• Identidying U.S. volcanoes which pose the greatest threat

    The United States is one of Earth’s most volcanically active countries. Since 1980, there have been 120 eruptions and 52 episodes of notable volcanic unrest at 44 U.S. volcanoes. The updated USGS Volcanic Threat Assessment finds that 161 U.S. volcanoes pose potential threats to American lives and property, eight fewer than in 2005. The eighteen very highest threat volcanoes are in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Thirty-nine other volcanoes are high threat, 49 are moderate, 34 are low, and 21 are very low threat.

  • Fault displacement “fingerprints” helps forecast magnitude of rupture

    Machine-learning research helps detect seismic signals accurately, allowing them to predict the Cascadia fault’s slow slippage, a type of failure observed to precede large earthquakes in other subduction zones.

  • “Pause” in global warming was never real, new research proves

    Claims of a “pause” in observed global temperature warming are comprehensively disproved in a pair of new studies published this week. An international team of climate researchers reviewed existing data and studies and reanalyzed them. They concluded there has never been a statistically significant “pause” in global warming. This conclusion holds whether considering the “pause” as a change in the rate of warming in observations or as a mismatch in rate between observations and expectations from climate models.

  • Evidence supporting regulation of greenhouse gases stronger than ever: Scientists

    Sixteen prominent climate scientists argue that there is more reason than ever for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, at the same time some politicians are pushing the EPA to reverse its 2009 decision to do so.

  • VitalTag to give vital information in mass casualty incidents

    When mass casualty incidents occur — shootings, earthquakes, multiple car pile ups — first responders can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of victims. When every second counts, monitoring all the victims in a chaotic situation can be difficult. Researchers developed a stick-on sensor that measures and tracks a patient’s vital signs to help first responders quickly triage, treat and transport the injured.

  • Foldable drone flies through narrow passages in rescue missions

    Researchers have developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

  • Midwest at risk: Big-picture look at climate change impact on U.S. agriculture

    A new study shows that Midwest agriculture is increasingly vulnerable to climate change because of the region’s reliance on growing rain-fed crops. The researchers set out to assess the impact extreme weather is having on agricultural productivity in the United States. While previous studies have looked at the vulnerability of individual field crops, which make up one-third of the country’s agricultural output, researchers haven’t addressed the whole scope of agricultural production, including livestock, at the national level.

  • Forecast-based financing for flash floods

    Forecasts are increasingly used to help reduce the impacts of floods in vulnerable communities. Not all floods are created equal, however. Flash floods are one of the most deadly types on a global scale. While early warning and early action systems for slow-onset floods (from rivers, for example) have improved significantly over the past fifty years, efforts to create a comparable system for flash floods has lagged behind. Forecast-based Financing (FbF) is a mechanism that releases early humanitarian funding based on in-depth forecast information and risk analysis.

  • Friendly electromagnetic pulse improves survival for electronics

    An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, emitted by a nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States could disable the electronic circuits of many devices vital to military defense and modern living. These could include complicated weapon systems as well as phones, laptops, credit cards and car computers. Also, in trouble might be home appliances, gas station pumps and bank accounts. Military equipment – and some civilian equipment, too — are designed to be immune to various levels of EMP, and the validity of these designs has been tested and improved by a “friendly” EMP generator installed in a recently renovated facility at Sandia National Laboratories.

  • Houses in hurricane strike zones are built back, but bigger

    A study of hurricane-hit areas of the United States has revealed a trend of larger homes being built to replace smaller ones in the years following a storm. The research shows that the sizes of new homes constructed after a hurricane often dwarf the sizes of those lost.

  • Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record

    Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high, according to a report issued on Thursday by the United Nations weather agency, which reveals that there is no sign of reversal of this trend, responsible for climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather.

  • Carbon emissions from advanced economies to rise in 2018 for first time in five years

    The world’s advanced economies will see an uptick in their carbon dioxide emissions this year, bucking a five year-long decline, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Based on the latest available energy data, energy-related CO2 emissions in North America, the European Union and other advanced economies in Asia Pacific grew, as higher oil and gas use more than offset declining coal consumption. As a result, the IEA expects CO2 emissions in these economies to increase by around 0.5 percent in 2018.

  • World simply “not on track” to slow climate change this year: UN weather agency

    The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years. “It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it,” Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said.

  • National security in the Fourth National Climate Assessment

    NCA4 vol. 2: “Climate change presents added risks to interconnected systems that are already exposed to a range of stressors such as aging and deteriorating infrastructure, land-use changes, and population growth. Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security. The full extent of climate change risks to interconnected systems, many of which span regional and national boundaries, is often greater than the sum of risks to individual sectors.”

  • Urban flooding disrupts local economies, public safety, housing equity

    Flooding caused by an increasing number of intense storms is a national challenge and significant source of economic loss, social disruption and housing inequality across the United States, says a new report. The first to assess the national scope and consequences of urban flooding, the report calls on the administration and Congress to bring together representatives from state, municipal and tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the public to define responsibilities and implement a variety of actions at the local level.