• MASS SHOOTINGAfter Mass Shootings Like Uvalde, National Gun Control Fails – but States Often Loosen Gun Laws

    By Christopher Poliquin

    Contrary to the view that nothing changes, state legislatures consider 15% more firearm bills the year after a mass shooting. Deadlier shootings – which receive more media attention – have larger effects. As impressive as this 15% increase in gun bills may sound, gun legislation can reduce gun violence only if it becomes law. And when it comes to enacting these bills into law, our research found that mass shootings do not regularly cause lawmakers to tighten gun restrictions. In fact, we found the opposite. Republican state legislatures pass significantly more gun laws that loosen restrictions on firearms after mass shootings.

  • WATER SECURITYDoes Drought-Prone California Need Another Reservoir?

    By Felicity Barringer

    For a century, California and the West have grappled with the job of storing water. The first half of the 20th century was the heyday of western dams; now many of them are aging; they were designed for the needs and values of another era. Is California “dammed out?” Or could increasing reservoir capacity help the state ride out the new era of aridification?

  • MASS SHOOTINGThe Buffalo Shooting Suspect Once Threatened a Mass Shooting. Why Wasn’t He Disarmed?

    By Jennifer Mascia

    The Buffalo mass shooter was taken into custody by police last June after he threatened to carry out a shooting at his Western New York high school. He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and released a couple of days later. None of that prevented him from buying a gun, or keeping the ones he already owned. New York has a red flag law, but it wasn’t invoked.

  • WATER SECURITYAs Lake Powell Dries Up, the U.S. Turns to Creative Accounting for a Short-Term Fix

    By Jake Bittle

    A new agreement calls for Western states to leave their drinking water in the reservoir — and act as if they didn’t.

  • WATER SECURITYWith Dwindling Water Supplies, the Timing of Rainfall Matters

    A new study shows it’s not how much extra water you give your plants, but when you give it that counts. This is especially true near Palm Springs, where the research team created artificial rainfall to examine the effects on plants over the course of two years.

  • WILDFIRESNew Wildfire Detection System Receives Funding Boost

    The high intensity of the recent fire seasons in Oregon, coupled with the increasing wildfire risk this year as approximately three-quarters of the state is now in severe drought conditions, has highlighted how critical a new project, aiming to help with the early detection and monitoring of wildfires, is — both for firefighters and the general public.

  • WATER SECURITYNew National Water Alliance Aims to Predict Water-Related Hazards, Manage U.S. Water Resources

    The new Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology (CIROH) is composed of 28 academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and government and industry partners across the United States and Canada, aiming to better predict water-related hazards and manage the nation’s water resources.

  • WATER SECURITYThe Financial Risks of Water Resilience Planning in California

    California’s Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative is a multi-billion dollar effort that encourages different water utilities and irrigation districts to work together to build shared infrastructure to reduce the effects of droughts, but a number of questions remain regarding how best to structure these agreements.

  • TEXAS POWERTexas Cold Snap Highlights Need for Improved Power Systems

    The greatest demand for electricity in Texas is traditionally during the hottest days of the year, when air conditioners turn on full blast to beat the heat. But in February 2021, an unusually long spell of cold weather took the region by surprise. With extreme weather events rising in frequency, the need for a prepared modern energy grid grows.

  • TEXAS POWERTexas Warns Firms They Could Lose State Contracts for Divesting from Fossil Fuels

    By Emily Hernandez

    A new law prohibits the state from contracting with or investing in companies that divest from oil, natural gas and coal companies.

  • WILDFIRESIdentifying “Double-Hazard” Zones for Wildfire in the West

    Rapidly growing communities in the American West’s forests and shrublands are nestled in zones where local soil and plant traits amplify the effect of climate change on wildfire hazards and lead to bigger burns.

  • ResilienceCommunity-Based Solutions to Enhance Disaster Resilience

    The NSF announced a $15.9 million in awards to teams to conduct and evaluate ready-to-implement pilot projects that address community-identified challenges. A significant portion of the funds was awarded to projects focusing on resilience to natural disasters in the context of equipping communities for greater preparedness to and response after disasters such as floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

  • Water SecurityCalifornia’s Water Supplies Are in Trouble as Climate Change Worsens Natural Dry Spells, Especially in the Sierra Nevada

    By Roger Bales

    California is preparing for a third straight year of drought, and officials are tightening limits on water use to levels never seen so early in the water year. Especially worrying is the outlook for the Sierra Nevada, the long mountain chain that runs through the eastern part of the state. California’s cities and its farms – which grow over a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruit and nuts – rely on runoff from the mountains’ snowpack for water.

  • Grid Resilience “People Should Probably Be Worried”: Texas Hasn’t Done Enough to Prevent Another Winter Blackout, Experts Say

    By Mitchell Ferman and Jon Schuppe

    Natural gas powers the majority of electricity in Texas, especially during winter. Some power companies say the state’s gas system is not ready for another deep freeze.

  • Infrastructure ProtectionProtecting Infrastructure from Hackers

    Two Midwestern universities lead an effort to form a coalition of regional research centers to work together to develop the region’s cyber defense talent with an eye to bolstering the defense of the region’s infrastructure against hackers.