• Greenland melting breaks record four weeks early – with two weeks more to go

    Melting over the Greenland ice sheet shattered the seasonal record on 8 August — a full four weeks before the close of the melting season; with more melting yet to come in August, this year’s overall melting will fall way above the old records; researchers devise a “cumulative melting index,” which measures the type of melting which adds to the runoff of melt-water that makes sea levels rise

  • New earthquake assessment finds increased risk for Washington Dams

    Central Washington state has always been considered low risk for earthquakes back when big hydropower dams went up on the Columbia River many decades ago; a recently completed seismic hazard assessment, however, shows that there is a much greater earthquake potential for the area than previously thought; now, dam owners have to figure out whether their dams can hold up to an earthquake; if retrofits are needed, they could cost hundreds of millions of dollars

  • New system could predict solar flares, give advance warning to help protect power grids

    Researchers may have discovered a new method to predict solar flares more than a day before they occur, providing advance warning to help protect satellites, power grids, and astronauts from potentially dangerous radiation

  • Close to 1,000 earthquakes shook Arizona in 3-year period: study

    Historically, most of Arizona has experienced low levels of recorded seismicity, with infrequent moderate and large earthquakes in the state; comprehensive analyses of seismicity within Arizona have not been previously possible due to a lack of seismic stations in most regions, contributing to the perception that widespread earthquakes in Arizona are rare; a new study debunks this myth

  • Health consequences of the Fukushima disaster

    The results of two studies in the 15 August issue of JAMA report on the psychological status of workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan several months after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and the amount of internal radiation exposure among residents of a city north of the power plant that experienced a meltdown

  • Hurricanes which pass over fresh water can be stronger

    About 60 percent of the world’s population resides in areas that are prone to hurricanes or cyclones; researchers find that if a hurricane’s path carries it over large areas of fresh water, it will potentially intensify 50 percent faster than those that do not pass over such regions, meaning it has greater potential to become a stronger storm and be more devastating

  • Earthquake risks in Europe

    How strong can earthquakes in Germany be? Where in Europe are the earthquake activities concentrated? These questions are the basis for risk assessments and become relevant when it comes to the safety of buildings or the generation of tsunami; a new Earthquake Catalogue for Europe and the Mediterranean, which offers details of 45,000 earthquakes during the last millennium, suggests answers to these questions

  • Climatic impacts of megapolitan expansion

    Arizona’s Sun Corridor is the most rapidly-growing megapolitan area in the United States. Nestled in a semi-arid environment, it is composed of four metropolitan areas: Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, and Nogales. With a population projection expected to exceed 9 million people by 2040; a first study of its kind, attempting to quantify the impact of rapidly expanding megapolitan areas on regional climate, showed that local maximum summertime warming resulting from projected expansion of the urban Sun Corridor could approach 4 degrees Celsius

  • Wastewater key to addressing growing global water shortage

    Parched cities and regions across the globe are using sewage effluent and other wastewater in creative ways to augment drinking water, but four billion people still do not have adequate supplies, and that number will rise in coming decades

  • Water sustainability flows through complex human-nature interactions

    The fate of water in China mirrors problems across the world: water is fouled, pushed far from its natural origins, squandered, and exploited; China’s crisis is daunting, though not unique: two-thirds of China’s 669 cities have water shortages, more than 40 percent of its rivers are severely polluted, 80 percent of its lakes suffer from eutrophication — an over abundance of nutrients — and about 300 million rural residents lack access to safe drinking water

  • World facing increasingly challenging water situation

    New measure developed for sustainability of global groundwater water supply points to overuse of water in Asia and North America; approximately 1.7 billion people, most residing in Asia, live in areas where groundwater resources or groundwater-dependent ecosystems are under threat


  • July flooding in China causes $8.3 billion of economic losses

    Insurance industry faces agriculture losses from China to the United States in July 2012: flooding caused more than $8.3 billion in economic losses across China during July, while the worst drought in decades worsened across much of the United States; severe weather also prompted widespread damage in parts of the United States and Europe

  • Improved disaster resilience is imperative for U.S: report

    A new report from the National Academies says that it is essential for the United States to bolster resilience to natural and human-caused disasters, and that this will require complementary federal policies and locally driven actions that center on a national vision – a culture of resilience; improving resilience should be seen as a long-term process, but it can be coordinated around measurable short-term goals that will allow communities better to prepare and plan for, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse events

  • Extreme summer heat events, global warming linked: research

    Since the late 1980s researches have been asserting that global warming would reach a point in the coming decades when its connection to extreme events would become more apparent; while some warming should coincide with a noticeable boost in extreme events, the natural variability in climate and weather can be so large as to disguise the trend; to distinguish the trend from natural variability, NASA researchers turned to statistics; the researchers did not focus on the causes of temperature change, analyzing instead surface temperature data

  • Study finds correlation between injection wells and small earthquakes

    Most earthquakes in the Barnett Shale region of North Texas occur within a few miles of one or more injection wells used to dispose of wastes associated with petroleum production such as hydraulic fracturing fluids, according to new research