• Climate threatsAustralia: Grim Story of Heat, Drought and Fire

    Record hot weather, drought and a devastating bushfire season in 2019 damaged our environment and natural resources on an unprecedented scale, according to the annual Australia’s Environment Report. “Last year was just another step down on the continuing descent into an ever more dismal future - unless we finally take serious action,” said the lead author of the report.

  • Disaster planningOnline Economic Decision Tool to Help Communities Plan for Disaster

    Preparing a community’s buildings and infrastructure for a hurricane or earthquake can be an incredibly complicated and costly endeavor. A new online tool from NIST could streamline this process and help decision makers invest in cost-effective measures to improve their community’s ability to mitigate, adapt to and recover from hazardous events.

  • Geoelectric hazardsGeoelectric Hazards to High-Voltage Power Grid

    Geomagnetic storms are caused by the dynamic action of the Sun and solar wind on the space environment surrounding the Earth. Magnetic disturbance during such a storm generates electric fields in the Earth’s crust and mantle. These electric fields can interfere with the operation of grounded electric power-grid systems. A new report analyzes geoelectric hazards for two-thirds of the contiguous U.S., spanning from the northeast to the west coast of the United States.

  • Food securityImpact of a Second Dust Bowl Would Be Felt Worldwide

    The American Dust Bowl of the 1930s - captured by the novels of John Steinbeck - was an environmental and socio-economic disaster that worsened the Great Depression. The Dust Bowl was an extreme event. But due to climate change, massive crop failures are more likely to happen again in the future. A catastrophic shock to U.S. agriculture would deplete reserves, including those of other countries.

  • WildfiresAustralia’s Bushfires “Made 30% More Likely by Climate Change”

    The World Weather Attribution (WWA) initiative has released the first analysis of the role climate change played in the 2019-2020 bushfire season in South-Eastern Australia, which showed that the risk of intense fire weather has increased by 30 percent since 1900 as a result of anthropogenic climate change.

  • Climate crisisWe Climate Scientists Won’t Know Exactly How the Crisis Will Unfold Until it’s Too Late

    By Wolfgang Knorr and Will Steffen

    When we hold on to things for too long, change can come about abruptly and even catastrophically. While this will ring true for many from personal experience, similar things can happen at large scales as well. Indeed, the history of Earth’s climate and ecosystems is punctuated by frequent large-scale disruptive events.

  • Climate challengesMore Accurate Climate Change Model Reveals Bleaker Outlook on Electricity, Water Use

    By 2030, global warming alone could push Chicago to generate 12 percent more electricity per person each month of the summer. If the city generated any less electricity, it would be risking a power shortage that may require drastic measures to avoid rolling blackouts, according to projections from a model designed by Purdue University researchers.

  • FloodingNew Flooding Prediction Tool

    By incorporating the architecture of city drainage systems and readings from flood gauges into a comprehensive statistical framework, researchers can now accurately predict the evolution of floods in extreme situations like hurricanes. With their new approach, the researchers said their algorithm could forecast the flow of floodwater in almost real-time, which can then lead to more timely emergency response and planning.

  • ResilienceBuilding a Flood Resilient Future

    By Tom Almeroth-Williams

    Seven of the United Kingdom’s ten wettest years on record have occurred since 1998. Its wettest winter in history came in 2013, and the next wettest in 2015. In a single week in November 2019, 400 homes were flooded and 1,200 properties evacuated in northern England. The frequency and severity of these events is expected to increase as a result of climate change, meaning that many more communities will suffer their devastating effects. A new book shows how we can adapt the built and natural environment to be more flood resilient in the face of climate change.

  • Climate & businessExtreme Weather Events Could Bring Next Recession

    Physical climate risk from extreme weather events remains unaccounted for in financial markets. Without better knowledge of the risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event won’t trigger a sudden correction, according to new research. Experts say that the market needs to plan for weather risk, or face extreme correction.

  • Climate mitigationA Dam Across the North Sea to Protect Europeans from Sea-Level Rise

    Engineers say that a 475-km-long dam between the north of Scotland and the west of Norway. and another one of 160 km between the west point of France and the southwest of England, could protect more than 25 million Europeans against the consequences of an expected sea level rise.

  • Climate & securityClimate Change Poses “High-to-Catastrophic” Security Threats to U.S. Security: Experts

    A comprehensive report finds that plausible climate change trajectories pose “High-to-Catastrophic” threats to U.S. national security. An expert panel analyzed the globe through the lens of the U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands, and concluded that “Even at scenarios of low warming, each region of the world will face severe risks to national and global security in the next three decades. Higher levels of warming will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the twenty-first century.”

  • Floods“Natural” Flood Management Would Be Overwhelmed by Britain’s Winter Super-Floods

    By Robert Wilby and Simon Dadson

    As large swathes of the U.K. endure the worst floods in living memory, hearts and minds are rightly focused on protecting people and property. Once the floods recede, there will doubtless be a period of reflection on what could have been done better. It may be tempting to point the finger of blame or to promote a particular solution. But the hard truth is that there is no silver bullet for “preventing” floods.

  • Flood buyoutsFlood Buyouts Benefit the Whitest At-Risk Neighborhoods

    The federal flood buyout program disproportionally benefits at-risk homes in the whitest communities of America’s largest cities, according to a new study. The study provides the first nationwide, peer-reviewed analysis of racial inequalities in the implementation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood buyout program. The researchers examined data in 500 municipalities across the U.S. between 1990 and 2015.

  • Planetary securityHow to Deflect an Asteroid

    By Jennifer Chu

    MIT researchers have devised a framework for deciding which type of mission would be most successful in deflecting an incoming asteroid. Their decision method takes into account an asteroid’s mass and momentum, its proximity to a gravitational keyhole, and the amount of warning time that scientists have of an impending collision — all of which have degrees of uncertainty, which the researchers also factor in to identify the most successful mission for a given asteroid.