Taxonomy term

natural disasters

A tsunami by many other names

Storm-triggered waves have been recognized and recorded around the world, including the U.S. where, in addition to the Great Lakes, they have occurred in New England, on the West Coast and on the Gulf Coast. In some parts of the world, they are common enough to have special names. In Croatia, the phenomenon is called Šćiga; in Malta, it is Milghuba; in Spain, Rissaga; in Japan, Abiki; and in Finland, Seebär. Scientists everywhere call them meteorological tsunamis, or meteotsunamis. Here are a few notable occurrences:

18 Feb 2014

2013 Front Range Flooding: An Ecological Perspective

The 2013 Colorado floods may have been a record-setting event in human terms, but scientists and resource managers emphasize that what happened along the Front Range was a natural occurrence.

26 Jan 2014

When water, gravity and geology collide: Firsthand observations of the impacts of the 2013 Colorado floods

Around almost every bend in the road on our tour of the Colorado Front Range and points downstream in the weeks after the September floods, the physical devastation confronted us like a punch in the gut. Even though we had all seen graphic images on the news, observing the destruction firsthand, especially from a geologic perspective, was truly stunning and humbling.

21 Jan 2014

Disaster strikes along Colorado's Front Range

In early September last year, the weather along Colorado’s Front Range, the urbanized corridor paralleling the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, swung from one extreme to another. The first week of the month was exceptionally hot and dry, with high temperatures averaging 7 to 9 degrees Celsius above normal. For three days in a row, the city of Denver matched or exceeded its record high temperatures, according to National Weather Service (NWS) data.

20 Jan 2014

Be prepared: Navigating the risks of hazards research

Just over a year ago, in a cavernous room of the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., hundreds of geophysicists, seismologists, volcanologists and climate scientists, as well as a few journalists and a lawyer or two, sat transfixed as a panel discussed the manslaughter conviction of six scientists and a public official in Italy a few months earlier.

11 Dec 2013

Giant quake sloshed fjords half a world away

On the morning of March 11, 2011, Leif Hus and his wife Gry Melas Hus were having breakfast in their kitchen overlooking Sognefjord in Leikanger, Norway. It was low tide on a calm and windless day with near-freezing temperatures. As they stood, coffee cups in hand, looking out the window at the fjord, they saw an unusual wave roll in. The wave continued to rise, surging over the seawall into their backyard before receding back into the fjord. Then another wave surged in, and another. As the water rose, engulfing the ladder on their dock, Leif grabbed his cell phone and started filming.

02 Dec 2013

Bailing through the Boulder flood: One neighborhood's experience

In lieu of doing a "year in review" issue this year, EARTH asked our staff and some frequent contributors to write a short commentary on something that grabbed their attention in 2013. We gave everyone carte blanche. What follows is a collection of extremely varied, often very personal insights into how the planet impacted each individual. First up? The experience of EARTH's associate editor and her family in dealing with the Colorado floods.

18 Nov 2013

A hurricane by any other name: How Sandy changed the way we issue storm warnings

As last year's Superstorm Sandy bore down on the Northeast, storm watchers could tell it would be worse than anything seen in decades, but the storm warnings were missed by many. One disconnect came from strict protocols about how federal agencies issue warnings. Since the devastating storm, federal officials have been revising their protocols to avoid a repeat situation. Will it be enough?

13 Sep 2013

A personal plea

On Oct. 29, Gary Szatkowski, the meteorological chief at the National Weather Service office in Mt. Holly, N.J., issued this personal plea to residents in his area:

13 Sep 2013

The past is key to the future: Historical observations strengthen modern science

 

Written records of natural phenomena come from personal journals and diaries, newspaper accounts, ship logs and government documents, among other sources. Such accounts often offer descriptive details and context that cannot be matched by other methods, and they can prove extremely useful in broadening records both temporally and geographically. Given that they predate the sort of widespread instrumental readings that scientists have come to depend on, sometimes there is simply — and literally — no substitute for historical data. Despite their advantages, historical records are used infrequently in modern physical sciences. That may be changing, however.

29 May 2013

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