• Sediment Movement During Hurricane Harvey Could Negatively Impact Future Flooding

    Enormous amounts of sediment, or sand and mud, flowed through Houston waterways during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, due in part to modifications made by humans to bayous, rivers and streams over the past century. Harvey was the largest rainfall event in U.S. history, and it moved 27 million cubic meters of sediment, or 16 Astrodomes, through Houston waterways and reservoirs. This could seriously impact future flooding events and be costly to the City of Houston.

  • Scientists Are Helping Cities Adapt to Extreme Heat

    Extreme heat is dangerous and is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths, and in a warming world, extreme heat is becoming the norm, not the exception. Scientists are working to mitigate the effects of extreme heat by developing strategies to build heat resilience which would allow communities to adapt to and thrive in a warming climate.

  • Wildfires Are Much Worse Than a Sign of Climate Change

    Summer headlines have screamed of climate extremes: Record temperatures, an ocean heat wave, and rampant wildfires. The fires present a dual problem: Not only are they a symptom of climate change — becoming bigger, hotter, and more common in regions where they can affect large population centers — but they also make the crisis worse. By burning vast layers of partially decomposed vegetable matter called peat, fires like those in Canada release even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

  • Climate Change and U.S. Property Insurance: A Stormy Mix

    Accelerating risks and damage from climate change are spurring private insurers in the United States to limit coverage in a growing number of areas, thus imposing mounting stress on local communities and straining the country’s overall economic health.

  • Towns Could Save Themselves from Wildfire — If They Knew About This Money

    There is a huge pot of federal money available to communities across the country — an unprecedented amount that would allow towns to quickly tackle work that otherwise would take decades. But local leaders in many small towns say they have not heard of the program, and most have not drafted the protection plans needed to apply for grants – in fact, less than 10 percent of communities facing wildfire risk have a protection plan.

  • Climate-Fueled Wildfires Lead to Rethink on Fire Tactics

    Climate change is making wildfires more frequent and more destructive, and long-time firefighting strategies are no longer working. Scientists are calling for a radical rethink of how we fight wildfires.

  • Feds Ease Up on Colorado River Restrictions — for Now

    The water shortage crisis on the Colorado River is improving, but it’s far from over. The water levels in the river’s two main reservoirs have begun to stabilize, lessening the need for states in the Southwest to cut their water usage. This year’s wet winter helped save the river from collapse, but a reckoning is on the horizon.

  • Geoengineering Sounds Like a Quick Climate Fix, but Without More Research and Guardrails, It’s a Costly Gamble − with Potentially Harmful Results

    The underlying problem has been known for decades: Fossil-fuel vehicles and power plants, deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices have been putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the Earth’s systems can naturally remove, and that’s heating up the planet. Geoengineering, theoretically, aims to restore that balance, either by removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or reflecting solar energy away from Earth. But changing Earth’s complex and interconnected climate system may have unintended consequences.

  • A First: Hurricane Hilary Triggers Southern California’s First Tropical Storm Warning Ever

    Hurricane Hilary headed for Mexico’s Baja peninsula as a powerful Category 4 storm on Aug. 18, 2023, and was forecast to speed into Southern California at or near tropical storm strength as early as Aug. 20. For the first time ever, the National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for large parts of Southern California.

  • Hurricanes Have Become Deadlier, Especially for Socially Vulnerable

    Following a tropical cyclone, deaths can result from several major causes, including deaths from injuries, infectious and parasitic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neuropsychiatric conditions, and respiratory diseases.  Over recent decades, there has been a large variation in cyclone-related excess deaths by hurricane, state, county, year, and social vulnerability across the United States, with 83 percent of hurricane-related deaths occurring more recently and 94 percent in more socially vulnerable counties.

  • How the Caribbean Is Building Climate Resilience

    Small island nations in the Caribbean are among the countries in the world most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and stronger and more frequent storms. Governments in the region are taking steps to combat it, but climate finance remains a challenge as Caribbean nations struggle with heavy debt burdens, despite receiving some regional and international support. 

  • Develop 3D Printable Robots for Search-and-Rescue Operations

    Researchers are developing a small and flexible 3D-printed robots with integrated fluidic circuits that can be rapidly fabricated for specific disasters. These robots can aid rescue efforts by exploring areas that pose potential hazards to humans or are otherwise inaccessible, including earthquake debris, flooded regions, and even nuclear accident sites.

  • Multi-Billion-Dollar Risk to Economic Activity from Climate Extremes Affecting Ports

    More than $122 billion of economic activity - $81 billion in international trade - is at risk from the impact of extreme climate events, according to new research. Systemic impacts – those risks faced due to knock-on effects within global shipping, trade and supply chains network - will hit ports and economies around the world, even if the local ports are not directly affected by extreme events.

  • Record-Warm Sea Surface Temperatures to Cause “Above Normal” Atlantic Hurricane Season

    Scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have increased their prediction for the ongoing 2023 Atlantic hurricane season from a near-normal level of activity to an above-normal level of activity. The reason: current ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, are likely to counterbalance the usually limiting atmospheric conditions associated with the ongoing El Nino event.

  • FEMA Maps Said They Weren’t in a Flood Zone. Then Came the Rain.

    The most common reference for flood risk are the flood insurance rate maps, also known as 100-year floodplain maps, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, produces. They designate so-called special flood hazard areas that have a roughly 1 percent chance of inundation in any given year. Properties within those zones are subject to more stringent building codes and regulations that, among other things, require anyone with a government-backed mortgage to carry flood insurance. Flaws in federal flood maps leave millions unprepared. Some are trying to fix that.