform’s most active users at detecting these falsehoods, especially during public emergencies? Not good, according to researchers who examined more than 20,000 tweets during Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing.

  • Engineers solve the 500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery

    Why has the Leaning Tower of Pisa survived the strong earthquakes that have hit the region since the middle ages? After studying available seismological, geotechnical and structural information, researchers concluded that the survival of the Tower can be attributed to a phenomenon known as dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI).

  • Powerful hurricanes strengthen faster now than thirty years ago

    Hurricanes that intensify rapidly — a characteristic of almost all powerful hurricanes — do so more strongly and quickly now than they did thirty years ago. While many factors are at play, the chief driver is a natural phenomenon that affects the temperature of the waters in the Atlantic where hurricanes are powering up.

  • Helping rebuild eroding lands in coastal Louisiana

    As coastal lands in Louisiana erode, researchers, environmentalists and engineers are all searching for ways to preserve the marsh coastline. Now, researchers have developed a model to help stakeholders figure out what factors they need to consider to rebuild land in this fragile wetland.

  • As drought returns, experts say Texas cities aren't conserving enough water

    Three years after one of the worst droughts in Wichita Falls history, life is returning to normal. But as Texas creeps back into a drought, water experts say residents in the city and around the state can do more to conserve water and prepare for the next shortage, which is always on the horizon.

  • Climate change not the key driver of conflict, displacement in East Africa

    Over the last fifty years, climate change has not been the key driver of the human displacement or conflict in East Africa, rather it is politics and poverty, according to new research. “Terms such as climate migrants and climate wars have increasingly been used to describe displacement and conflict, however these terms imply that climate change is the main cause. Our research suggests that socio-political factors are the primary cause while climate change is a threat multiplier,” said one researcher.

  • Helping banking industry address climate-related risks, opportunities

    Sixteen leading banks from four continents, convened by the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), have published a jointly developed methodology to increase banks’ understanding of how climate change and climate action could impact their business.

  • Predicting volcanic eruptions

    Concern over the potential imminent eruptions of Earth’s supervolcanoes, like Taupo in New Zealand or Yellowstone in the United States, may be quelled by the results of a new study suggesting that geological signs pointing to a catastrophic eruption would be clear far in advance.

  • Seismic early warning could save lives in Nepal’s next Big One

    Just before noon on 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that maxed out the seismic intensity scale shook the entire nation of Nepal. Originating about 100 km northwest of the capital city of Kathmandu, this earthquake along with a magnitude 7.1 aftershock on 12 May killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 more while damaging or destroying more than 600,000 structures. Scientists say that if sensors had been near the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake, they could have detected it up to 80 seconds before it reached Kathmandu. Even factoring in the time it would take to corroborate the signal with other sensors and transmit a warning to everyone’s cell phones—which are just as abundant in Nepal as they are in America—people could have gotten more than a minute warning.