• Rising seasRapidly melting tall ice-cliffs may trigger faster sea-level rise

    Glaciers that drain ice sheets such as Antarctica or Greenland often flow into the ocean, ending in near-vertical cliffs. As the glacier flows into the sea, chunks of the ice break off in calving events. Although much calving occurs when the ocean melts the front of the ice, and ice cliff above falls down, a new study presents another method of calving: slumping. And this process could break off much larger chunks of ice at a quicker rate.

  • FloodsHistoric, widespread flooding to continue through May

    Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk for flooding through May, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states, according to NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook issued today. The majority of the country is favored to experience above-average precipitation this spring, increasing the flood risk.

  • ResilienceMeasuring progress toward resilience more effectively

    A new report from the National Academies of Sciences recommends steps U.S. communities can take to better measure their progress in building resilience to disasters, including measuring resilience around multiple dimensions of a community, and incentivizing the measurement of resilience. The report also recommends that the National Academies’ Gulf Research Program develop a major, coordinated initiative around building or enhancing community resilience across the Gulf of Mexico region.

  • Man-induced earthquakesGeothermal plant caused South Korea’ 2017 tremor

    A rare earthquake in South Korea was triggered by the country’s first experimental geothermal power plant, government officials said Wednesday. The southeastern port city of Pohang was rattled by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake in November 2017— the second-most powerful tremor ever in the normally seismically stable South.

  • Rising seasMitigating impact of rising seas, storms along California’s coast

    New coastal modeling research presents state, federal, and commercial entities with varying storm and sea level-rise scenarios to assist with planning for future infrastructure and mitigation needs along the California coast.

  • Water securityDroughts caused permanent loss to major California groundwater source

    California’s Central Valley aquifer, the major source of groundwater in the region, suffered permanent loss of capacity during the drought experienced in the area from 2012 to 2015.

  • Seismic early warningA new way to sense earthquakes could improve early warning systems

    Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell the difference between life and death. Researchers demonstrate a new earthquake detection method — their technique exploits subtle telltale gravitational signals traveling ahead of the tremors. Future research could boost early warning systems.

  • Climate threatsPotential impacts of future heat waves on humans and wildlife

    Climate change is often talked about in terms of averages — like the goal set by the Paris Agreement to limit the Earth’s temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. What such numbers fail to convey is that climate change will not only increase the world’s average temperature, it will also intensify extreme heat waves that even now are harming people and wildlife.

  • Climate threatsFeeling the heat: Recognizing the risks of extreme weather

    Heat waves are more dangerous than tornadoes, statistically. They kill more people than sharks, and put more human lives at risk than blizzards, floods or lightning storms. But they lack a certain dramatic flair, making it surprisingly difficult for many people to grasp and evaluate the real danger lurking behind their devastating effects. Recognizing those risks could be a matter of life or death – especially as a changing climate is making dangerous extreme heat events more and more likely every year in the United States.

  • DisastersDealing with disaster

    By Peter Reuell

    It took less than 90 minutes before students in Miaki Ishii’s first-year seminar started to talk openly about revolt. The unrest, however, wasn’t due to any political issue currently making headlines, but to a small room in Harvard’s Geological Museum and a handful of their classmates. The students took part in a role-playing game that saw them acting as citizens of the island of Montserrat, the tiny country’s government, and a group of scientists monitoring the island’s volcano. Why revolt? Because the students soon grew skeptical of the government’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to pressing environmental concerns.

  • Climate threatsClimate tool points to end of winter by 2050

    Researchers have designed a tool which takes existing data and communicates the impacts of climate change in a way that people can engage with and better understand. The resulting new climate tool visualizes data which shows by 2050, Australians will no longer enjoy winter as they know it today and will experience a new season the designers are calling “New Summer.”

  • Disaster planningForecasters use Iron Dome science to handle disasters

    By Abigail Klein Leichman

    Typhoons, floods, droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires — the frequency and intensity of natural disasters across the globe are worsening, and these deadly events could continue plaguing the planet as a result of climate change. Iron Dome tech firm uses rocket science to enable utilities to plan for and manage effects of wildfires, storms, hurricanes and earthquakes.

  • WildfiresWildfire risk in California no longer linked to winter precipitation

    From 1600 to 1903, the position of the North Pacific jet stream over California was linked to the amount of winter precipitation and the severity of the subsequent wildfire season, the team found. Wet winters brought by the jet stream were followed by low wildfire activity, and dry winters were generally followed by higher wildfire activity. Wet winters no longer predict possible relief from severe wildfires for California, according to a new study.

  • EarthquakesFast, simple new method for assessing earthquake hazard

    Geophysicists have created a new method for determining earthquake hazards by measuring how fast energy is building up on faults in a specific region, and then comparing that to how much is being released through fault creep and earthquakes.

  • Planetary securityAsteroids are harder to destroy than previously thought

    A popular theme in the movies is that of an incoming asteroid that could extinguish life on the planet, and our heroes are launched into space to blow it up. But incoming asteroids may be harder to break than scientists previously thought, finds a new study that used a new understanding of rock fracture and a new computer modeling method to simulate asteroid collisions.