• Making Oregon safer in quakes and fires

    Research by University of Oregon seismologist is shaping a new set of policy agendas designed to help Oregon prepare for a Cascadia earthquake and other natural disasters. His work on the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system and its companion multihazard monitoring efforts informed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s just-released document, “Resiliency 2025: Improving Our Readiness for the Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami.”

  • Global hotspots for potential water conflicts

    Scientists at the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission have identified the hotspots where competition over the use of shared water resources could lead to disagreements between countries. The scientists determined that the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates and Colorado rivers are “water hotspots”, where “hydro-political interactions” are most likely to occur. These areas are already under water stress, and future demographic and climatic conditions are expected to exert further pressure on scarce water resources.

  • More than 1,000 stakeholders join N.Y.-N.J. Metropolitan Resilience Network

    An innovative program, the Metropolitan Resilience Network (MRN), now has over 1,000 credentialed stakeholders from hundreds of public and private organizations in the New York metro area. MRN members are connected and collaborating on shared threats to the region through a unique technology platform as well as a wider spectrum of activities.

  • The 1800s Global Famine could happen again

    Researchers have completed the most thorough analysis yet of The Great Drought — the most devastating known drought of the past 800 years — and how it led to the Global Famine, an unprecedented disaster that took 50 million lives. She warns that the Earth’s current warming climate could make a similar drought even worse.

  • Why doesn’t the U.S. bury its power lines?

    It is nearing the end of a highly destructive hurricane season in the United States. The devastation of Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina caused more than 1.4 million customers to lose power and Hurricane Michael has cut service to an estimated 900,000 customers in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Soon, winter storms will bring wind and snow to much of the country. When it comes to electricity, people turn their attention to the power lines overhead and wonder if their electricity service might be more secure if those lines were buried underground. But having studied this question for utilities and regulators, I can say the answer is not that straightforward. Burying power lines, also called undergrounding, is expensive, requires the involvement of many stakeholders and might not solve the problem at all.

  • Florida Panhandle counties less prepared for emergency than rest of state

    found that the vast majority of counties in the Florida Panhandle were less prepared for emergency evacuation compared to the rest of the state. Of the 67 counties in Florida, 10 were rated as having weak levels of evacuation preparedness, and all of these counties were located in the Panhandle/North Florida. Eleven of 16 counties with moderately rated plans also were in this region. Only seven of the counties in the Panhandle had strong plans.

  • Help from friends key to natural disaster recovery

    Natural disasters are life-changers for all involved, and understanding why some communities recover faster than others can be better achieved by looking at both the social and physical networks within these communities and their interplay, according to a four-year study.

  • DHS unveils new strategy to deal with EMP threats

    DHS earlier this week announced the release of department’s new strategy to prepare for and recover from EMP and GMD incidents – whether naturally occurring or intentional. Electromagnetic incidents, caused by either an intentional EMP attack or naturally occurring GMD events, are unlikely, but they could cause serious damage to the U.S critical infrastructure.

  • Hurricane Michael damage could be worst in decades: Florida governor

    Hurricane Michael is intensifying into a Category 4 storm as it speeds toward Panama City on the Florida Panhandle. Heavy rains and strong winds have started after tens of thousands of residents evacuated. Experts had been warning residents to evacuate – but at about 11:00 am Wednesday, Florida authorities said that those residents who had not yet evacuated should barricade themselves in their homes. Falling trees, collapsed powerlines, and rising water would likely strand residents on the road if they left their homes now, so they would be safer staying put.

  • Civil engineering professor urges Midwest tornado preparation

    Researchers rely on a pair of analytical observations more commonly invoked in fields such as cognitive psychology, economics or political science — prospect theory and game theory — to make Tornado Alley safer. The unofficial geographic designation encompasses Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and other parts of the central United States.

  • Dealing with critical risks from climate change beyond adaptation and mitigation limits

    This year has brought new temperature records in Africa and Asia, the hottest European summer in recent history, with associated droughts, and forest fires as far north as the Arctic Circle, severe flooding in India and Bangladesh, and massive cyclone damage in Fiji, the Philippines and China. Research has shown that the frequency and severity of extreme weather and climate-related hazards is likely to increase as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Climate mitigation and adaptation will increasingly not be enough to manage the effects from such hazards, and experts now call for a climate policy mechanism designed to manage climate-related losses and damages in particularly vulnerable countries.

  • World has 12 years to limit catastrophic impacts of climate change

    Leading climate scientists warn that there is only a dozen years for actions to be taken to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C. Beyond the threshold of 1.5C warming above pre-industrial era, even half a degree of additional warming will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

  • New seismic risk model could better inform disaster planning

    Researchers have developed a new way to model seismic risk, which they hope will better inform disaster risk reduction planning in earthquake-prone areas. This approach, which the team calls “ensemble modelling,” allows the researchers to estimate whether particular impacts are specific to certain earthquakes, or occur irrespective of the location or magnitude of an earthquake.

  • Explosion, collapse, earthquakes: North Korea’s 2017 nuclear test

    The epicenter of the 3 September 2017 nuclear test explosion in North Korea occurred about 3.6 kilometers northwest of the country’s first nuclear test in October 2006, according to a new high-precision analysis of the explosion and its aftermath. The study used regional seismic data collected from a number of sources to locate the 2017 test, and to confirm that subsequent seismic events were not also nuclear explosions.

  • Extreme weather events rarely occur in isolation

    The end of the baking hot summer is a forceful reminder of what the climate could hold in store for us in the future. Between April and August of this year, rainfall in Eastern Switzerland was lower than has ever been recorded. And during the same period, temperatures were very high. In order to assess the risk of simultaneous climate extremes such as heatwaves and drought, scientists call for various research areas to work more closely together.