How flood protection can paradoxically put people at risk

Governments who build defences against rising seas can actually increase their citizens’ risk of being flooded – if they fail to take account of the ‘safe development paradox’, according to a flood defence expert. Professor Jeroen Aerts, a hydrologist at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije University in The Netherlands, says that when a … Read more

Plant-based, probiotics and vitamins: what new diets mean for farmed fish health

Farmed fish are increasingly becoming vegetarian, with plant-based feed now widely used in Europe. Researchers now want to optimise feed to promote fish growth and nutrition. To do this, they are studying fish gut bacteria and the impact of probiotic additives as well as testing nutrient supplements. Aquaculture, which involves farming fish, shellfish and aquatic … Read more

Why climate change could make Mediterranean atmospheric ‘meteotsunamis’ more common

Rogue waves that strike without warning across the Mediterranean and elsewhere may become more frequent as the climate changes, early-stage research suggests. A meteotsunami is a form of tsunami generated by atmospheric conditions, and it can strike any coastline adjacent to a sea floor with a long, shallow shelf. They are not as massive, nor … Read more

Q&A: Why unconventional resources are key to expanding geothermal energy use

The smouldering heat generated during the formation of our planet and the continuous decay of radioactive material lies trapped within the Earth’s crust, just waiting to be tapped to satisfy humanity’s insatiable demand for heat and electricity. It sounds deceptively simple — drill a well into the Earth and bring piping steam or hot water … Read more

‘Impossible to adapt’: Surprisingly fast ice-melts in past raise fears about sea level rise

Studies of ancient beaches and fossilised coral reefs suggest sea levels have the potential to rise far more quickly than models currently predict, according to geologists who have been studying past periods of warming. At one point in a comparable period they were rising at three metres per century, or 30mm a year, according to … Read more

What happens below Earth’s surface when the most powerful earthquakes occur

At 03:34 local time on 27 February 2010, Chile was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in a century. The shock triggered a tsunami, which devastated coastal communities. The combined events killed more than 500 people. So powerful was the shaking that, by one NASA estimate, it shifted Earth’s axis of spin by a full 8 … Read more