• New Wildfire Detection System Receives Funding Boost

    The high intensity of the recent fire seasons in Oregon, coupled with the increasing wildfire risk this year as approximately three-quarters of the state is now in severe drought conditions, has highlighted how critical a new project, aiming to help with the early detection and monitoring of wildfires, is — both for firefighters and the general public.

  • Redefining the Longest Drought

    Maps of the American West have featured ever darker shades of red over the past two decades. In some areas, conditions have blown past severe and extreme drought into exceptional drought. But rather than add more superlatives to the descriptions, one group of scientists believes it’s time to reconsider the very definition of drought.

  • Testing Similitude Laws of Multistory Masonry Buildings

    Earthquakes and other stressors on buildings pose a threat to their structural integrity that endangers human life. It helps to be able to calculate the behavior of buildings and test with small-scale models.

  • At-Risk Communities to Invest in Disaster Mitigation Projects

    Bipartisan legislation to make permanent FEMA National Risk Index (NRI), an online tool that utilizes data to identify communities that are most vulnerable to natural disasters, has advanced in the Senate. The bill would require FEMA to use data from the NRI, or a similar tool, o designate the communities across the nation that are most in need of mitigation projects – and help them access federal funding and support to plan for mitigation and resilience projects.

  • With Threats of Nuclear War and Climate Disaster Growing, America’s “Bunker Fantasy” Is Woefully Inadequate

    Faced with a Congress unwilling to fund large-scale sheltering measures — although in Europe and elsewhere, vast public shelters were built, the community bomb shelter was almost universally rejected in the U.S. as communistic — the Kennedy administration decided instead to encourage the private development of the individual shelter industry and to establish dedicated spaces within existing public structures.

  • Coastal Home Buyers Are Ignoring Rising Flood Risks, Despite Clear Warnings and Rising Insurance Premiums

    Homebuyers along the U.S. coasts can check each property’s flood risk as easily as they check the size of the bedrooms – most coastal real estate listings now include future flood risk details that take climate change into account. In Apollo Beach, for example, many of the properties are at least 9 out of 10 on the flood risk scale. That knowledge isn’t stopping homebuyers, though.

  • Onset of Modern Sea-Level Rise Began in 1863, International Study Finds

    Researchers have found that modern rates of sea-level rise began emerging in 1863 as the Industrial Age intensified, coinciding with evidence for early ocean warming and glacier melt.

  • Tornadoes, Climate Change Make Dixie the new Tornado Alley

    Studies do show tornadoes getting more frequent, more intense and more likely to come in swarms. Moreover, studies show that, statistically, there is an emergence of another center of tornado activity in the Southeast, centered around Alabama. Oklahoma still has tornadoes, of course. But the statistical center of Tornado Alley has moved eastward.

  • Ultrafast Devices to Protecting the Grid from EMPs

    Scientists from Sandia National Laboratories have announced a tiny, electronic device that can shunt excess electricity within a few billionths of a second while operating at a record-breaking 6,400 volts — a significant step towards protecting the nation’s electric grid from an electromagnetic pulse.

  • Un-Earthing Planetary Defense

    This summer, NASA will launch its first mission to a metallic asteroid, 16 Psyche, located in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Previous missions have explored rocky and icy asteroids, but Psyche’s composition is widely believed to consist of a considerable amount of metal. Studying extraterrestrial bodies could help defend Earth from future impact threats.

  • Wildfires Devastate the Land They Burn, and They Are Also Warming the Planet

    The 2021 wildfire season broke records globally, leaving land charred from California to Siberia. The risk of fire is growing, and a recent report warned that wildfires are on track to increase 50% by 2050. These fires destroy homes, plant life, and animals as they burn, but the risk doesn’t stop there. Researchers detail how the brown carbon released by burning biomass in the northern hemisphere is accelerating warming in the Arctic and warn that this could lead to even more wildfires in the future.

  • How a Hurricane Fueled Wildfires in the Florida Panhandle

    The wildfires that broke out in the Florida Panhandle in early March 2022 were the nightmare fire managers had feared since the day Hurricane Michael flattened millions of trees there in 2018. It might sound odd – hurricanes helping to fuel wildfires. But Michael’s 160 mph winds left tangles of dead trees that were ready to burn.

  • Texas Cold Snap Highlights Need for Improved Power Systems

    The greatest demand for electricity in Texas is traditionally during the hottest days of the year, when air conditioners turn on full blast to beat the heat. But in February 2021, an unusually long spell of cold weather took the region by surprise. With extreme weather events rising in frequency, the need for a prepared modern energy grid grows.

  • Hurricanes and Other Tropical Cyclones Linked to Rise in U.S. Deaths from Several Major Causes

    New study reveals potential hidden deadly cost of climate-related disasters: Injuries, infections, diseases, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

  • The Evolution of U.S. Emergency Risk Assessment and Response

    The U.S. emergency management system evolved from responses to many past situations, including the Great Depression and the Cold War. The current system formed as a seeming patchwork of federal, local, nonprofit and other agencies. While the current system has advantages and weaknesses, understanding its makeup can help us address current crises, including pandemics and climate change.