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

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

‘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

Sponge parks and vertical gardens – how cities are using nature to overcome extreme weather

In January 2021, Storm Christoph pummelled the United Kingdom with heavy rains and the threat of unmanageable runoff. But in flood-prone Manchester, a newly developed park was proving its worth. West Gorton Park had ‘drunk’ the rainwater, releasing it into the sewer systems over time rather than all at once – slowing the deluge of water that … Read more

Mediterranean wineries are in a climate hotspot. Climatologists are helping them adapt

From the possible demise of Merlot grapes in Bordeaux to loss of olive trees in north Africa, the impacts of climate change will be felt by farmers across the Mediterranean region, say climatologists. To help the region’s agricultural producers cope with shifting weather patterns, and make strategic decisions now for the future, scientists are researching … Read more

Can the world emerge from the pandemic a better place?

The pandemic has caused disruption around the world, but it could also be an opportunity to make some much needed social and environmental changes as countries try to adapt and recover from the crisis. In the space of just a few months the world has seen drastic change. People who commuted to work and had … Read more