• Generating Power at the Point Where Seawater, River Water Meet

    It is theoretically possible to generate electricity through the movement of water in locations where seawater and river water meet. This type of technology is called osmotic power generation or blue energy. Though prototypes of this technology have been built, research is still underway to prove that this technology is scalable and reliable.

  • Europe Heat Wave: U.K. Records Hottest-Ever Temperature

    Western Europe continues to bake in extreme heat, with the UK recording a temperature over 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, and wildfires burning through French forests. Relief is expected later in the week.

  • Britain Isn’t Built to Withstand 40°C – Here Is Where Infrastructure Is Most Likely to Fail

    Climate change is intensifying heatwaves in the UK, an affluent country with the capacity and resources to adapt to warmer temperatures. Still, very little has been done over the past ten years to address overheating in buildings and the rising risk to critical infrastructure. The country is unprepared to handle temperatures of more than 38°C consistently for long periods, which is more common in Mediterranean countries.

  • Warning System for Dangerous Heavy Rain and Flash Floods

    In recent years, there have been repeated flash floods in Germany, some with devastating effects, which have been triggered by localized heavy rainfall. New project aims to provide prototypical warnings at different spatial scales, from the whole of Germany to individual federal states and down to the municipal level.

  • Water Resources to Become Less Predictable with Climate Change

    Many regions of Earth rely on the accumulation of snow during the winter and subsequent melting in the spring and summer for regulating runoff and streamflow. Water resources will fluctuate increasingly and become more and more difficult to predict in snow-dominated regions across the Northern Hemisphere.

  • U.S. Dominated by Remarkable Heat, Dryness

    June kicked off a very warm and dry start to meteorological summer for the U.S. The U.S. struck with 9 separate billion-dollar disasters so far this year. The average June temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 70.7 degrees F — 2.2 degrees above average.

  • Texans Asked to Conserve Energy to Protect the Power Grid for the Second Time in a Week

    Texans have been asked to turn up their thermostats and avoid using large appliances from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. The power grid operator said it does not expect rolling blackouts.

  • Rare Earths in Australia Must Be About More Than Mining

    REEs are a group of 17 metals—15 elements from the lanthanide series and two chemically similar elements, scandium and yttrium. Each has unique properties vital for a range of commercial and defense technologies, including batteries, high-powered magnets and electronic equipment. China’s rare-earth production exceeds that of the world’s second-largest producer, the U.S., by more than 100,000 tons per year. The U.S. still relies on China for most rare-earth imports. In some cases, like heavy REE processing, China has 100 percent control of the market.

  • Protecting the Coastline

    Barrier islands protect the coastline from storms, storm surge, waves and flooding. They can act as a buffer between the ocean and beachfront property. But as sea level rises, barrier islands retreat, or move closer toward the shore, which diminishes the buffer and protection. Oceanographers develop new model to better predict barrier island retreat.

  • Hurricane-Resilient Wind Turbines -- Inspired by Palm Trees

    Today’s offshore wind turbines can tower more than 490 feet above ground, their spinning blades churning out up to 8 megawatts (MW) each—about enough to power 4,000 homes in the U.S. But with their increasing size comes challenges. To make those turbines more hurricane-resilient, scientists are taking a cue from nature.

  • Climate Models May Underestimate Future Floods

    Climate models may be significantly underestimating how extreme precipitation will become in response to a rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a new study finds. It all comes down to raindrop physics, says one researcher: Even a slight change in the percentage of each falling raindrop to reach the Earth’s surface can mean the difference between a climate of light drizzles and one that creates unprecedented deluges.

  • Collapsed Bridge Helps Inform Future Flood-Resistant Designs

    In 2018, an unprecedented flooding collapsed the Misasa Railroad Bridge, some nine miles inland from Japan’s western coast. Such infrastructure failures will continue to increase as weather events become more extreme. But we can learn optimal design needs from the catastrophic problem of failed structures.

  • Bridges Under Pressure

    Can a bridge withstand an earthquake? One of the big unknowns is how far a bridge might settle from seismic shaking, especially if the shaking triggers a quicksand-like soil response called liquefaction.

  • Retrofitting U.S. Untapped Dams

    More than 92,000 dams populate the United States, but the vast majority - about 89,000 - do not generate electricity through hydropower. Researchers are assessing the viability of retrofitting some of these non-powered dams, which may add up to 12 gigawatts of additional electricity to the power grid.

  • Exploring Explosives for Expanding Geothermal Energy

    Geothermal energy has a lot of promise as a renewable energy source that is not dependent on the sun shining or the wind blowing, but it has some challenges to wide adoption. Sandia researchers test explosives and propellants to create geothermal power sites.