• Earthquake resilienceEarthquake-resilient pipeline could allow Los Angeles’s water utility system withstand tremors

    Los Angeles’s water utility system – the nation’s largest — crosses over thirty fault lines en route to supplying water to more than four million residents. A top engineer from the city of Los Angeles visited Cornell University this month as researchers tested a new earthquake-resilient pipeline designed better to protect southern California’s water utility network from natural disasters. The steel pipe uses a unique structural wave design to control buckling, allowing the pipe to bend and compress without rupturing or losing water pressure.

  • FloodsFlood-related losses in Germany to increase under climate change

    Flood-related losses can be expected to increase considerably in Germany as a result of climate change, a new study shows. Extreme events like the severe floods along the river Elbe have already illustrated the potentially devastating consequences of certain weather conditions such as severe rainfall events, when continuing intense rain can no longer be absorbed by the soil and water levels in the rivers rise. Without appropriate adaptation, flood-related damage of currently about €500 million a year could multiply in the future, according to the comprehensive expert analysis.

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  • Coastal threatsNew research predicts a doubling of coastal erosion by mid-century in Hawai’i

    Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai’i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. Researchers have long understood that global sea level rise will affect the rate of coastal erosion. Newresearch team developed a simple model to assess future erosion hazards under higher sea levels.

  • Water securityCape Cod susceptible to potential effects of sea-level rise

    Cape Cod is vulnerable to rising water tables and, in some areas, groundwater inundation as a result of rising sea levels, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study (USGS). Groundwater inundation occurs when the water table reaches or exceeds land surface. The challenges associated with the issue are likely to become more prevalent as seas rise. Depending on the severity, it may make areas unsuitable for residential and commercial development.

  • Grid securityIncreasing power grid cybersecurity

    Cybersecurity experts are leading a new program to develop new data analysis methods better to protect the nation’s power grid. The goal of this project is to develop technologies and methodologies to protect the grid from advanced cyber and threats by developing the means to distinguish between power grid failures caused by cyber attacks and failures caused by other means, including natural disasters, “normal” equipment failures, and even physical attacks.

  • Earthquake-proofing buildingsCoconut shells inspire design ideas for earth-quake proof buildings

    Coconuts are renowned for their hard shells, which are vital to ensure their seeds successfully germinate. Coconut palms can grow 30-meter high, meaning that when the ripe fruits fall to the ground their walls have to withstand the impact to stop them from splitting open. The specialized structure of coconut walls could help to design buildings that can withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters.

  • ResilienceLessons learned from the U.S.-Canada cross-border experiment

    A tornado has just devastated a community on the border between the United States and Canada. Paramedics scramble to bring patients from over-crowded hospitals across the border. Communication blackouts and downed trees force ambulances to weave their way through blowing debris, fallen electrical lines, and car wrecks. The time for a routine trip from the injury site to the hospital has now tripled. While this did not really happen, it was the focus in April when the DHS S&T and several Canadian government agencies collaborated on a cross-border experiment with a focus on preparing emergency responders for this type of scenario.

  • ResilienceColorado county adopts NIST community resilience guidelines

    The Boulder County Collaborative, a partnership of Boulder County, Colorado, communities formed in response to the catastrophic floods that struck the region in September 2013, has used the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems to develop and adopt its own resilience design performance standard for community facilities and infrastructure systems.

  • FloodsWaterworld: Learning to live with flooding

    Flash floods, burst riverbanks, overflowing drains, contaminants leaching into waterways: some of the disruptive, damaging, and hazardous consequences of having too much rain. But can cities be designed and adapted to live more flexibly with water – to treat it as friend rather than foe?

  • CybersecurityCyber Guard 2016 aims to manage complexity in invisible domain

    Between one million and ten million U.S. homes and businesses are without power. An oil spill from a near-shore refinery is gushing into the waters off Texas and Louisiana. The port of Los Angeles is shut down due to a network outage. Visitors to exercise Cyber Guard 2016 here viewed mock newscasts detailing these scenarios as examples of the likely effects of a massive cyberattack.

  • Coastal resilienceThe contribution of human dynamics to coastal communities’ resilience

    The National Academies of Sciences has established a $10 million grants program to fund projects that enhance the science and practice of coastal community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region. Rather than focus on infrastructure needs or the built environment, as many existing resilience-focused programs do, the new grants program will support the study of the human dynamics that influence a community’s ability to respond to adverse events.

  • Cyber terrorismTerrorists gaining cyber capability to bring major cities to a standstill: U.K. intelligence chief

    Robert Hannigan, the director of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the U.S. NSA, has warned that terrorists and rogue states are gaining the technical capability to bring a major city to a standstill with the click of a button. He said that the risk to cities like London would significantly increase as more physical objects – cars, household appliances — are connected online in what is called the Internet of Things.

  • Coastal resilienceDanger from extreme storms, high seas on the rise

    Storms that battered Australia’s east coast are a harbinger of things to come and a stark reminder of the need for a national effort to monitor the growing threat from climate change, researchers warn. “The damage we’ve seen is a harbinger of what’s to come,” said one expert. “Climate change is not only raising the oceans and threatening foreshores, but making our coastlines much more vulnerable to storm damage. What are king high tides today will be the norm within decades.”

  • ResilienceCities can prepare for hurricane season by reforming shortsighted and outdated laws

    By John Travis Marshall

    In the past decade major storms have devastated U.S. coastal cities from Galveston to Atlantic City and New York. They also have ravaged inland capitals, including Baton Rouge, Richmond, and Montpelier. Ensuring that our cities have the legal infrastructure in place to build safer, more efficient, and more equitable neighborhoods and communities after storms is just as important as preparing homes and businesses to ride out those storms.

  • GridAlgorithm to help detect, reduce power grid faults

    The power grid is aging, overburdened and seeing more faults than ever, according to many. Any of those breaks could easily lead to prolonged power outages or even equipment damage. Researchers have proved that the Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA) algorithm may be the best tool to help authorities remotely detect and locate power grid faults.