• EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONChanneling NEXTGEN TV to Help Responders Answer the Call

    A natural disaster strikes, vehicles collide on a snowy highway, a 5-alarm fire blazes through the night. For first responders, every second counts. DHS S&T is collaborating on a new effort to arm agencies with a digital alerting system that taps into NEXTGEN public TV broadcasting technologies to deliver emergency dispatches faster.

  • FOOD SECURITYPredicting Threats to Food Security

    Pests and diseases remain one of the biggest threats to food production, increasingly destabilizing food security and livelihoods across climate-vulnerable regions around the world,” says one expert. Mathematical modelling can prevent crop devastation and preserve livelihoods.

  • HURRICANESOne Hurricane Is Bad Enough, but Climate Change-Driven Multiple Hurricanes Are Coming

    By John Sullivan

    Getting hit with one hurricane is bad enough, but new research shows that back-to-back versions may become common for many areas in coming decades. Driven by a combination of rising sea levels and climate change, destructive hurricanes and tropical storms could become far more likely to hit coastal areas in quick succession.

  • FLOODSWhy Rain on Snow in the California Mountains Worries Scientists

    By Keith Musselman

    For much of the United States, storms with heavy rainfall can coincide with seasonal snow cover. When that happens, the resulting runoff of water can be much greater than what is produced from rain or snowmelt alone. The combination has resulted in some of the nation’s most destructive and costly floods.

  • PLANETARY SECURITYHigh-Fidelity Simulation Offers Insight into 2013 Chelyabinsk Meteor

    On the morning of Feb. 15, 2013, a small asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, sending a loud shockwave and sonic boom across the region, damaging buildings and leaving around 1,200 people injured. Meteoric events are natural disasters and, just like any other natural disaster, we can do more to be prepared. “They are not high-probability events, but we shouldn’t dismiss them as science fiction either,” says one scientist.

  • WATER SECURITYHow to Deal with Winter Droughts and Water Shortages

    By Tim Schauenberg

    Warmer winters and sparse rainfall have dried up southern Europe. Water scarcity in Italy, France and other countries is threatening this year’s harvests. What to do?

  • WEATHER HAZARDSBuilding a Database on Public Response to Severe Weather Hazards

    The public is being surveyed on perceptions and response to flash floods, tornados, severe thunderstorms and winter weather under a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • EARTHQUAKESCrowdsourced Reports Can Quickly Identify an Earthquake’s Impact

    Within minutes, a statistical model based on a global database of public reports of ground shaking can be used to identify an earthquake as a high- or low-impact event, according to a new study.

  • RAIL SAFETYOhio Chemical Spill Draws Focus on Railroad Dangers

    By Alistair Walsh

    The U.S. has one of the most extensive rail networks in the world, but diminishing safety standards puts people and the environment at risk. The latest accident has drawn sharp focus onto the safety standards of the highly profitable freight rail industry and its prolific lobbying against regulation.

  • RAIL SAFETYThe Train Derailment in Ohio Was a Disaster Waiting to Happen

    By John McCracken

    The derailment of a freight train filled with volatile chemicals in rural Ohio earlier this month captured the headlines, but researchers and chemical spill experts say it’s a situation that plays out far too often across the country. Trains carry hazardous chemicals everyday. They’re also dangerously unregulated.

  • EARTHQUAKESThe Most Advanced Bay Area Earthquake Simulations to Be Publicly Available

    Accurately modeling the effects of an earthquake is possible, but it requires intricate physics-based models that can only be run on advanced supercomputers. The data from such models are invaluable for the earthquake research community and engineers seeking to build and retrofit earthquake-resilient homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Supercomputer-generated simulations will soon be accessible on an open-access website.

  • STORM PREDICTIONNext-Generation Storm Forecasting Project Aims to Save Lives

    Severe storms have greatly impacted the Southeastern United States over the years. A key to dealing with storms and minimizing their severity is early forecasting and detection.

  • GEOENGINEERINGCan Space Dust Slow Global Warming?

    Scientists believe dust launched from the moon could reduce solar radiation enough to lessen the impact of climate change.

  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALTrain Derailments Get More Headlines, but Truck Crashes Involving Hazardous Chemicals Are More Frequent and Deadly in U.S.

    By Michael F. Gorman

    Highway crash of hazmat-carrying trucks do not draw national attention the way train derailments do, or trigger a flood of calls for more trucking regulation like the U.S. is seeing for train regulation. Truck crashes tend to be local and less dramatic than a pile of derailed train cars on fire, even if they’re deadlier. Federal data shows that rail has had far fewer incidents, deaths and damage when moving hazardous materials in the U.S. than trucks.

  • ALERT MESSAGINGBreakthrough Alert Messaging for a Mobile Public

    It is in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) that the danger and damage from the growing risk of wildfires is most prevalent. Of paramount importance is alerting people in the path of fires and enabling their safe evacuation from the area.