• CybersecurityHigher education joint cyber security operations center launches

    Indiana University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have announced the launch and activation of OmniSOC, a specialized, sector-based cyber security operations center, or SOC, that provides trusted, rapid, actionable cyber intelligence to its members. OmniSOC protects five universities, hundreds of thousands of devices and tens of thousands of students and faculty from cyber threats.

  • Water securityThe effects of climate change on California watersheds

    California relies on the Sierra Nevada snowpack for a significant portion of its water needs, yet scientists understand very little about how future changes in snowpack volume and timing will influence surface water and groundwater. Now researchers are developing an advanced hydrologic model to study how climate change might affect California watersheds.

  • Nuclear safetyPipe-crawling robot to help decommission DOE nuclear facility

    A pair of autonomous robots developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute will soon be driving through miles of pipes at the U.S. Department of Energy’s former uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio, to identify uranium deposits on pipe walls. The CMU robot has demonstrated it can measure radiation levels more accurately from inside the pipe than is possible with external techniques.

  • Extreme weatherClimate change to fuel more extreme heat waves in western U.S. by 2020

    Human-caused climate change will drive more extreme summer heat waves in the western United States, including in California and the Southwest as early as 2020, new research shows. Understanding the driving forces behind the projected increase in occurrence and severity of heat waves is crucial for public health security and necessary for communities to develop extreme heat mitigation strategies, said the authors.

  • Fuel spillsLiving sensor may prevent environmental disasters from fuel spills

    The Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel from Texas to New York, ruptured last fall, dumping a quarter-million gallons of gas in rural Alabama. By the time the leak was detected during routine inspection, vapors from released gasoline were so strong they prevented pipeline repair for days. Now, scientists are developing technology that would alert pipeline managers about leaks as soon as failure begins, avoiding the environmental disasters and fuel distribution disruptions resulting from pipeline leaks.

  • HurricanesPreventing hurricanes using air bubbles

    In recent years we have witnessed intense tropical storms that have taken many thousands of lives and caused massive destruction. For example, in 2005, hurricane Katrina killed more than 2,000 people and caused damage estimated to be in the billions of dollars. In 2016, hurricane Matthew swept across Haiti, taking 852 lives and destroying many towns on the island. Many people have tried to find ways of preventing hurricanes before they make landfall. Norwegian researchers believe that the answer lies in cold bubbles.

  • Climate migrationClimate change could force over 140 million to migrate within countries by 2050

    The worsening impacts of climate change in three densely populated regions of the world could see over 140 million people move within their countries’ borders by 2050, creating a looming human crisis and threatening the development process, a new World Bank Group report finds.

  • Climate migrationAddressing climate migration within borders helps countries plan, mitigate effects

    By Alex de Sherbinin

    Migration in response to climate change is a big topic in the media. But the focus is all too often on either international cross-boundary movements or short-term population displacement from major floods or droughts. While these forms of population movement are important, they are by no means the whole story. A new report is the first to focus on longer-term climate impacts on crop and water resources and the ways in which they may influence internal migration.

  • Designer pathogensAssessing the risks, benefits of horsepox synthesis

    Truly assessing the risks and benefits of the recent horsepox synthesis is not an easy task. Two of the latest articles analyzing the implications of this research have been released in mSphere. They point to the increased attention on DURC [dual use research of concern] and the debate surrounding the benefits of a new vaccine versus the potential for a nefarious actor to misuse the process.

  • Water securityL.A. could achieve independence from imported water

    During the height of the California drought that began in late 2011, Los Angeles imported 89 percent of its water from more than 200 miles away — an energy-intensive process. After a yearlong reprieve, Southern California is again under severe water scarcity conditions: Only 2 1/2 inches of rain have fallen in Los Angeles during the past twelve months. This time around, could Los Angeles shift its dependence from imported water to local water? A new report says the city could, eventually — if it does a better job of capturing local stormwater, increases the use of recycled water, cleans up groundwater and steps up conservation measures.

  • Water securitySouth Africa can avoid a national water crisis

    Even if South Africa uses less water and applies all of government’s existing plans, the country will still face a water crisis in the next twenty years. Solutions are within reach – but turning things around will take significant financial investment and political will. A new study sets out aggressive measures to offset guaranteed water shortages in the future.

  • Extreme weatherWarm Arctic means colder, snowier winters in Northeastern U.S.

    Scientists have linked the frequency of extreme winter weather in the United States to Arctic temperatures. “Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it’s cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer,” one scientist explains.

  • Climate risksSeveral ways limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C

    There are several ways to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2100, new research says. The study is the first to look at how socioeconomic conditions such as inequalities, energy demand, and international cooperation might affect the feasibility of achieving these goals, and also considers technological and resource assumptions.

  • DetectionExpanding real-time radiological threat detection to include other dangers

    Advanced commercially available technologies—such as additive manufacturing (3-D printing), small-scale chemical reactors for pharmaceuticals, and CRISPR gene-manipulation tools—have opened wide access to scientific exploration and discovery. In the hands of terrorists and rogue nation states, however, these capabilities could be misused to concoct chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in small quantities and in form factors that are hard to detect. DARPA’s SIGMA+ program aims to create additional sensors and networks to detect biological, chemical, and explosives threats.

  • DetectionDTRA awards British university $1.1 million for improved radiation detectors

    The University of Surrey has been awarded $1.1 million by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to research new types of nanomaterials that produce high efficiency radiation detectors for use in nuclear security. The project will develop materials that are used as highly sensitive radiation detectors.