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2 January 2019

Dangerous sneaker waves puzzle scientists

On January 16, 2016, a sudden swath of large and powerful waves swept through seaside communities along 450 kilometers (280 miles) of Pacific Northwest coastline. From Washington to northern California, water rushed past normal tide lines and filled beaches and streets, stretching hundreds of meters inland. These “sneaker waves” are aptly named given their unannounced arrival, which occurs when massive waves push extra water onshore—a higher-than-usual water level that scientists refer to as runup. At best, these events take beachgoers by surprise. At worst, they are disastrous and fatal.


26 December 2018

Consumer purchasing data shows locals’ response to water contamination

Supermarket purchases show scientists how communities respond to health-related water quality violations, which could provide them with a new tool for monitoring public health concerns, according to new research. In a new study, researchers saw increased purchases of bottled water and over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine in areas where health-related violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act were reported.


21 December 2018

Landslide probability may depend more on riverside steepness than on hillsides above

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake stuck the Gorkha region of Nepal near the capital city of Kathmandu. Approximately 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 suffered injuries. The quake also triggered more than 20,000 landslides in the surrounding area. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California is studying how the topography of the Melamchi Valley in Gorkha affected the incidence of landslides after the 2015 earthquake.


20 December 2018

Northern Hemisphere heat waves covering more area than before

Heat waves in the Northern Hemisphere have gotten more expansive in recent decades, covering 25 percent more area now than they did in the 1970s, according to new research. A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, the University of Delaware and Stanford University analyzed 38 years of NASA climate and weather data and found the average size of a heat wave has grown by 50 percent over the entire Northern Hemisphere, including the ocean, and 25 percent over the Northern Hemisphere’s land. It’s the first study to examine how heat wave extent has increased over time on a global scale.


19 December 2018

Researcher finds a cheap way to identify invasive coconuts from space

Conservation scientists can use free satellite imagery to track invasive plant species on remote Pacific islands, according to new research. Mary Engels, a PhD student at the University of Idaho, has found a way to use freely available imagery from NASA’s Landsat satellites to identify coconut trees in Pacific Islands, rather than using costly images from private satellite companies.


18 December 2018

New satellite tech offers a more detailed map of moving Antarctic glaciers

Scientists can now measure ice flow in Antarctica in far more detail, thanks to the help of a new satellite technology. Using a novel satellite technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar, or InSAR, scientists can measure the direction of slow ice movement with extreme levels of precision. Slow ice movement is defined as a shift of 1 to 30 meters (3 to 98 feet) per year.


12 December 2018

Researchers predict areas of mosquito-borne disease risk in Brazil

Tracking human demographic, climate, and environmental data may help scientists predict and prioritize areas with high risk for mosquito-borne diseases, according to new research.


10 December 2018

New insights into the diets of Neanderthals

Today at 4 pm EST, AGU is holding the first of its kind “Geoscience Grab Bag” press conference at Fall Meeting 2018.