• How Big Institutions Stymie Disaster Response, and What to Do About It

    Large institutions like government, the private sector, non-profits, and academia, are unprepared for disasters—both natural and human-created—because their incentives are not well-aligned.

  • Floods Kill Long After the Water Has Gone

    People impacted by a flooding event are at significantly increased risk of dying – including heart and lung problems – in a crucial window between three and six weeks after the event, even after the flooding has dissipated.

  • Residents Unprepared for Wildland Fires, Face Barriers in Implementing Prevention Measures

    Individual and social factors contribute to lack of preparedness, despite many available residential wildfire mitigation and educational programs.

  • Arizona Is Evicting a Saudi Alfalfa Farm, but the Thirsty Crop Isn’t Going Anywhere

    As Arizona struggles to adapt to a water shortage that has dried out farms and scuttled development plans, one company has emerged as a central villain. The agricultural company Fondomonte, which is owned by a Saudi Arabian conglomerate, has attracted criticism over the past several years for sucking up the state’s groundwater to grow alfalfa and then exporting that alfalfa to feed cows overseas. Now Arizona has cancelled one of the company’s leases and says it will not renew the others, but the decision will do little to solve a water shortage largely driven by irrigated agriculture.

  • Hurricane Ian Stirred Up Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Florida

    Hurricane Ian slammed into southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm in September last year, killing 149 people — the most deaths attributable to a single hurricane in the state in nearly a century. But the official death count didn’t include one of the most gruesome ways people died as a result of the storm: The state saw its highest number of vibriosis cases in more than 30 years.

  • Little Improvement in Mandated Disaster plans, Despite Required Updates

    Hurricanes, floods, heat waves and other disasters are striking the United States with increased severity and frequency, and since 2000 the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act has required states and local jurisdictions to have plans in place to reduce damages from such events. There has been only little improvement over time to these plans, in spite of regularly required updates.

  • Testing Seafloor Fiber Optic Cable as an Earthquake Early Warning System

    One of the biggest challenges for earthquake early warning systems (EEW) is the lack of seismic stations located offshore of heavily populated coastlines, where some of the world’s most seismically active regions are located. Researchers show how unused telecommunications fiber optic cable can be transformed for offshore EEW.

  • In Wildfire-Prone Areas, Homeowners Are Learning They’re Uninsurable

    Wildfires cause billions in home damage every year – and they are not only a problem in the U.S. West. Close to a quarter of the Americans now at risk of catastrophic wildfires live in the eastern half of the country, in places that may not be prepared to respond. Now, insurers no longer want to take on the risk.

  • Rising Seas Tighten Vise on Miami Even for People Who Are Not Flooded

    In coming decades, four out of five residents of Florida’s Miami-Dade County area may face disruption or displacement, whether they live in flood zones or not – and indirect pressures on many areas could outweigh direct inundation.

  • Flesh-Eating and Illness-Causing Bacteria in Florida’s Coastal Waters Following Hurricane Ian

    When Hurricane Ian struck southwest Florida in September 2022, it unleashed a variety of Vibrio bacteria that can cause illness and death in humans. Experts say that thepathogenic Vibrio bacteria are on the rise due to climate change, and it’s a ‘serious concern.’

  • Improving Strategy for Social Media Communications During Wildfires

    In the last 20 years, disasters have claimed more than a million lives and caused nearly $3 trillion in economic losses worldwide. Specifically examining wildfires, researchers contradict existing crisis communication theory that recommends Disaster relief organizations (DROs) speak with one voice during the entirety of wildfire response operations.

  • Are We Running Out of Water? Water Security Threatened by Droughts and Heatwaves Worldwide

    Increased demand for water due to global population growth, coupled with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, endangers our water security. Nonetheless, little is known about the relationship of water use by sectors and the occurrence of drought-heatwave events, particularly at the large scale.

  • Hurricanes Arriving Earlier Due to Climate Change

    Intense tropical cyclones are one of the most devastating natural disasters in the world due to torrential rains, flooding, destructive winds, and coastal storm surges. New research revealed that since the 1980s, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes (maximum wind speed greater than 131 miles per hour) have been arriving three to four days earlier with each passing decade of climate change.

  • AI-Driven Earthquake Forecasting Shows Promise in Trials

    A new attempt to predict earthquakes with the aid of artificial intelligence has raised hopes that the technology could one day be used to limit earthquakes’ impact on lives and economies. Researchers used AI algorithm to correctly predict 70% of earthquakes a week before they happened during a seven-month trial in China.

  • Mobile Positioning-Based Population Statistics Make Crisis Management More Effective

    Human and economic losses inflicted by disasters are still growing in the world in spite of technological advances. A recent case study from Estonia shows that mobile positioning data can play a key role in improving the availability of emergency assistance, reducing the risk to human life and health in crisis situations.