• Accurately Predicting Impact of Storms, Sea-Level Rise on Coasts

    The combination of extreme storms and rises in sea levels as a result of global climate change are posing serious threats to coastal communities. The Forecasting Coastal Evolution (ForCE) model has the potential to be a game-changing advance in coastal evolution science.

  • Producing Geothermal Energy Diminishes Earthquake Risk

    Researchers studying the 5 July 2019 magnitude-7.1 earthquake in Ridgecrest, California found that none of the thousands recorded aftershocks in the region were seen in the Coso geothermal field, an area only about ten kilometers away. Now they know why: The development of geothermal energy reduces underground stress and mitigates risks of large earthquakes.

  • Are Buyouts a Viable Tool for Climate Adaptation?

    Sea level rise, and the resulting storm surges and floods, have made managed coastal retreat – the purposeful movement of people, buildings, and other infrastructure away from the coast – an option which more and more communities are considering. The need for adaptive solutions to the growing coastal challenges is clear, but questions remain as to where buyouts by the government of vacated property can and should fit in.

  • More Than 100 Deaths Tied to Heat Wave in Pacific Northwest

    More than 100 deaths in Oregon, Washington, and y British Columbia may have been caused by hyperthermia, authorities say, as the region continues to experience record-shattering high temperatures.

  • An Expert on Search and Rescue Robots Explains the Technologies Used in Disasters Like the Florida Condo Collapse

    Different types of robots may be used to search and rescue victims of disasters, such as the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida. A robotics experts says that the current state of the practice for searching the interior of rubble is to use either a small tracked vehicle, such as an Inkutun VGTV Extreme, which is the most commonly used robot for such situations, or a snakelike robot, such as the Active Scope Camera developed in Japan. Teledyne FLIR is sending a couple of tracked robots and operators to the site in Surfside, Florida.

  • June Ends with Exceptional Heat

    As an exceptional and dangerous heatwave is baking the Northwestern U.S. and Western Canada, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that so many records have been broken that it is difficult to keep track.

  • Disaster Response and Mitigation in an AI World

    Accurately forecasting the movement of natural disasters—wildfires, floods, hurricanes, windstorms, tornados, and earthquakes—gives first responders a jump, allowing them to take measures to reduce damage, conduct advanced resource planning, and increase infrastructure restoration time.

  • Using Intelligent Drones for Search and Rescue

    Finding people lost (or hiding) in the forest is difficult because of the tree cover. People in planes and helicopters have difficulty seeing through the canopy to the ground below, where people might be walking or even laying down. The same problem exists for thermal applications—heat sensors cannot pick up readings adequately through the canopy. New drone technology helps search and rescue teams locate missing persons - even in dense forests.

  • For Flood-Prone Cities, Seawalls Raise as Many Questions as They Answer

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose mission includes maintaining waterways and reducing disaster risks, has recently proposed building large and expensive seawalls to protect a number of U.S. cities, neighborhoods and shorelines from coastal storms and rising seas. As a scientist who studies the evolution and development of coastlines and the impacts of sea level rise, I believe that large-scale seawalls, which cost billions of dollars to build, are almost certainly a short-term strategy that will protect only a few cities, and will protect only selected portions of those cities effectively.

  • Why Did the Miami Apartment Building Collapse? And Are Others in Danger?

    It is too early to tell what caused the collapse of the Champlain Towers South Tower, but the following causes are now being examined: a progressive collapse as a result of a failure of a primary structural element, which then causes failure of adjoining members; the building was constructed on reclaimed wetlands, which may have been sinking; there was also construction work ongoing nearby, which could have disturbed the foundations; if there was a reduction in the capacity of the soil to support these loads, such as in the event of a sinkhole, there would be nothing underpinning the building.

  • A Simple Simulation Helps Coastal Towns Plan for Rising Sea Levels

    Climate change causes sea level rise and increasingly strong coastal storms. Knowing how water moves through coastal structures can yield important insights for residents and planners.

  • Natural Hazards Threaten 57% of U.S. Structures

    As a result of increasing temperatures and environmental changes, more than half of the structures in the contiguous United States are exposed to potentially devastating natural hazards—such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires.

  • Role of Managed Retreat as a Climate Change Response

    Managed retreat—the climate adaptation response of moving people and property out of harm’s way— is becomig more appealing as one of several responses to sea-level rise. Researchers explore what it would take for managed retreat to be supportive of people and their priorities. The key is to consider retreat alongside other responses like coastal defenses, and not just as an option of last resort.

  • “Managed Retreat” Can Reinvent Cities While Protecting Lives When Climate Change Floods, Burns or Bakes the Land

    Record-breaking heat waves; megadroughts, drying fresh-water sources; hotter and more frequent wildfires; intensifying hurricanes — this is what climate change looks like, and communities need to be prepared. Sometimes small adaptations can help reduce the heat or minimize the damage. But when the risks get too high, one strategy that has to be considered is managed retreat – the purposeful movement of people, buildings and other infrastructure away from highly hazardous places.

  • Texas Must Address Groundwater Future: Study

    Long-term water security is essential for the future of Texas, and the state acutely needs a common law system that can balance world-scale agricultural activity, industrial development and urban growth while also protecting private property rights, according to new research.