• Climate change will soon hit billions of people, and many cities are taking action

    By mid-century, billions of people in thousands of cities around the world will be at risk from climate-related heat waves, droughts, flooding, food shortages and energy blackouts, but many cities are already taking action to blunt such effects, says a new report from a consortium of international organizations.

  • Identifying the site of the next Big One on the San Andreas Fault

    Many researchers hypothesize that the southern tip of the 1300-km-long San Andreas fault zone (SAFZ) could be the nucleation site of the next major earthquake on the fault, yet geoscientists cannot evaluate this hazard until the location and geometry of the fault zone is documented. Researchers want to keep an eye on an area located northeast of the margin of the Salton Sea, where the SAFZ meets the newly identified East Shoreline fault zone (ESF).

  • As coastal communities face more frequent, severe disruptions, costly choices loom

    Sea levels are rising. Tides are inching higher. High-tide floods are becoming more frequent and reaching farther inland. And hundreds of U.S. coastal communities will soon face chronic, disruptive flooding that directly affects people’s homes, lives, and properties. Long before rising seas permanently submerge properties, millions of Americans living in coastal communities will face more frequent and more severe disruptions from high-tide flooding. As this flooding increases, it will reach a threshold where normal routines become impossible and coastal residents, communities, and businesses are forced to make difficult, often costly choices.

  • How will people move as climate changes?

    In coming decades, climate change is expected to displace millions of people through sea level rise, crop failures, more frequent extreme weather and other impacts. But scientists are still struggling to accurately predict how many climate migrants there will be, and where they are likely to go. A new study seeks to address these questions by incorporating climate impacts into a universal model of human mobility. The model also seeks to predict the effects migrants might have on the places to which they move.

  • Mexico’s World Cup goal causes artificial earthquake back home

    Hundreds of thousands of Mexican soccer fans, jumping in jubilation on Sunday as the Mexican national soccer team defeated the reigning world champion Germany, shook the ground hard enough to set off earthquake detectors. The Mexican seismological agency reported that highly sensitive earthquake sensors registered tremors at two sites in Mexico City, within seven seconds after Hirving (Chucky) Lozano, the speedy left-winger, scored in the 36th minute.

  • How microgrids could boost resilience in New Orleans

    During Hurricane Katrina and other severe storms that have hit New Orleans, power outages, flooding and wind damage combined to cut off people from clean drinking water, food, medical care, shelter, prescriptions and other vital services. Researchers at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories teamed up with the City of New Orleans to analyze ways to increase community resilience and improve the availability of critical lifeline services during and after severe weather.

  • Global warming accelerating rise in sea levels

    A new study discovered that rising sea levels could be accelerated by vulnerable ice shelves in the Antarctic. The study discovered that the process of warmer ocean water destabilizing ice shelves from below is also cracking them apart from above, increasing the chance they’ll break off. “This study is more evidence that the warming effects of climate change are impacting our planet in ways that are often more dangerous than we perhaps had thought,” said one researcher.

  • As bad news stories spread on social media, they become more negative, inaccurate, and hysterical

    News stories about potential threats become more negative, inaccurate, and hysterical when passed from person to person, new research finds. Even drawing the public’s attention to balanced, neutral facts does not calm this hysteria. “The more people share information, the more negative it becomes, the further it gets from the facts, and the more resistant it becomes to correction,” says one researcher.

  • Worry: Hurricanes are slowing down

    Some hurricanes are moving more slowly, spending increased time over land and leading to catastrophic local rainfall and flooding, according to a new study. The speed at which hurricanes track along their paths — their translational speed — plays a role in the damage and devastation they cause. Their movement influences how much rain falls in a given area. This is especially true as global temperatures increase. “The rainfalls associated with the ‘stall’ of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas, area provided a dramatic example of the relationship between regional rainfall amounts and hurricane translation speeds,” says one researcher. “In addition to other factors affecting hurricanes, like intensification and poleward migration, these slowdowns are likely to make future storms more dangerous and costly.”

  • Coastal communities: Record number of high tide flooding days last year

    People living on the coast may see flooded sidewalks and streets more frequently this year due, in part, to El Nino conditions that are predicted to develop later this year, and from long-term sea level rise trends. Increased flooding trend is likely to continue: The projected increase in high tide flooding in 2018 may be as much as 60 percent higher across U.S. coastlines as compared to typical flooding about 20 years ago, according to NOAA scientists.

  • Disaster recovery requires rebuilding people’s livelihoods

    More people across the world are exposed to more natural disasters thanks to ecological degradation and climate change. Massive hurricanes, floods and earthquakes not only wreak substantial damage to ecosystems. Natural disasters often cause tremendous socioeconomic losses to human communities. The short-term losses people suffer when natural disasters strike can turn into long-term poverty if reconstruction policies don’t consider how people are going to make a living.

  • Contiguous U.S. had its warmest May on record

    Last month, the U.S. sizzled with record warmth. The average May temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 65.4 degrees F, 5.2 degrees above average, making it the warmest May in the 124-year record. This surpassed the previous record of 64.7°F set in 1934, during the dust bowl era. Each state was warmer than average, and Eastern U.S. saw record precipitation.

  • Economic models significantly underestimate climate change risks: Experts

    Policymakers are being misinformed by the results of economic models that underestimate the future risks of climate change impacts, according to a new study. The researchers say that “mounting evidence” that the “integrated assessment models” used by economists “largely ignore the potential for ‘tipping points’ beyond which impacts accelerate, become unstoppable, or become irreversible.” As a result “they inadequately account for the potential damages from climate change, especially at moderate to high levels of warming,” due to rises in global mean temperature of more than 2 Celsius degrees.

  • Questions raised about the predictive value of earthquake foreshocks

    No one can predict when or where an earthquake will strike, but in 2011 scientists thought they had evidence that tiny underground tremors called foreshocks could provide important clues. If true, it suggested seismologists could one day warn people of impending temblors. A new study has cast doubt on those earlier findings and on the predictive value of foreshocks, and instead found them to be indistinguishable from ordinary earthquakes.

  • Alien apocalypse: Can any civilization survive climate change?

    In the face of climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss, creating a sustainable version of civilization is one of humanity’s most urgent tasks. But when confronting this immense challenge, we rarely ask what may be the most pressing question of all: How do we know if sustainability is even possible? Astronomers have inventoried a sizable share of the universe’s stars, galaxies, comets, and black holes. But are planets with sustainable civilizations also something the universe contains? Or does every civilization that may have arisen in the cosmos last only a few centuries before it falls to the climate change it triggers?