• Climate change to drive stronger, smaller storms in U.S.

    The effects of climate change will likely cause smaller but stronger storms in the United States, according to a new framework for modeling storm behavior. Though storm intensity is expected to increase over today’s levels, the predicted reduction in storm size may alleviate some fears of widespread severe flooding in the future. The new approach uses new statistical methods to identify and track storm features in both observational weather data and new high-resolution climate modeling simulations.

  • Improve trace detection of explosives by sniffing like a dog

    By mimicking how dogs get their whiffs, a team of government and university researchers have demonstrated that “active sniffing” can improve by more than ten times the performance of current technologies that rely on continuous suction to detect trace amounts of explosives and other contraband.

  • Is climate change responsible for increasing tornado outbreaks?

    Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were $8.5 billion. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. New research shows that the average number of tornadoes during outbreaks—large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions—has risen since 1954. But the researchers were not sure why.

  • NSF awards $61 million to enhance understanding of STEM education, workforce development

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $61 million in new awards in order to continue to achieve nationwide excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. The awards focus on projects that help the educational community understand, explain, and address challenges in STEM learning and participation.

  • Abbott vows to cut funding for "sanctuary campus" schools

    Rebuking a growing movement aimed at protecting undocumented students under incoming President Donald Trump, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed Thursday to cut funding for any Texas school that declares itself a “sanctuary campus.” The definition of a “sanctuary campus” is murky, but Abbott  made it clear they are not welcome in Texas.

  • Better way for coastal communities to prepare for devastating storms

    As of 2010, approximately 52 percent of the United States’ population lived in vulnerable coastal watershed counties, and that number is expected to grow. Globally, almost half of the world’s population lives along or near coastal areas. Coastal communities’ ability to plan for, absorb, recover, and adapt from destructive hurricanes is becoming more urgent.

  • Record-breaking hot days ahead

    If society continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, Americans later this century will have to endure, on average, about fifteen daily maximum temperature records for every time that the mercury notches a record low, new research indicates. That ratio of record highs to record lows could also turn out to be much higher if the pace of emissions increases and produces even more warming.

  • Satellite confirmation: San Francisco's Millennium Tower is sinking

    The Sentinel-1 satellites have shown that the Millennium Tower skyscraper in the center of San Francisco is sinking by a few centimeters a year. Studying the city is helping scientists to improve the monitoring of urban ground movements, particularly for subsidence hotspots in Europe. Completed in 2009, the 58-storey Millennium Tower has recently been showing signs of sinking and tilting. Although the cause has not been pinpointed, it is believed that the movements are connected to the supporting piles not firmly resting on bedrock.

  • Mood ring materials offer a new way to detect damage in failing infrastructure

    The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that more than $3.6 trillion in investment is needed by 2020 to rehabilitate and modernize the nation’s failing infrastructure. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to establish a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement program when he takes office. An important element in any modernization effort will be the development of new and improved methods for detecting damage in these structures before it becomes critical. This is where “mood ring materials’ comes in. “Mood ring materials” could play an important role in minimizing and mitigating damage to the U.S. failing infrastructure.

  • Hurricane risk to Northeast U.S. coast increasing

    New research suggests the Northeastern coast of the United States could be struck by more frequent and more powerful hurricanes in the future due to shifting weather patterns caused by manmade industrial emissions. The researchers found that hurricanes have gradually moved north from the western Caribbean towards North America over the past several hundred years.

  • At forum, MIT community tackles tough ethical questions of climate change

    An MIT panel discussed The ethical challenges presented by climate change and the question of what individuals — and academic institutions like MIT — can do to affect change. “Science has performed its role adequately,” said Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, “[but] it cannot tell us what our obligations are to future generations. Determining how to respond to climate change is a question for all of us.”

  • Location matters: Sandy’s tides hit some parts of the N.J. coast harder than others

    USGS researchers ground-truthed Hurricane Sandy’s October 2012 storm tides in New Jersey and found northern coastal communities had significantly higher storm tides than southern ones did, though flood damage was widespread in both areas. The findings suggest that some southern New Jersey communities may be underestimating their future flood risks.

  • Fortifying advanced manufacturing, save $100 billion annually by closing tech gaps

    To spur significant innovation and growth in advanced manufacturing, as well as save over $100 billion annually, U.S. industry must rectify currently unmet needs for measurement science and “proof-of-concept” demonstrations of emerging technologies. This is the overall conclusion reached by economic studies of four advanced manufacturing areas used to create everything from automobile composites to zero-noise headsets.

  • Water resources for developing countries

    Water experts believe by 2050 almost half of the world’s population will live in countries with a chronic water shortage. The shortfall is the result of population growth, which leads to a greater demand for food, increased pollution, and climate instability. At the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU)’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, eighty scientists and 250 graduate students are working on ways to tackle the problem using cutting-edge science in partnership with academics around the world.

  • Climate, not conflict, explains extreme “Middle East Dust Bowl”

    Climate change, not ongoing regional conflict, was the cause of a severe dust storm that enveloped much of the Middle East and the Mediterranean last September, according to new research. The storm, labeled by some media outlets as the “Middle-Eastern Dust Bowl,” affected Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Cyprus, leading to scores of people being hospitalized, ports being closed, flights being cancelled, and large portions of the affected countries and eastern Mediterranean Sea being covered in an unprecedented haze.