• 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.

  • Comprehensive flood insurance

    Insurance is a valuable recovery tool for individuals and communities impacted by disaster. While it doesn’t prevent the unexpected from happening, it does provide financial peace of mind, a safety net when disaster occurs. Insurance offers critical financial protection and resources that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance programs do not provide. FEMA recommends all homeowners with properties in flood prone areas purchase flood insurance. Despite the known financial benefits of flood insurance, there is a large and persistence flood insurance gap in the nation.

  • Climate change requires a fresh approach to water woes

    Climate change is affecting the Everglades and other large watersheds across the United States in new and unpredictable ways. Extreme weather events and rising sea levels, combined with a growing population, will lead to “more intense arguments” about already contested issues of water quality and water usage, experts say.

  • Evacuation decision-making: How people make choices in disasters

    Individual risk perception is the strongest predictor of who will evacuate before and during a hurricane. But it appears that some individuals’ self-reports of their evacuation risk did not agree with what emergency response agencies decided were the highest risk areas. That is, preliminary analysis of perceived and actual evacuation orders suggests misinformation or misunderstanding by respondents in our sample.

  • After the Big One: Understanding aftershock risk

    In early September 2018, a powerful earthquake on the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan triggered landslides, toppled buildings, cut power, halted industry, killed more than 40 people and injured hundreds. The national meteorological agency warned that aftershocks could strike for up to a week following the main event. “A large earthquake will typically have thousands of aftershocks,” said Stanford University’s Gregory Beroza. “We know that a big earthquake changes something in Earth’s crust that causes these aftershocks to happen.”

  • The importance of community networks to disaster resilience

    Research finds that community networks and better official communication could aid in response and resilience to disasters. Researchers who worked in Houston and Corpus Christie after Hurricane Harvey write that they found “first, missed opportunities to harness social capital for disaster preparedness and, second, a greater need for government agencies and disaster relief organizations to effectively communicate with the public before, during and after disasters.”

  • Climate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist

    Climate change has forced a paradigm shift in the way coastal flooding and erosion risks are managed. In areas of lower risk, adaptation plans are being devised, often with provisions to make properties and infrastructure more resilient. Adaptation may involve requiring raised foundations in flood-prone areas or the installation of mitigating measures, such as sustainable drainage systems. Building codes may also be established to make structures more disaster-proof and to control the types of constructions within risk zones. But such adaptation options are often of limited use or unsuitable for high-risk areas. In such areas relocation is the only safe climate-proof response.

  • Paris climate targets may be exceeded sooner than expected

    A new study has for the first time comprehensively accounted for permafrost carbon release when estimating emission budgets for climate targets. The results show that the world might be closer to exceeding the budget for the long-term target of the Paris climate agreement than previously thought.

  • 32 dead, 500,000 homes without power, Wilmington virtually cut off

    Emergency crews have been busy Monday and today in many cities across the Carolinas as both residents and the authorities were trying to cope with the aftermath of a record rainfall. The water damaged tens of thousands of homes, and floodwaters may not recede for days. Even as the remnants of Hurricane Florence pulled away, it was clear that the turmoil had only begun.

  • Either cover 89 percent of the U.S. with trees, or go solar

    How many fields of switchgrass and forests of trees would be needed to offset the energy produced by burning coal? A lot, it turns out. While demand for energy isn’t dropping, alarms raised by burning fossil fuels in order to get that energy are getting louder.

  • Hurricanes can cause enormous damage inland, but emergency plans focus on coasts

    Coastal residents also prepare for major storms by building homes elevated above anticipated high water levels, in order to minimize damage and qualify for flood insurance. And building codes commonly call for reinforced construction to endure high wind speeds. All of these sensible and essential preparations focus on wind and storm surge in coastal zones. Today, however, risk from hurricanes is extending inland. Some of the worst damage from Eastern Seaboard hurricanes in the past several decades has come from inland flooding along rivers after storms move ashore.