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

    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.

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

    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.

  • Protecting 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.

  • Flood Sensors to Support NYC Real-Time Flood Monitoring, Response

    In the face of climate change, which is likely to increase the frequency and severity of floods, NYC needs access to real-time data providing critical information on when and where flooding occurs.

  • Project to Look Below the Surface to Make NYC More Resilient

    Hurricanes Ida and Henri caused flooding in New York City, demonstrating the need for comprehensive, quickly accessible data about the spatial relationships between utility conduits, water and waste systems, fuel transit pipelines, transportation tunnels, and other infrastructure beneath our feet.

  • Planning for the Future in a Changing Climate

    How can companies, for example, utilities, know how changes in climate will impact their assets and their business strategy? And what can they do to identify and address issues before they affect customers? A partnership between the largest state public power entity in the U.S., the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and Argonne National Laboratory will enable the utility to better assess how its assets and business may be affected by extreme weather and other hazards.

  • A 20-Foot Sea Wall Won’t Save Miami – How Living Structures Can Help Protect the Coast and Keep the Paradise Vibe

    There’s no question that the city is at increasing risk of flooding as sea level rises and storms intensify with climate change. But the sea wall the Army Corps is proposing – protecting only 6 miles of downtown and the financial district from a storm surge – can’t save Miami and Dade County. There are more effective – and cheaper solutions.

  • Mapping How Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Strategies Impact Economies, Floodwaters

    Sea levels are expected to rise by almost seven feet in the Bay Area by 2100. New research shows how traditional approaches to combating sea-level rise can create a domino effect of environmental and economic impacts for nearby communities.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • New York Defines Illegal Firearms Use as a “Public Nuisance” in Bid to Pierce Gun Industry’s Powerful Liability Shield

    New York will soon test that notion that calling the illegal use of firearms a “public nuisance” could bring an end to the gun industry’s immunity from civil lawsuits. I’ve been researching lawsuits against the gun industry for over 20 years, and I doubt that the New York statute would end the gun industry’s immunity from liability. It is even less clear whether the statute will do much to curb gun violence.

  • 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.

  • Why Did the Miami Apartment Building Collapse? And Are Others in Danger?

    It is too early to tell what caused the collapse of the Champlain Towers South Tower, but the following causes are now being examined: a progressive collapse as a result of a failure of a primary structural element, which then causes failure of adjoining members; the building was constructed on reclaimed wetlands, which may have been sinking; there was also construction work ongoing nearby, which could have disturbed the foundations; if there was a reduction in the capacity of the soil to support these loads, such as in the event of a sinkhole, there would be nothing underpinning the building.

  • “Red Flag” Gun Laws and State Efforts to Block Local Legislation

    Red flag” gun laws—which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from a person at risk of harming themselves or others—are gaining attention at the state and federal levels, but are under scrutiny by legislators who deem them unconstitutional. Legal scholars outline how such laws can reduce gun violence and still protect constitutional rights.

  • Texas Must Address Groundwater Future: Study

    Long-term water security is essential for the future of Texas, and the state acutely needs a common law system that can balance world-scale agricultural activity, industrial development and urban growth while also protecting private property rights, according to new research.