• Earthquake System Model with Better Detection Capabilities

    researchers developed a machine learning model that improves the accuracy of detecting earthquakes by 14.5 percent compared to the most accurate current existing model.

  • Disasters: To Flee or Not to Flee

    The Montecito debris flows that occurred in January 2018 were the result of a rare confluence of two uncommonly severe events: the Thomas Fire — at that time the largest wildfire in California history — which for weeks burned through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties; and the intense winter storm that followed. Researchers say it is important to keep residents — and emergency management offices — informed about rare but potentially lethal natural events.

  • Nuclear Physics Used to probe Floridan Aquifer Threatened by Climate Change

    Florida is known for water. Between its beaches, swamps, storms and humidity, the state is soaked. And below its entire surface lies the largest freshwater aquifer in the nation. As rising sea levels threaten coastal areas, scientists are using an emerging nuclear dating technique to track the ins and outs of water flow.

  • Disrupting Asteroids to Protect the Earth

    If an asteroid is on an Earth-impacting trajectory, scientists typically want to stage a deflection, where the asteroid is gently nudged by a relatively small change in velocity, while keeping the bulk of the asteroid together. Researchers have examined how different asteroid orbits and different fragment velocity distributions affect the fate of the fragments, using initial conditions from a hydrodynamics calculation, where a 1-Megaton-yield device was deployed a few meters off the surface of a 100-meter diameter asteroid.

  • Research Showing Increase in Tropical Cyclone Rainfall to Aid Disaster Planning

    Research on tropical cyclone precipitation extremes provides data on inland flooding that could help communities be more prepared for the high amounts of rainfall produced by storms such as Hurricane Ida in the United States.

  • Project to Look Below the Surface to Make NYC More Resilient

    Hurricanes Ida and Henri caused flooding in New York City, demonstrating the need for comprehensive, quickly accessible data about the spatial relationships between utility conduits, water and waste systems, fuel transit pipelines, transportation tunnels, and other infrastructure beneath our feet.

  • Record-Breaking Texas Drought More Severe Than Previously Thought

    In 2011, Texas experienced one of its worst droughts ever, with the dry, parched conditions causing more than $7 billion in crop and livestock losses, sparking wildfires, pushing power grids to the limit, and reducing reservoirs to dangerously low levels. A new study finds that the drought was worse than previously thought.

  • “Risk Triage” Platform Pinpoints Compounding Threats to U.S. Infrastructure

    As climate change amplifies the frequency and intensity of extreme events in the United States and around the world, and the populations and economies they threaten grow and change, there is a critical need to make infrastructure more resilient. But how can this be done in a timely, cost-effective way? Modeling tool developed by MIT researchers focuses on multi-sector dynamics.

  • Looking to the Past for Answers on Future Tsunami Threats

    Large and destructive tsunamis in the past few decades — in the Indian Ocean in 2004, Chile in 2010 and Japan in 2011 — have underscored the threat tsunamis pose to coastal regions. Now new research is aimed at better predicting areas threatened by such fast-developing natural disasters.

  • New Tool Mappin Floods Since 1985 Will Aid Disaster Planning

    Free online World Flood Mapping Tool will help plan urban and agricultural development, effective flood defenses, disaster readiness, and identify supply chain vulnerabilities

  • Little Difference between Managed, Unmanaged Flows of Urban Stormwater

    A new study suggests that expensive efforts to control urban stormwater by investing heavily in green infrastructure — such as water-quality ponds, infiltration basins, porous pavement and riparian plantings — may not have much of an impact.

  • Minor Volcanic Eruptions Could “Cascade” into Global Catastrophe

    Researchers call for a shift in focus away from risks of “super-volcanic” eruptions and toward likelier scenarios of smaller eruptions in key global ‘pinch points’ creating devastating domino effects.

  • Current Southwest Drought Is a Preview of Things to Come

    Scientists found that the record-low precipitation that kicked off the unprecedented drought parching the U.S. Southwest since 2020 could have been a fluke—just the rare bad luck of natural variability. But the drought would not have reached its current punishing intensity without the extremely high temperatures brought by human-caused global warming.

  • Predicting, Managing, and Preparing for Disasters Like Hurricane Ida

    Since Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana almost exactly 16 years ago, the National Academies have helped produce scientific insights and recommendations through initiatives to help policymakers avoid the worst impacts of future disasters.

  • Small Increases in Greenhouse Gases Will Lead to Decades-Long “Megadroughts” in U.S. Southwest

    Recent NOAA-funded research found that even small additional increases in greenhouse gas emissions will make decades-long “megadroughts” – similar to the drought which has descended on the U.S. southwest nearly twenty years ago — more common.