• Terrorism appFrance unveils app to alert people to terror attacks

    Euro 2016 soccer tournament begins on Friday, and as part of the massive security operation undertaken to secure the ten millions spectators who will be watching the games from 10 June to 10 July, the French government has created a smartphone app designed to send warnings directly to people’s phones in the event of a bombing, shooting, or other disaster.

  • HurricanesImproving hurricane intensity predictions through early use of “hurricane hunter” data

    Data collected via airplane when a hurricane is developing can improve hurricane intensity predictions by up to 15 percent, according to researchers who have been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Hurricane Center to put the new technique into practice.

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  • TsunamisA warning system for tsunamis

    Right now, tsunami warning systems rely on region-specific scenarios based on previous patterns in that area. This is because scientists use sensors in the ocean, which can detect abnormal movements but cannot make accurate projections of how much water will hit a coast and how hard. But “most likely” is not a sure thing. Seismologists have created a new algorithm that could one day help give coastal cities early warning of incoming tsunamis.

  • Seismic early-warningJapanese-language MyShake app crowdsources earthquake-shaking information

    UC Berkeley scientists have released a Japanese version of an Android app that crowdsources ground-shaking information from smartphones to detect quakes and eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes. The app, called MyShake, became publicly available on Sunday. Since it was first released in English on 12 February 2016, more than 170,000 people have downloaded the app from around the world, and on any given day 11,000 phones provide data to the system.

  • FirefightingSeismic networks can serve as the backbone for 21st century firefighting

    The same twenty-first century communications network used for real-time seismic monitoring in Nevada and parts of California can provide high-quality images to help first responders catch fires before they grow costly and dangerous. Experts say that seismic networks in place to provide earthquake early warning, if designed to sustain multi-hazard monitoring, can provide a robust data backbone for fire cameras that pan, tilt and zoom as they monitor wildfires and other extreme weather events like remote floods.

  • Earthquake early warningJapan’s successful earthquake early warning system offers lessons to U.S. high-speed rail

    As California and other states move forward with high-speed rail plans, some have questioned the system’s ability to withstand earthquakes. This is especially critical in California, an active quake zone. A recent research report says that valuable lessons are easily adapted from Japan’s successes with its early earthquake warning (EEW) systems. This was most recently demonstrated during the series of violent quakes that shook Japan in mid-April, 2016.

  • EarthquakesWorries in southern California: San Andreas fault “locked, loaded, and ready to roll”

    Top seismologists have warned residents of southern California that the region is overdue for a major earthquake. The San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to go,” said Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, Mount St Helens is waking up, with  as many as 130 small earthquakes detected beneath the mountain in recent weeks.

  • EarthquakesCitizen seismologists enhance the impacts of earthquake studies

    From matchbook-sized sensors plugged into a desktop computer to location-tagged tweets, the earthquake data provided by “citizen seismologists” have grown in size and quality since 2000, according to the field’s researchers.

  • Tsunami early warningAll of Indonesia’s Tsunami early warning buoys were inoperable before 7.8 magnitude tremor

    At the time of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck off the Indonesian coast on Wednesday night, all of Indonesia’s tsunami early warning buoys were inoperable. The shallow tremor 600 km off Sumatra island did not generate a tsunami, but the incident has raised questions about the effectiveness of the early warning system, which was deployed in the wake of the devastating 2004 tsunami.

  • Tsunami early warningAll of Indonesia’s Tsunami early warning buoys were inoperable before 7.8 magnitude tremor

    At the time of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck off the Indonesian coast on Wednesday night, all of Indonesia’s tsunami early warning buoys were inoperable. The shallow tremor 600 km off Sumatra island did not generate a tsunami, but the incident has raised questions about the effectiveness of the early warning system, which was deployed in the wake of the devastating 2004 tsunami.

  • Tsunani warningsGPS allows for better, faster tsunami warnings

    Existing GPS instruments at monitoring stations worldwide could be used to increase the speed and accuracy of tsunami warnings, according to a new study. Real-time Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements can be used to show how major earthquakes displace the ocean floor, cutting tsunami warning times by nearly twenty minutes and potentially reducing harm to coastal communities, according to researchers.

  • EarthquakesSmartphones app creates worldwide seismic network

    UC Berkeley scientists last week released a free Android app that taps a smartphone’s ability to record ground shaking from an earthquake, with the goal of creating a worldwide seismic detection network that could eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes. The app, called MyShake, is available from the Google Play Store and runs in the background with little power, so that a phone’s onboard accelerometers can record local shaking any time of the day or night.

  • EarthquakesDiscovery of “hidden earthquake” challenges tsunami early-warning systems

    Seismologists studying the 2011 Chile earthquake have discovered a previously undetected earthquake which took place seconds after the initial rupture. This newly discovered phenomena which they have called a “closely spaced doublet” presents a challenge to earthquake and tsunami early warning systems as it increases the risk of larger-than-expected tsunamis in the aftermath of a typical subduction earthquake.

  • Earthquake warningWest Coast lawmakers ask Obama for $16.1 million to complete earthquake early warning system

    Last Wednesday thirty-six Members of Congress from western states urged President Barack Obama and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to increase the funding level for earthquake hazards programs in their 2017 budget request — more specifically, to provide $16.1 million dollars in funding for an on-shore Earthquake Early Warning System (EEW) being developed by scientists in Southern California and along the West Coast. The lawmakers say that such an early warning system would be helpful in providing residents and first responders with advance notice that could help save lives, avoid injuries, and avert major infrastructure damage by slowing trains to prevent derailment, stopping elevators, pausing surgeries, and taking other actions in the event of a major earthquake.

  • Public alertsFEMA assessing over-the-air broadcast alerting technology

    FEMA’s National Continuity Programs’ Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Division (IPAWS) has begun to assess the feasibility of a public alert and warning capability which is being developed in the private sector. FEMA says that new technologies could deliver detailed emergency information to the public with pictures and videos of evacuation routes, storm tracks, and shelter information — increasing community preparedness before, during, and after a disaster.