• Space debrisMonitoring Space Debris

    Swirling fragments of past space endeavors are trapped in orbit around Earth, threatening our future in space. Over time, the number, mass and area of these debris objects grows steadily, boosting the risk to functioning satellites. ESA’s Space Debris Office constantly monitors this ever-evolving debris situation, and every year publishes a report on the current state of the debris environment.

  • InfrastructureClimate Change Undermines Safety of Europe’s Buildings, Infrastructure

    Buildings and infrastructure also need to adapt to the changing climate. Updating structural design standards is crucial to improving European climate resilience and ensuring the safety of constructions, that are expected to suffer from changes in atmospheric variables and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. The higher temperatures expected over the next 50 years in Europe will accelerate corrosion of buildings, and will expose infrastructure to higher stresses, thus undermining the safety of constructions.

  • TsunamisThe Accuracy of Tsunami Predictions

    Residents of coastal towns in Chile remember the catastrophic earthquakes that struck their country in 1960 and 2010, not always for the quakes themselves but for the tsunamis that followed. New study validates accuracy in predicting the first wave, but weakness in forecasting ‘trailing’ waves.

  • Water securityHydrology Data Tool Helps Manage Water Resources, Protect Infrastructure

    River systems are essential resources for everything from drinking water supply to power generation – but these systems are also hydrologically complex, and it is not always clear how water flow data from various monitoring points relates to any specific piece of infrastructure. A new tool that draws from multiple databases to give water resource managers and infrastructure users the information they need to make informed decisions about water use on river networks.

  • Mini reactorsMini Nuclear Reactor to Solve the E-Truck Recharging Dilemma

    Electric semitrucks sound like a great idea, leading to cleaner, carbon-free skies. But the largest cross-country 18-wheel truck needs five to 10 times more electricity than an electric car to recharge its battery. And these trucks often need to recharge far from high-power transmission lines. Where will that electricity come from? Engineers will tell you the answer is clear — microreactors.

  • CybersecurityFinding the Origins of a Hacker

    Industrial control systems run utilities that provide the electricity to keep the lights on or that deliver the water that people expect to gush out when they turn on a tap. Today those systems can be attacked via malicious code that an adversary inserts into the normal operating instructions.

  • Energy securityTwo's a crowd: Nuclear and Renewables Don't Mix

    If countries want to lower emissions as substantially, rapidly and cost-effectively as possible, they should prioritize support for renewables, rather than nuclear power. That’s the finding of new analysis of 123 countries over 25 years.

  • Earthquake damageCurbing Earthquakes-Induced Economic Losses to Power Plants

    Researchers have shown that during high seismic activity, the structural integrity of bushing systems can be better maintained by reinforcing their bases with steel stiffeners. Also, by using probability-based loss assessment studies, they found that the economic burden due to damage to bushing systems from earthquakes is up to 10 times lower for steel-reinforced transformer bushing systems compared to other bushing configurations.

  • FloodsAs Atmospheric Carbon Rises, So Do Rivers, Exacerbating Flooding

    When it comes to climate change, relationships are everything. That’s a key takeaway of a new study that examines the interaction between plants, atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising water levels in the Mississippi River.

  • Water securityProjecting the Future Trade of Virtual Water

     Crops require water to grow. By importing water-intensive crops, countries essentially bring in a natural resource in the form of virtual water. Agricultural virtual water is the amount of water needed to grow a particular crop in a given region.

  • FloodsNew Woodlands Can Help Reduce Flooding Risk within 15 Years

    The planting of woodlands in upland areas could play a significant role in preventing the flash flooding which has increasingly affected communities across the world in recent years.

  • Energy securityEnergy security The Promise of California Offshore Wind Energy

    As California aims to provide 60 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, a Cal Poly study provides some good news: Offshore winds along the Central Coast increase at the same time that people start using more energy — in the evening.

  • InfrastructureMarine Sponges Inspire Next Generation Skyscrapers, Bridges

    When we think about sponges, we tend to think of something soft and squishy. But researchers are using the glassy skeletons of marine sponges as inspiration for the next generation of stronger and taller buildings, longer bridges, and lighter spacecraft.

  • ResilienceNetwork Resilience is Key to Surviving Compound Hazard Events

    As weather extremes such as Superstorm Sandy, which swamped New York City’s subway system in 2012, increase in frequency and intensity and as cybercriminals ramp up attacks on technologies that tie together urban infrastructure systems, networks critical to the flow of data, people, goods, and services must be made more resilient to failure

  • Climate migrationHow Many People Will Migrate Due to Rising Sea Levels? Our Best Guesses Aren’t Good Enough

    By Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, Celia McMichael, Ilan Kelman, and Shouro Dasgupta

    The idea that rising seas will force millions to move, unleashing a refugee crisis like no other, has now become commonplace. It’s a narrative that the media are fond of, but that does not mean it is based on evidence. The potential scale of sea level rise is becoming clearer, but this does not necessarily translate into population movements. Everything we have learned so far suggests that decisions to migrate are far more complex than a simple flight response.