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  • News

    Intense storms provide the first test of powerful new hurricane forecast tools

    This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has already proven to be active and deadly. Powerful hurricanes such as Harvey, Irma and Maria are also providing a testing ground for new tools that scientists hope will save lives by improving forecasts in various ways, from narrowing a storm’s future path to capturing swift changes in the intensity of storm winds.

    Some of the tools that debuted...

    09/21/2017 - 08:07 Earth, Climate
  • Science & the Public

    How hurricanes and other devastating disasters spur scientific research

    Every day, it seems like there’s a new natural disaster in the headlines. Hurricane Harvey inundates Texas. Hurricane Irma plows through the Caribbean and the U.S. south, and Jose is hot on its heels. A deadly 8.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico. Wildfires blanket the western United States in choking smoke.

    While gripping tales of loss and heroism rightly fill the news, another story...

    09/12/2017 - 17:15 Earth, Oceans, Science & Society
  • News

    Hurricane frequency dropped during 17th century ‘Little Ice Age’

    Using records of ships wrecked by Atlantic hurricanes dating as far back as the days of Christopher Columbus, researchers have extended the hurricane record by hundreds of years. The work reveals that hurricane frequency plummeted 75 percent between 1645 and 1715, a time called the Maunder Minimum when the sun dimmed to its lowest recorded brightness.

    “We didn’t go looking for the...

    03/07/2016 - 15:00 Climate, Oceans, Archaeology
  • Science Stats

    Hurricane reports ignore indirect deaths

    Hurricanes and other tropical storms are deadlier than just surging water and howling wind. Close to half of all storm fatalities are caused indirectly, new research shows.

    Storm reports typically include only deaths directly attributable to a storm’s physical forces, such as drowning in floodwater or being struck by airborne debris. Incidental deaths are excluded, such as those that...

    09/21/2015 - 14:23 Climate, Science & Society
  • News

    Hurricane’s tiny earthquakes could help forecasters

    As Sandy raged, the ground trembled.

    Rumbles picked up by seismometers during Hurricane Sandy’s trip up the U.S. East Coast in 2012 originated from the storm’s eye, seismologists report in a paper to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. Listening for these rumbles could help meteorologists remotely monitor air pressure changes inside hurricanes and better...

    08/25/2015 - 08:00 Climate, Earth, Oceans
  • News

    Katrina’s legacy: Refining hurricane forecasting

    Ten years ago, the sea and sky rallied to unleash one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. During the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the most active season on record, 27 named storms —from Arlene to Zeta — swirled into existence. By far the most destructive was Hurricane Katrina.

    Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and caused an unprecedented $108 billion in damage from the...

    08/23/2015 - 05:30 Climate, Oceans
  • Museums

    Exhibit lays out principles for disaster-resistant structures

    Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires — no part of the United States is immune to natural disasters. While no one can prevent these hazards, people can prepare for them. “Designing for Disaster” at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., showcases how scientists, engineers and government officials work together to guard the country’s infrastructure against Mother...

    12/02/2014 - 12:30 Earth, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Children can suffer emotional wounds in a disaster

    On April 19, 1995, an unemployed security guard with an antigovernment vendetta detonated more than two tons of nitrogen fertilizer mixed with fuel at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. A photographer captured a firefighter emerging from the rubble, his thick arms cradling the broken body of an infant, one of 19 babies and toddlers who lost their lives...

    12/01/2014 - 12:53 Mental Health, Human Development
  • Reviews & Previews

    Pets’ rights explored in 'Citizen Canine'

    Citizen CanineDavid GrimmPublicAffairs, $26.99

    Cats and dogs have become furry little children in the eyes of many Americans. Pet owners call themselves “mom” or “dad.” Some celebrate their animals’ birthdays and spend thousands of dollars on toys, food and veterinary care. Others even risk their lives for pets, as when owners refused to enter shelters that wouldn’t take in...

    05/31/2014 - 19:30 Animals, Science & Society
  • Deadliest hurricane in western hemisphere

    The deadliest storm in the history of the Western Hemisphere, hurricane Flora, was unusual in its slow, wavering pace and the force it maintained over land. Usually hurricanes lose their force when they blow across land…. Then as they move again over open water, they sometimes can regenerate their force. For nearly five days the giant mass of whirlwinds hovered over Cuba, the longest a...

    09/20/2013 - 09:00 Earth