• Bringing the Power of AI to help Firefighters

    With $5 million in support from the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator program, researchers will bring the power of AI to help firefighters strategize how best to plan these controlled burns, as well as manage unexpected blazes.

  • Improving Use of Flood Insurance

    DHS S&T and partners will study improvements to flood insurance, identifying ways to expand the use of flood insurance to reduce the financial losses suffered by homeowners and creditors in future storms.

  • Avoiding Water Bankruptcy in the Drought-Troubled Southwest: What the U.S. and Iran Can Learn from Each Other

    In August, the U.S. government issued its first ever water shortage declaration for the Colorado River, triggering water use restrictions. The fundamental problem is the unchecked growth of water consumption. The Southwest is in an “anthropogenic drought” created by the combination of natural water variability, climate change and human activities that continuously widen the water supply-demand gap.

  • Big Fires Demand a Big Response: How 1910’s Big Burn Can Help Us Think Smarter about Fighting Wildfires and Living with Fire

    The aftermath of 1910 Big Burn in Northwestern U.S., the Rockies, and parts of British Columbia, led to bold decision-making in forest and fire management techniques and directives. Now, more than a century later, the 21st century’s big burns are a signal that things have gone terribly wrong.

  • Long Power Outages After Disasters Aren’t Inevitable – but to Avoid Them, Utilities Need to Think Differently

    Americans are becoming painfully aware that U.S. energy grids are vulnerable to extreme weather events. Hurricanes in the east, wildfires in the west, ice storms, floods and even landslides can trigger widespread power shortages. And climate change is likely making many of these extreme events more frequent, more severe or both.

  • Restoring Power During Severe Storms

    Recovery, guided by common policies from FEMA and industry, varies with respect to the severity of disruptive events. The failures under study were induced by a wide range of disruptive events from hurricanes, nor’easters, and thunder and winter storms from 2011-2019, affecting nearly 12 million people.

  • Earthquake Expert Who Advised the Haiti Government in 2010: “Why Were Clear Early Warning Signs Missed?”

    There have been very few improvements in Haiti’s seismic early warning systems between the 2010 and the 14 August 2021 earthquakes. For example, a seismic network was installed in some private residences in different locations in Haiti. These data can be easily and freely accessed online. But this network has not been efficiently used for early warning alerts. A quick examination of the data revealed that at least two strong motions (with magnitude 4.0 or above) were recorded before August 14 along the Enriquillo Plantain Garden Fault. So the warning signs were there, but nobody – it seems – was looking out for them.

  • Blocking the Sun to Control Global Warming

    It sounds like something out of a bad science fiction movie — artificially blocking sunlight to keep global warming from overheating the Earth. Nevertheless, a small cadre of researchers is studying the option — so that if humankind ever needs to use it, it will be an informed decision.

  • Hitting a Bullseye with Closed Eyes

    Recently NASA updated its forecast of the chances that the asteroid Bennu, one of the two most hazardous known objects in our solar system, will hit Earth in the next 300 years. New calculations put the odds at 1 in 1,750, a figure slightly higher than previously thought. Two statisticians put into perspective the chances of asteroid Bennu striking Earth in next 300 years.

  • Improving Florida’s Hurricane Resilience: Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Infrastructure

    When events like tropical storms or other unforeseen crises disrupt a state’s primary supply of gasoline and diesel, emergency fleet efforts can become hampered as access to fuel is restricted or completely unavailable.

  • Hurricane Ida and Deadly Flash Floods in New York City

    On August 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm. In New York City, water inundated subways and basements in a matter of hours. So far, at least 82 storm-related deaths have been reported. Experts are now trying to make sense of Hurricane Ida, its damages, and just how unexpected they were.

  • Science’s Answers to Flood Disaster

    On 14 July 2021, between 60 and 180 mm of rain fell in the Eifel region in just 22 hours - an amount that would otherwise have fallen in several months and which led to catastrophic flooding. The events were far more destructive than existing models had predicted.

  • Studying Road Resilience to Sea Level Rise

    After a summer of high heat, steady sea level rise and devastating hurricanes, coastal roads have continued to take a severe beating resulting in endless wear and tear. Because these roadways have become increasingly vulnerable, study how and why coastal hazards like excessive flooding are causing roads to crack and crumble and find ways to protect them.

  • New Flood Risk Prediction Tool “Map” Out Disaster Mitigation Plans

    Easy to understand visualization of flood risk could enable informed and scientific sustainable planning by policy makers and vulnerable communities.

  • Threat of Catastrophic Supervolcano Eruptions Ever-Present

    Supervolcanoes remain active and hazardous for thousands of years after a super-eruption, prompting the need for a rethink of how these potentially catastrophic events are predicted.