• Summer 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.

  • A 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.

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

    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.

  • Keeping 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

    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.

  • Securing 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.

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

    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.

  • DOD 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). 

  • Future Flooding in Venice: Facing Sea Level Rise

    A new assessment of flood risk in Venice indicates that the impact of higher emissions on relative sea level rise during this century will be critical in planning future defense infrastructure for Venice and other coastal cities.

  • A Subway Flood Expert Explains What Needs to Be Done to Stop Underground Station Deluges

    Subway stations in New York were inundated with water following heavy rain on 1 September 2021, and other cities around the world have also experienced similar inundations. “Climate change isn’t a matter of the future; its effects are happening right now,” says one expert.

  • Mitigating Hazards with Vulnerability in Mind

    From tropical storms to landslides, the form and frequency of natural hazards vary widely. To mitigate natural hazards equitably, an MIT Ph.D. candidate is incorporating social vulnerability into resilience engineering and hazard recovery.

  • More Weather-Related Disasters Over Past 50 Years, Causing More Damage but Fewer Deaths

    A disaster related to a weather, climate, or water hazard occurred every day on average over the past 50 years – killing 115 people and causing $ 202 million in losses daily. But while the number of climate change-driven disasters has increased by a factor of five over the 50-year period, the number of deaths decreased almost three-fold. thanks to improved early warnings and disaster management.

  • As Western U.S. Is Experiencing a 1,000 Year Drought, Desalination Could Be a Solution

    The Western United States is currently experiencing what one paleoclimatologist called “potentially the worst drought in 1,200 years.” The region has had many droughts in the past, including “megadroughts” that last decades, but climate change is making dry years drier and wet years wetter. One possible solution is the desalination of seawater, but is it a silver bullet?

  • At Least 23 Killed in Flooding in New York City, New Jersey

    At least 23 people have died across New York City and New Jersey as a result of the historic flash flooding caused by the weather system formerly known as Hurricane Ida. The storm dumped so much rain in New York City that the local National Weather Service issued its first flash flood emergency for NYC and the neighboring city of Newark, New Jersey.

  • New Orleans Residents Have Decisions to Make as Long Recovery from Hurricane Ida Begins

    New Orleans and utility officials spent Monday assessing the severity of the damage, but private energy provider Entergy Corporation confirmed that 216 substations and 2,000 miles of transmission lines — including a tower that collapsed along the Mississippi River — are down in Louisiana, leaving more than 1 million residents without electricity. Entergy promises a team of 20,000 to repair the damage, but it’s unclear how long that will take.