• Increasingly Frequent Wildfires Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change: Study

    New research strengthens the case that climate change has been the main cause of the growing amount of land in the western U.S. that has been destroyed by large wildfires over the past two decades.

  • 2021’s Climate Disasters Revealed an East-West Weather Divide, with One Side of the Country Too Wet, the Other Dangerously Dry

    Alongside a lingering global pandemic, the year 2021 was filled with climate disasters, some so intense they surprised even the scientists who study them. Many of these extreme weather events have been linked to human-caused climate change, and they offer a glimpse of what to expect in a rapidly warming world. In the U.S., something in particular stood out: a sharp national precipitation divide, with one side of the country too wet, the other too dry.

  • Has Winter Blown Off Course?

    What in the world is going on in the West? Some say that climate change has affected this year’s winter in the Western region of the country, while others are wondering what the lack of snowpack might mean for regional water supply, which is already in a precarious state.

  • New Tool Pinpoints Natural Disaster Risk Down to County Level

    NOAA has released an innovative mapping tool that provides county-level information on natural disaster hazards across the United States. This new feature provides significant enhancements to the state-level data on NOAA’s Billion-Dollar Disasters website.

  • Tornadoes and Climate Change: What a Warming World Means for Deadly Twisters and the Type of Storms That Spawn Them

    The deadly tornado outbreak that tore through communities from Arkansas to Illinois on the night of Dec. 10-11, 2021, was so unusual in its duration and strength, particularly for December, that a lot of people including the U.S. president are asking what role climate change might have played – and whether tornadoes will become more common in a warming world. Both questions are easier asked than answered, but research is offering new clues.

  • On the Move: How Nations Address Climate-Driven Migration

    One of the most consequential human responses to climate change is and will continue to be the mass movement of people. Rising temperatures which reduce agricultural opportunities can lead to mass migrations away from struggling communities. As the environmental impacts of climate change increase in scope and severity, more and more people will move to new places to preserve or enhance their lives and livelihoods. How do nations address, and plan to address, the growing wave of migrants fleeing their home countries in search for better living conditions?

  • Storm Drains Keep Swallowing People During Floods

    An alarming number of people (especially children) have drowned after disappearing into storm drains during floods. The deadly problem should be easy for federal, state and local government agencies to fix, but tragedy strikes again and again.

  • Texas Energy Regulators, Gas Industry Try to Reassure the Public That the State’s Power Grid Is Ready for Winter

    As state regulators and the companies that power the grid take steps to avoid another catastrophe like February’s winter storm, climate experts say this winter will likely be milder.

  • Helping Calculate Likelihood of Worst-Case Scenarios

    If you had to guess, what would you think is most likely to end all life on Earth: a meteor strike, climate change, or a solar flare? New statistical method could help accurately analyze low-probability, high-risk events such as earthquakes, pandemics, or meteor strikes.

  • Community-Based Solutions to Enhance Disaster Resilience

    The NSF announced a $15.9 million in awards to teams to conduct and evaluate ready-to-implement pilot projects that address community-identified challenges. A significant portion of the funds was awarded to projects focusing on resilience to natural disasters in the context of equipping communities for greater preparedness to and response after disasters such as floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

  • Ground Improvement Technique Ahead of Earthquakes

    Helping engineers better understand and predict the “liquefaction” hazard during earthquakes and more reliably mitigate it.

  • Preventing and Responding to High-Consequence Biological Threats

    A new report offers actionable recommendations for the international community to bolster prevention and response capabilities for high-consequence biological events.

  • The U.K. Government’s Preparedness for COVID-19: Risk-Management Lessons

    A new report from the U.K. National Audit Office (NAO) examines the government’s risk analysis, planning, and mitigation strategies prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report notes that the pandemic has exposed a vulnerability to whole-system emergencies – that is, emergencies which are so broad that they require the engagement of the entire system.

  • Balance of Power—Building a Resilient Electric Grid

    Events such as blackouts and outages are increasing in frequency as the nation’s infrastructure ages and climate change leads to extreme weather events. Hotter, wetter summers and harsher winters require more reliance on heating and cooling utilities, placing higher stress on the nation’s electric grid. Newtechnology can ‘help keep the lights on’ during emergencies.

  • Microgrids May Hold the Key to Grid Resilience

    The aging energy grid is being pushed to the breaking point. Power outages from extreme weather alone cost anywhere from $2 billion to $77 billion per year. And some isolated communities still rely on diesel generators for electricity, since powerlines don’t reach them. Grid expansion isn’t an option—in most cases, the economics don’t make sense. When the main grid falls short, the right mix of renewables offers local, low-carbon power.