• Sea-level rise in Southeast Asia 6,000 years ago relevant for coastal dwellers today

    For the 100 million people who live within three feet of sea level in East and Southeast Asia, the news that sea level in their region fluctuated wildly more than 6,000 years ago is important, according to researchers. This is because those fluctuations occurred without the assistance of human-influenced climate change. Such a change in sea level could happen again now, on top of the rise in sea level that is already projected to result from climate change. This could be catastrophic for people living so close to the sea.

  • Last year’s El Niño resulted in unprecedented erosion of the Pacific coastline

    Last winter’s El Niño might have felt weak to residents of Southern California, but it was in fact one of the most powerful climate events of the past 145 years. If such severe El Niño events become more common in the future as some studies suggest they might, the California coast — home to more than twenty-five million people — may become increasingly vulnerable to coastal hazards. And that’s independent of projected sea level rise.

  • Humans now affect Earth system more than natural forces

    Humans are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces, new research finds. The study for the first time came up with a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the Earth system, known as the Anthropocene equation. Over the past 7,000 years the primary forces driving change have been astronomical — driving a rate of change of 0.01 degrees Celsius per century. “Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions over the past forty-five years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate,” the researchers say.

  • Trend: Americans building “doomsday bunkers” in large numbers

    It may be a fad of the moment, or an indication of a deeper trend, but people across the United States are building and buying “doomsday bunkers” in large numbers. It is not exactly a new business, but demand for underground bunkers is at an all-time high according to industry insiders. A Texas bunker company saw its sales increase 400 percent in the past two months.

  • World leaders urged to take action to avert existential global risks

    World leaders must do more to limit risk of global catastrophes, according to a report by Oxford academics. He academic define global catastrophe as a risk “where an adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.” Three of the most pressing possible existential risks for humanity are pandemics, extreme climate change, and nuclear war.

  • 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.