• Economic damage of carbon emissions costlier than earlier thought

    The data used to calculate the damage that an additional ton of carbon dioxide has on the global economy has long relied on outdated science. Recent updates modeled raise the calculations of those costs significantly and change the outlook on climate change from a positive for agriculture to a negative. When the most recent science is brought to bear, one of the major models used to calculate the social cost of carbon (SCC) moves the figure to $19.70, an increase of 129 percent.

  • Climate change could increase volcanic eruptions

    Shrinking glacier cover could lead to increased volcanic activity in Iceland, scientists have warned. A new study found there was less volcanic activity in Iceland when glacier cover was more extensive. As the glaciers melted, volcanic eruptions increased due to subsequent changes in surface pressure.

  • Risk management strategies to help communities deal with earthquakes

    As much as humanity tries, the attempt to avoid natural disasters sometimes seems almost futile. Be it a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or wildfire, everyone, at some point, will likely be affected by the results of a natural disaster. But the task of the people in each instance of a disaster is to return to a sense of normalcy, to get back to living life as closely to how they had lived before the natural disaster occurred. To do that means dependency on the infrastructure of their community, where the resumption of interrupted electrical power or the water supply is crucial to the recovery efforts. How quickly communities are able to become operational is directly proportional to the strength of the infrastructure in that community and the efficiency of the risk management plan in place designed to deal with such disasters.

  • Climate changes triggered immigration to America in the nineteenth century

    From Trump to Heinz, some of America’s most famous family names and brands trace their origins back to Germans who emigrated to the country in the nineteenth century. Researchers have now found that climate was a major factor in driving migration from Southwest Germany to North America during the nineteenth century.

  • Inaction on climate change has “jeopardized human life”: Report

    A major new report into climate change shows that the human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and that the delayed response to climate change over the past twenty-five years has jeopardized human life and livelihoods. The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible – affecting the health of populations around the world today.

  • Evacuating a nuclear disaster area is often a waste of time and money, says study

    Over 110,000 people were moved from their homes following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011. Another 50,000 left of their own will, and 85,000 had still not returned four-and-a-half years later. While this might seem like an obvious way of keeping people safe, my colleagues and I have just completed research that shows this kind of mass evacuation is unnecessary, and can even do more harm than good. We calculated that the Fukushima evacuation extended the population’s average life expectancy by less than three months. The reality is that, in most cases, the risk from radiation exposure if tpeople stay in their homes is minimal. It is important that the precedents of Chernobyl and Fukushima do not establish mass relocation as the prime policy choice in the future, because this will benefit nobody.

  • Mass casualty training to prepare students for the worst

    Screams were heard as a runaway car plowed through a crowd before the vehicle crashed and the wreckage was engulfed in flames. The chaos was heightened by the sirens from fire trucks and ambulances rushing to the scene. After firefighter cadets from the Houston Fire Department (HFD) subdued the flames, more than 300 students and volunteers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) rushed onto the smoky field, ready to triage and respond to those injured in the accident. Fortunately, the casualties that played out were all part of a well-scripted scenario, staged at the Houston Fire Department’s Val Jahnke Training Facility, and orchestrated weeks in advance.

  • Restoring wireless communications to Puerto Rico and remote, disaster-struck areas

    According to a Federal Communications Commission status report issued last week following a survey of Hurricane Maria damage, nearly 50 percent of Puerto Rico’s cell sites remain out of service, with many counties operating at less than 25 percent of full service. Daniel Bliss, director of the Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures (WISCA) at Arizona State University, offers insights about building a wireless infrastructure with the capacity to provide immediate, ongoing communications access during emergency situations.

  • Identifying sources of coastal resiliency

    As extreme weather events become more commonplace, regions of the world that get hit the hardest are often left scrambling to put the pieces of their homeland back together. ASU’s Sian Mooney, an economist, recently returned from a trip to Cuba, where the economist attended a tri-national workshop on the theme: “Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Caribbean Communities.” The workshop’s participants have been charged with defining and identifying sources of coastal resiliency and then working to implement them in the region over the next few years. 

  • Record high CO2 emissions – after 3-year hiatus

    Global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels have risen again after a three-year hiatus, according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project (GCP). The GCP report reveals that global emissions from all human activities will reach 41 billion tons in 2017, following a projected 2 percent rise in burning fossil fuels.

  • Artificially cooling the planet could have devastating effects

    Geoengineering — the intentional manipulation of the climate to counter the effect of global warming by injecting aerosols artificially into the atmosphere — has been mooted as a potential way to deal with climate change. Proposals to reduce the effects of global warming by imitating volcanic eruptions could have a devastating effect on global regions prone to either tumultuous storms or prolonged drought, new research has shown.

  • U.S. had 3rd warmest and 2nd wettest year to date

    October typically ushers in those crisp, sunny days of fall. But last month was no ordinary October, as warm and wet conditions dampened peak leaf viewing across many parts of the Midwest and New England and fires devastated parts of Northern California and the West.

  • Human-caused warming increasing rate of heat record-breaking around world

    A new study finds human-caused global warming is significantly increasing the rate at which hot temperature records are being broken around the world. Global annual temperature records show there were 17 record hot years from 1861 to 2005. The new study examines whether these temperature records are being broken more often and if so, whether human-caused global warming is to blame.

  • Worst-case scenarios: Why we should welcome warnings

    Nuclear accidents. Sea level rise. Terror threats. The world is full of potential catastrophes, but most of the time, most of us are oblivious to them. Still, at times, experts warn the rest of us about these potential crises. Sometimes those warnings work, but many times they go unheeded. Why do we ignore information we could use to stave off a disaster? Richard Clarke, the former chief counter-terrorism advisor on the National Security Council, says that we should be more receptive to the possibility of dire news, as well as more systematic about analyzing it. In his new book, Warnings, Clarke asserts that specialists in a range of fields can “see the thing buried in the data that other people don’t see. They see it first.”

  • Sandy five years later. What have we learned?

    Five years ago, Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy struck at high tide, driving catastrophic storm surge into coastal New Jersey and New York unlike anything seen before. Thirty-four New Jersey residents lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed, causing over $62 billion in damage. Five years later some areas have recovered. Some have not.