• Bipartisan Legislation Addresses Dams’ Safety, Hydropower

    There are more than 90,000 dams in the U.S., including 6,000 “high-hazard” dams with poor, unsatisfactory, or unknown safety ratings, posing threats to life and property. Hydropower is responsible for 6 percent of electricity production in the U.S.— and more than 90 percent of the U.S. current electricity storage capacity — but the dams which generate this power are aging and need upgrades.

  • Machine Learning Helps in Earthquake Risk Prediction

    When that solid ground turns to liquid — as sometimes happens during earthquakes — it can topple buildings and bridges. The phenomenon is known as liquefaction, and it was a major feature of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. New framework applies big data, supercomputing to soil liquefaction.

  • Wildfires Threaten California’s Power Grid

    Wildfires blazed through California, Arizona, and Oregon, driven by winds and a lack of humidity.. Death Valley in California’s Mohave Desert hit 128 degrees Fahrenheit. Utility officials in Oregon were keeping a weary eye on the Bootleg Fire which is raging out of control in southern Oregon and threatening Path 66 — a vital electric line corridor linking California with the Oregon power grid. The blaze in Oregon threatens the power lines which carry power to California.

  • Most Buildings Were Designed for an Earlier Climate – Here’s What Will Happen as Global Warming Accelerates

    Architects and engineers design buildings and other structures, like bridges, to operate within the parameters of the local climate. The structures are built using materials and following design standards which can withstand the range of temperatures, rainfall, snow, and wind which are expected, plus any geological issues such as earthquakes, subsidence, and ground water levels. When any of these parameters are exceeded, chances are some aspects of the structure will fail.

  • An Urgent NATO Priority: Preparing to Protect Civilians

    Russia’s hybrid warfare approach calls for attacking the populations of Russia’s adversaries not through WWII-like carpet bombing, but rather with a combination of disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, supporting proxy forces, and backing terrorist attacks. “Should NATO prepare for this scenario? Absolutely,” Victoria Holt and Marl Keenan write.

  • Creating More Resilient Supply Chains Through Nature-Inspired Design

    Supply chains work a lot like food webs in natural ecosystems, in which biodiversity allows for adaptation during disruptions. The analogy turned out to be relevant particularly in looking at “black swan” events, which are unpredictable and hard to protect against—and for which adaptation, not prevention, is the main defense.

  • Detecting Floods from Space Using Artificial Intelligence

    Observing the Earth from space provides valuable information for flood-related decision-making on the ground.

  • 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.

  • U.S. Freight Railroads Bolstered Supply Chain Resilience during Pandemic

    Despite the particularly volatile, pandemic-driven period, railroads met consumers’ and businesses’ unexpected surge of demands, reliably delivering goods such as agricultural products, personal protective equipment and online retail merchandise and ultimately highlighting the rail industry’s role as an essential component of the U.S. economy.

  • 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.

  • Ransomware Cyberattack Hits Hundreds of U.S. Businesses

    U.S. IT company Kaseya urged its customers to shut down their servers after hackers smuggled ransomware onto its network. Such attacks infiltrate widely used software and demand ransom to regain access. The REvil gang, a major Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate, appears to be behind the attack.

  • Florida Condo Collapse – Searching for Answers about What Went Wrong in Surfside Can Improve Building Regulation

    How does a building stand for 40 years and then collapse, perhaps with little or no warning? Why did it collapse so that part of the building stayed up, sparing many lives? It might take months or longer for engineers to find answers to these questions. But those reports, when they do come, are important because engineers can use them to improve building codes and other safety measures – and hopefully prevent future collapses.

  • Supply Chains Have a Cyber Problem

    If it wasn’t clear before the cyberattacks on, JBS S.A. and Colonial Pipeline, it’s now painfully clear that the intersection of cyberattacks and supply chains creates a wicked new form of risk—and the stakes are as much about national security as they are economics.

  • 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.