• WildfiresEvaluating Wildfire Hazard

    Severe wildfire disasters are often the product of numerous factors coalescing — vegetation, drought, a lack of firefighting resources, and many others. Identifying which factors are the most important is not always a simple task for local leaders assessing their community’s risk for damaging wildfires.

  • Infrastructure protectionHelping Communities Avoid the Climate Crosshairs

    By Jared Sagoff, Carolyn Steeele, and Andrea Manning

    Scientists are addressing the vulnerabilities of infrastructure systems through the lens of climate impacts by creating and adapting climate maps to infrastructure as a way for communities to protect themselves from the effects of climate change.

  • Post-9/11 building codesHow the Terrifying Evacuations from the Twin Towers on 9/11 Helped Make Today's Skyscrapers Safer

    By Erica Kuligowski

    One legacy of the 9/11 tragedy and the harrowing experience of those who successfully escaped the Twin Towers – the disaster was the most significant high-rise evacuation in modern times —  is that today’s skyscrapers can be emptied much more safely and easily in an emergency.

  • WildfiresPast Fires May Help in Predicting, Reducing Severity of Future Wildfires in Western U.S.

    Researchers analyzed 106 fires that burned in the Klamath Mountains in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon between 2002 and 2018, and concluded that previous fires may hold the key to predicting and reducing the severity of future wildfires in the western United States.

  • Water tensionsIran-Afghanistan Water Dispute: A Test of Tehran's Ties to Taliban

    By Shabnam von Hein

    An old dispute over water rights could be the first test of Iran’s planned pragmatic cooperation with the Taliban. Without a functioning environmental agency, though, it is unclear who in Afghanistan can address the conflict.

  • Resilience9/11 Prepared Firms for COVID-19 Economic Effects

    Companies which experienced the financial impact of 9/11 were more resilient to the economic effects of COVID-19, according to new research.The research is the first of its kind to compare the events of the last eighteen months with 9/11.

  • WildfiresStudy of Wildfires Reveals Increase in Mortality Rate

    A new study comprehensively links short term exposure to wildfire-related fine particulate matters (PM2.5) in the air and all-cause, respiratory and cardiovascular mortalities across cities and regions around the globe.

  • Climate challengesSummer 2021: Neck and Neck with Dust Bowl Summer for Hottest on Record

    The average temperature during meteorological summer for the contiguous U.S. was 74.0 degrees F, 2.6 degrees above average. This technically exceeds the record heat of the 1936 Dust Bowl Summer. In August, the U.S. was plagued by multiple deadly weather and climate disasters.

  • Hurricane IdaA Preview of What’s to Come: Climate Change Helped Intensify Hurricane Ida

    Hurricane Ida started as a disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean quickly grew to what could be the worst hurricane to hit Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While scientists are uncertain whether climate change will increase the frequency of hurricanes, one thing is clear: Climate change is here, and it’s making these storms stronger and more destructive.

  • DisastersDisasters Around the World Are Linked by the Same Root Causes

    By Ajit Niranjan

    Climate catastrophes, pandemics, and other crises ultimately stem from the same root causes, says an expert. These have more in common than people realize or plan for.

  • Cyanide detectionKeeping First Responders Safe by Detecting Cyanide Poisoning after Fires

    When first responders rush to a burning building to subdue the fire and save lives, it is not just the flames that are dangerous and potentially lethal, but also toxic fumes like cyanide that are released when certain materials are incinerated. These fumes, mixed with smoke, are so toxic that even in very low quantities may pose more risk than the fire itself. Chemists at DHS S&T have invented a test to indicate possible toxic cyanide exposure at the fire scene.

  • Hurricane Ida Shows the Increasing Impact of Climate Change Since Katrina

    By Jack L. Rozdilsky

    While no two disasters are the same, looking at differences between past and present disasters can help us to better understand what is needed to prepare for future disasters. Given the scope of the emerging impacts of Hurricane Ida, we see that while this is not a repeat of a Katrina disaster, questions are being raised about the effect of climate change and the resiliency of lifeline infrastructure like electricity.

  • Supply chain securitySecuring Domestic Supply Chain of Critical Materials

    DOE announced $30 million in funding for 13 national lab and university-led research projects to develop new technologies that will help secure the supply of critical materials that build clean energy technologies.

  • Grid securityCan Burying Power Lines Protect Storm-Wracked Electric Grids? Not Always

    By Theodore J. Kury

    Electricity is critical for health, safety and comfort. People wonder whether their electricity service might be more secure if those lines were buried underground. But I’ve studied this question for utilities and regulators, and the answer is not straightforward. There are many ways to make power grids more resilient, but they are all costly, require the involvement of many agencies, businesses and power customers, and may not solve the problem.

  • WildfiresDOD Imagery Information Aids Wildland Firefighters

    With continuing significant fire activity in the western United States this year, the Department of Defense (DoD) is delivering requested personnel, equipment, and facilities, to assist our Federal, State, and local partners fighting wildland fires. One of the tools provided by the DoD is the Firefly system pilot program (Firefly), a capability from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).