• ResilienceLong Power Outages After Disasters Aren’t Inevitable – but to Avoid Them, Utilities Need to Think Differently

    By Seth Blumsack

    Americans are becoming painfully aware that U.S. energy grids are vulnerable to extreme weather events. Hurricanes in the east, wildfires in the west, ice storms, floods and even landslides can trigger widespread power shortages. And climate change is likely making many of these extreme events more frequent, more severe or both.

  • ResilienceRestoring Power During Severe Storms

    Recovery, guided by common policies from FEMA and industry, varies with respect to the severity of disruptive events. The failures under study were induced by a wide range of disruptive events from hurricanes, nor’easters, and thunder and winter storms from 2011-2019, affecting nearly 12 million people.

  • EarthquakesEarthquake Expert Who Advised the Haiti Government in 2010: “Why Were Clear Early Warning Signs Missed?”

    By Luigi Di Sarno and Adam Mannis

    There have been very few improvements in Haiti’s seismic early warning systems between the 2010 and the 14 August 2021 earthquakes. For example, a seismic network was installed in some private residences in different locations in Haiti. These data can be easily and freely accessed online. But this network has not been efficiently used for early warning alerts. A quick examination of the data revealed that at least two strong motions (with magnitude 4.0 or above) were recorded before August 14 along the Enriquillo Plantain Garden Fault. So the warning signs were there, but nobody – it seems – was looking out for them.

  • Climate challengesBlocking the Sun to Control Global Warming

    By Nancy Bazilchuk

    It sounds like something out of a bad science fiction movie — artificially blocking sunlight to keep global warming from overheating the Earth. Nevertheless, a small cadre of researchers is studying the option — so that if humankind ever needs to use it, it will be an informed decision.

  • Planetary securityHitting a Bullseye with Closed Eyes

    Recently NASA updated its forecast of the chances that the asteroid Bennu, one of the two most hazardous known objects in our solar system, will hit Earth in the next 300 years. New calculations put the odds at 1 in 1,750, a figure slightly higher than previously thought. Two statisticians put into perspective the chances of asteroid Bennu striking Earth in next 300 years.

  • ResilienceImproving Florida’s Hurricane Resilience: Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Infrastructure

    When events like tropical storms or other unforeseen crises disrupt a state’s primary supply of gasoline and diesel, emergency fleet efforts can become hampered as access to fuel is restricted or completely unavailable.

  • FloodsHurricane Ida and Deadly Flash Floods in New York City

    By Elise Gout

    On August 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm. In New York City, water inundated subways and basements in a matter of hours. So far, at least 82 storm-related deaths have been reported. Experts are now trying to make sense of Hurricane Ida, its damages, and just how unexpected they were.

  • FloodsScience’s Answers to Flood Disaster

    On 14 July 2021, between 60 and 180 mm of rain fell in the Eifel region in just 22 hours - an amount that would otherwise have fallen in several months and which led to catastrophic flooding. The events were far more destructive than existing models had predicted.

  • Infrastructure protectionStudying Road Resilience to Sea Level Rise

    After a summer of high heat, steady sea level rise and devastating hurricanes, coastal roads have continued to take a severe beating resulting in endless wear and tear. Because these roadways have become increasingly vulnerable, study how and why coastal hazards like excessive flooding are causing roads to crack and crumble and find ways to protect them.

  • FloodsNew Flood Risk Prediction Tool “Map” Out Disaster Mitigation Plans

    Easy to understand visualization of flood risk could enable informed and scientific sustainable planning by policy makers and vulnerable communities.

  • Vulcanic eruptionsThreat of Catastrophic Supervolcano Eruptions Ever-Present

    Supervolcanoes remain active and hazardous for thousands of years after a super-eruption, prompting the need for a rethink of how these potentially catastrophic events are predicted.

  • 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.