• Category 6-level Hurricanes Are Already Here, a New Study Says

    Some U.S. scientists are making the case that the current storm classification no longer captures the intensity of recent hurricanes. They argue for extending the current hurricane rating system, the Saffir-Simpson scale, with a new category for storms that have winds topping 192 miles per hour, saying that the world has already seen storms that would qualify as Category 6s. But what would change if we added a number to the hurricane scale?

  • Wood Is Making a Comeback in Construction

    In the past 150 years, as cities and skyscrapers have boomed, wood has been eclipsed by newer materials such as concrete and steel. Experts say that we shouldn’t accept the dominance of the steel-and-concrete jungle just yet. Thanks to the work of engineers, our oldest building material is experiencing a revival — one that can even withstand earthquakes.

  • Commercial Advanced Nuclear Fuel Arrives in Idaho Lab for Testing

    For the first time in two decades, Idaho National Laboratory, the nation’s nuclear energy laboratory, has received a shipment of used next-generation light water reactor fuel from a commercial nuclear power plant to support research and testing.

  • U.S. Disrupts Botnet China Used to Conceal Hacking of Critical Infrastructure

    In December 2023, the FBI disrupted a botnet of hundreds of U.S.-based small office/home office (SOHO) routers hijacked by People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-sponsored hackers. The Chinese government hackers used privately-owned SOHO routers infected with the “KV Botnet” malware to conceal the PRC origin of further hacking activities directed against U.S. critical infrastructure and the critical infrastructure of other foreign victims.

  • Is the Southwest Too Dry for a Mining Boom?

    Critical minerals for the clean energy transition are abundant in the Southwest, but the dozens of mines proposed to access them will require vast sums of water, something in short supply in the desert.

  • What Sets the Recent Japan Earthquake Apart from Others?

    On Jan. 1, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the western side of Japan on the Noto Peninsula, killing over 200 people. Japan is prone to earthquakes, including a magnitude 9.1 earthquake in 2011 that triggered a tsunami and killed almost 20,000 people. Geophysicist William Frank discusses how a recent earthquake in Japan relates to an earthquake swarm in the region.

  • Clusters of Atmospheric Rivers Amp Up California Storm Damages

    When multiple atmospheric rivers hit California back-to-back, the economic damage from resulting rain and snowfall is three to four times higher than predicted from individual storms, a Stanford study finds. The insight could help water managers and disaster planners better prepare for future impacts of climate change.

  • Creating the Self-Healing Grid of the Future

    Self-healing electrical grids: It may sound like a concept from science fiction, with tiny robots or some sentient tech crawling around fixing power lines, but in a reality not far from fiction, a team of researchers is bringing this idea to life. What’s not hard to imagine is the potential value of a self-healing grid, one able to adapt and bounce back to life, ensuring uninterrupted power even when assailed by a hurricane or a group of bad guys.

  • Central Asia Key to Breaking China's Rare Earth Monopoly

    U.S. officials hoping to break China’s near monopoly on the production of rare earth elements needed for many cutting-edge technologies should engage the governments of Central Asia to develop high concentrations of REEs found in the region, says a new report.

  • Using Idle Trucks to Power the Grid with Clean Energy

    After analyzing energy demand on Alberta’s power grid during rush hour, researchers propose an innovative way to replenish electrical grids with power generated from fuel cells in trucks. Idled electric vehicles can act as mobile generators and help power overworked and aging electricity grids.

  • From New York to Jakarta, Land in Many Coastal Cities Is Sinking Faster Than Sea Levels Are Rising

    Sea level rise has already put coastal cities on notice thanks to increasing storm surges and even sunny day flooding at high tide. These challenges will continue to grow because global projections point to a mean sea level rise of at least one foot above year-2000 levels in a few decades. many cities are facing another factor making them even more vulnerable to rising waters: land subsidence.

  • Global Groundwater Depletion Is Accelerating, but Is Not Inevitable

    Groundwater is rapidly declining across the globe, often at accelerating rates. Researchers raise the alarm over declining water resources, but offer instructive examples of where things are going well, and how groundwater depletion can be solved.

  • Where Damaging Earthquakes Are Most Likely to Occur in U.S.

    Scientists recently revealed the latest National Seismic Hazard Model, showing that nearly 75% of the United States could experience a damaging earthquake, emphasizing seismic hazards span a significant part of the country.

  • Predicting Flood Risk from Hurricanes in a Warming Climate

    Coastal cities and communities will face more frequent major hurricanes with climate change in the coming years. Using New York as a test case, a model developed by MIT scientists predicts flooding at the level experienced during Hurricane Sandy will occur roughly every 30 years by the end of this century.

  • Groundwater Levels Are Falling Worldwide — but There Are Solutions

    The world’s groundwater aquifers are taking a beating. Decades of unrestrained pumping by thirsty farms and fast-growing cities have drained these underground rock beds, which hold more than 95 percent of the planet’s drinkable water. New research shows how to protect the aquifers that hold most of the world’s fresh water.