• Current climate change models understate the problem

    A new study on the relationship between people and the planet shows that climate change is only one of many inter-related threats to the Earth’s capacity to support human life. An international team of distinguished scientists, including five members of the National Academies, argues that there are critical components missing from current climate models that inform environmental, climate, and economic policies.

  • Broader updrafts in severe storms may increase likelihood of damaging hail

    Hailstorms in the United States account for more than $1 billion in damage annually, wreaking havoc on homes, businesses, automobiles, aircraft and agriculture. Recently, these damage totals have increased as people move into hail-prone regions. On 12 April 2016, a supercell storm devastated the San Antonio metropolitan area with large hail, producing approximately $1.36 billion in damage.

  • Extreme fires will increasingly be part of our global landscape

    Wildfire burned more than 10 million acres in the United States in 2015, and cost over $2 billion to suppress. There were 23 million landscape fires around the world between 2002 and 2013, and researchers define 478 of them as extreme wildfire events. Increasingly dangerous fire weather is forecast as the global footprint of extreme fires expands.

  • Disaster Survival Skills launches new disaster preparedness calculator

    Seismologists have warned for years about the danger of a so-called “megaquake” devastating the Pacific Northwest upon the rupture of the region’s Cascadian Subduction Zone. Disaster Survival Skills launched its brand-new online Family disaster preparedness calculator. After in-putting a few simple pieces of information, Disaster Survival Skills site visitors will receive a customized list of disaster supplies and advice that can be used to prepare for earthquakes, floods, and other emergencies.

  • Deflecting asteroids to prevent their collision with Earth

    On 15 February 2013, an asteroid with a diameter of approximately eighteen meters exploded over the Russian town of Chelíabinsk, producing thousands of meteorites that fell to Earth. Many meteorites hit the ground each year, each with a total mass exceeding one ton. An international project provides information on the effects a projectile impact would have on an asteroid. The aim of the project is to work out how an asteroid might be deflected so as not to collide with the Earth.

  • Psychological “vaccine” could immunize public against fake news on climate change

    New research finds that misinformation on climate change can psychologically cancel out the influence of accurate statements. However, if legitimate facts are delivered with an “inoculation” – a warning dose of misinformation – some of the positive influence is preserved.

  • Is the world prepared for another massive volcanic eruption?

    An enormous volcanic eruption would not necessarily plunge the world into a new societal crisis, according to a new study of the biggest eruption of the last millennium. One expert says: “Should a massive volcanic eruption occur in the next few years, its consequences for society might still be still difficult to predict, as the world in which we live in is more vulnerable and more exposed.”

  • Stopping human-made droughts and floods before they start

    Alberta’s rivers are a main source of water for irrigated agriculture in Canada’s Prairie provinces. But climate change and increased human interference mean that the flow of these headwaters is under threat. This could have major implications for Canadian gross domestic product, and even global food security.

  • Sound-waves could prevent tsunamis from hitting shoreline

    Devastating tsunamis could be halted before hitting the Earth’s shoreline by firing deep-ocean sound waves at the oncoming mass of water, new research has proposed. The researchers believe that lives could ultimately be saved by using acoustic-gravity waves (AGWs) against tsunamis that are triggered by earthquakes, landslides and other violent geological events.

  • Earthquakes triggered by humans pose growing risk

    People knew we could induce earthquakes before we knew what they were. As soon as people started to dig minerals out of the ground, rockfalls, and tunnel collapses must have become recognized hazards. Today, earthquakes caused by humans occur on a much greater scale. Events over the last century have shown mining is just one of many industrial activities that can induce earthquakes large enough to cause significant damage and death. Filling of water reservoirs behind dams, extraction of oil and gas, and geothermal energy production are just a few of the modern industrial activities shown to induce earthquakes. The only evidence-based way to limit the size of potential earthquakes may be to limit the scale of the projects themselves. In practice, this would mean smaller mines and reservoirs, less minerals, oil and gas extracted from fields, shallower boreholes and smaller volumes injected. A balance must be struck between the growing need for energy and resources and the level of risk that is acceptable in every individual project.

  • 2016 warmest year on record globally: NASA, NOAA

    Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and NOAA. Globally-averaged temperatures in 2016 were 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit (0.99 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mid-twentieth century mean. This makes 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures.

  • Sea levels in U.S. Northeast to rise faster than global average

    Sea level in the Northeast and in some other U.S. regions will rise significantly faster than the global average, according to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Moreover, in a worst-case scenario, global sea level could rise by about 8 feet by 2100. “Currently, about six million Americans live within about six feet of the sea level, and they are potentially vulnerable to permanent flooding in this century. Well before that happens, though, many areas are already starting to flood more frequently,” says one expert. “Considering possible levels of sea-level rise and their consequences is crucial to risk management.”

  • Warming temperatures in Northeast U.S. decades ahead of global average

    Temperatures across the northeastern United States will increase much faster than the global average, so that the 2-degrees Celsius warming target adopted in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change will be reached about twenty years earlier for this part of the U.S. compared to the world as a whole.

  • Changing climate caused giant Middle East dust storm, not human conflict

    In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. The storm led to several deaths, thousands of cases of respiratory ailments and injuries, and canceled airline flights and closed ports. At the time, the storm’s unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Now, researchers who experienced the storm while in Lebanon, have found a more likely cause for the unprecedented storm — it was not human conflict, but a combination of climatic factors and unusual weather.

  • Natural catastrophe losses at their highest for four years

    A number of devastating earthquakes and powerful storms made 2016 the costliest twelve months for natural catastrophe losses in the last four years. Losses totaled US$ 175 billion, a good two-thirds more than in the previous year, and very nearly as high as the figure for 2012 ($ 180 billion). The share of uninsured losses – the so-called protection or insurance gap – remained substantial at around 70 percent. Almost 30 percent of the losses, some $ 50 billion, were insured.