• Why Not Use Space Mirrors for Reflecting Sunlight to Cool the Planet?

    Given the potential consequences of climate change and a danger of reaching irreversible “tipping points,” there is an argument to be made that all options should be carefully considered. Sending giant mirrors into space to reflect solar radiation away from the Earth is one such option. The problem is that the many such geoengineering approaches have been so taboo that there is not enough information from researchers to definitively decide what options are still viable.

  • What We Know About Giant Storms Since Sandy

    “A central story of my book about Sandy [Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future] was that New York City’s emergency management actually did quite well. This was in large part due to planning efforts going back decades that focused on a possible Sandy-like event. That saved many lives. The exception was recommendations to flood-proof infrastructure, which ended up being almost entirely ignored,” says Adam Sobel of Columbia University.

  • Method for Decoding Asteroid Interiors Could Help Aim Asteroid-Deflecting Missions

    Knowing how the density is distributed inside an asteroid could help scientists plan the most effective defense. For instance, if an asteroid were made of relatively light and uniform matter, a DART-like spacecraft could be aimed differently than if it were deflecting an asteroid with a denser, less balanced interior. Astronomers have found a way to determine an asteroid’s interior structure based on how its spin changes during a close encounter with Earth.

  • Seismic Sensing Reveals Flood Damage Potential

    Rapidly evolving floods are a major and growing hazard worldwide. Currently, their onset and evolution are hard to identify using existing systems. Seismic sensors already in place to detect earthquakes could be a solution to this problem.

  • Q&A with the Experts: Puerto Rico

    In 2018, as part of an effort to improve Puerto Rico’s resilience in the face of repeated, and devastating, natural disasters, RAND experts offered 270 specific courses of action needed across infrastructure, communities, and natural systems. Four years later, some of these experts reflect on the progress made – and not made – in shoring up the island’s resilience.

  • Hurricane Ian Shows That Coastal Hospitals Aren’t Ready for Climate Change

    As rapidly intensifying storms and rising sea levels threaten coastal cities from Texas to the tip of Maine, Hurricane Ian has just demonstrated what researchers have warned: Hundreds of hospitals in the U.S. are not ready for climate change.

  • NASA Successfully Shifted an Asteroid’s Orbit – DART Spacecraft Crashed Into and Moved Dimorphos

    NASA recently crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid in an attempt to push the rocky traveler off its trajectory. The test was a great proof-of-concept for many technologies that the U.S. government has invested in over the years. And importantly, it proves that it is possible to send a craft to intercept with a minuscule target millions of miles away from Earth and change its orbit.

  • Greater Resilience Through Nature-Inspired Power Grids

    Researchers are looking to nature to build better power grids that are more resistant to various potential disturbances like natural disasters or cyberattacks.

  • “Shock-Darkened” Meteorites Offer Clues for Hazardous Asteroid Deflection

    Planetary scientists identified a potential source of a special kind of meteorite. Its characteristics could explain certain discrepancies in how near-Earth asteroids are classified.

  • The “Hurricane Tax”: Ian Is Pushing Florida’s Home Insurance Market Toward Collapse

    Hurricane Ian has dissipated, but it will bring even more turmoil to the Sunshine State in the coming months. This damage will be financial rather than physical, as ratings agencies and real estate companies have estimated the storm’s damages at anywhere between $30 and $60 billion. The storm is poised to be one of the largest insured loss events in U.S. history.

  • The U.S. Needs to Prepare for More Billion-Dollar Climate Disasters Like Hurricane Ian

    Billion-dollar disasters such as Hurricane Ian are on the rise in the United States. Officials should take swift action to reduce the damage and protect Americans.

  • The Cost of Rising Temperatures

    From crop damage to cooling failures at cloud-based data centers, climate change affects a wide variety of economic sectors. The study found that economies are sensitive to persistent temperature shocks over at least a 10-year time frame.

  • Puerto Rico: A U.S. Territory in Crisis

    The Caribbean island, which shares a close yet fraught relationship with the rest of the United States, faces a multilayered economic and social crisis rooted in long-standing policy and compounded by natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration, and government mismanagement.

  • Barrier Islands Are Natural Coast Guards That Absorb Impacts from Hurricanes and Storms

    When hurricanes and storms make landfall, barrier islands absorb much of their force, reducing wave energy and protecting inland areas. Islands that have been preserved in their natural state can move with storms, shifting their shapes over time. But many human activities, such as turning these islands into tourist attractions –for example, Florida’s Sanibel Island and South Carolina’s Pawleys Island — interfere with these natural movements, making the islands more vulnerable.

  • A New Way to Predict Droughts

    Scientists looking at the meteorological impacts of climate change have typically looked at increases in severe weather and hurricanes. Now, they are studying another consequence of global warming that will have significant economic ramifications: drought. And advanced computing gives new window into “flash droughts.”