• Latest Climate Models Show More Intense Droughts to Come

    New analysis shows southwestern Australia and parts of southern Australia will see longer and more intense droughts due to a lack of rainfall caused by climate change.

  • Do Two Failed Dams Foretell a Dire Future?

    Climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme rainfall events and hence the risk for filling and overtopping dams, which is the predominant mechanism of dam failure. However, using climate change as a bogeyman for aging infrastructure failure is an unfortunate trend, since it takes attention away from an urgent and potentially fixable problem.

  • When Dams Cause More Problems Than They Solve, Removing Them Can Pay Off for People and Nature

    Across the United States, dams generate hydroelectric power, store water for drinking and irrigation, control flooding and create recreational opportunities such as slack-water boating and waterskiing. But dams can also threaten public safety, especially if they are old or poorly maintained.

  • But It’s a Dry Heat: Climate Change and the Aridification of North America

    Discussions of drought often center on the lack of precipitation. But among climate scientists, the focus is shifting to include the growing role that warming temperatures are playing as potent drivers of greater aridity and drought intensification.

  • Disaster Responders Grapple with Planning for Extreme Weather in the Time of COVID-19

    Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above-normal 2020 hurricane season, with the possibility of three to six major hurricanes this summer looming over millions of Americans. In Michigan, record rainfall caused two dams to fail in quick succession, triggering an evacuation of over 10,000 nearby residents. In the time of COVID-19, crowding into an emergency shelter with thousands of others seems unsafe, if not impossible.

  • The USGS Prepares to Respond During the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

    The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts1 June, and the U.S. Geological Survey says it is prepared to provide science that can help guide efforts to protect lives and property if a major storm makes landfall this season. USGS brings many capabilities to help communities deal with hurricanes: the ability to forecast coastal change; track storm surge, river and stream levels and flow; capture high-resolution ground elevation and topographic data; create detailed maps that can be used by disaster teams responding in the aftermath of storms; and measure coastal and inland flooding across entire regions.

  • Wildfires New Algorithm Predicts the Difficulty in Fighting Fire

    When facing an uncontrolled fire blazing through hundreds of hectares, many questions arise that need urgent answers: Where should we start? What place presents less difficulty? What areas are already lost? How can we prioritize management tasks? Researchers have developed an algorithm which is able to respond to these questions and has turned mathematics into a real ally for firefighting.

  • Rising Tide: Seeking Solutions to S.C.’s Mounting Nuisance Floods

    While a rising tide may lift all boats, it spells trouble for South Carolina coastal communities where flooding has already long been a fact of life. Low-lying areas such as the state’s more than 2,000 miles of coastline are increasingly prone to floods and storm surge as sea levels rise — driven by a more variable global climate system. Researchers are examining green solutions to help those communities fight back.

  • April 2020 Was Earth’s 2nd Hottest April on Record

    Global warming is continuing unabated, with April becoming the third month in a row to rank second-hottest on record for the globe — after the year kicked off with the hottest January ever recorded in 141 years of record-keeping. The average global temperature in April was 1.91 degrees F (1.06 degrees C) above the 20th-century average.

  • Needed: A New Approach to U.K. Resilience

    Experts are calling for a new approach to U.K. resilience. They believe that as well as lessons learnt from the response to COVID-19 there is a much wider lesson to be learnt about how the U.K. identifies, prepares and responds to threats and risks, such as to our safety, our national security and from climate change.

  • Hurricanes: From Resilience to Adaptation

    Natural disasters are getting worse. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 have been historic: in each of those years, the average number of disasters costing at least $1 billion was more than double the long-term average. As the number and cost of disasters continue to increase, communities are looking for ways to adapt and become more resilient.

  • Hurricanes Are Getting Stronger

    In almost every region of the world where hurricanes form, their maximum sustained winds are getting stronger. A warming planet may be fueling the increase.

  • Tracking the tinderbox: Scientists Map Wildfire Fuel Moisture Across Western U.S.

    As California and the American West head into fire season amid the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are harnessing artificial intelligence and new satellite data to help predict blazes across the region. Researchers have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states, opening a door for better fire predictions.

  • Global Warming Now Pushing Heat into Territory Humans Cannot Tolerate

    The explosive growth and success of human society over the past 10,000 years has been underpinned by a distinct range of climate conditions. But the range of weather humans can encounter on Earth – the “climate envelope” – is shifting as the planet warms, and conditions entirely new to civilization could emerge in the coming decades. Even with modern technology, this should not be taken lightly.

  • Michigan Governor Vows Legal Action After Devastating Floods

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the state will pursue “every line of legal recourse” against the owners of one of two dams that failed earlier this week, causing severe flooding in several communities. More than 10,000 residents in the central town of Midland were evacuated Wednesday as the Tittabawassee River overran its banks hours after the Edenville Dam, located 32 kilometers north, failed after several days of heavy seasonal rains.