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Our Flooded Past and Future: Old Stories, New Technologies and Responses to Future Climate Risks

gilgamesh_flood preparationFloods have wreaked havoc on communities since time immemorial, and play a significant role in the mythologies of disparate cultures, ranging from the Gilgamesh of ancient Babylon to Popol Vuh of the Mesoamerican Mayans. But while floods seem to have been prevalent in humanity’s misty past, they may play an even more prominent role in our future. (more…)

Madagascar Election Cycles and Cyclones

Tropical_Cyclone_Giovanna_-_NASA_Earth_ObservatoryThe polls open today, October 25th, in Madagascar, and some hold hopes that they will close five years of instability.  A military-backed coup in 2009 led by Andry Rajoelina ousted then President Marc Ravalomanana. The international community condemned the coup and swiftly instituted sanctions. Ongoing instability and international isolation has since dramatically increased the vulnerability of the island, with some 92% of the population now living below the poverty line. The elections, the first in five years, offer an opportunity to reverse an otherwise downward trend.  But there are natural forces to contend with as well. (more…)

Weather, Satellite Data, and National Security

800px-2013_colorado_floods_natl_guardIf you have not already read Nancy Colleton’s new piece in the Washington Post’s Capitol Weather Gang, “Weather Data: a national security priority,” it’s worth a look. In the piece Colleton, who is President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, lays out the need for better forecasting and weather data collection capabilities and why this is a matter of national security, especially in the face of a changing climate where extreme weather events are likely to be more frequent and intense. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (more…)

From Floods to Drought: Preparing for erratic climate risks

We know that climatMahaweli_River_at_sunken_city_of_Teldeniya_victoria_reservoir_sri_lankae change will bring more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Less discussed is the likelihood that very different types of extreme events, sometimes within a very short span of time, are increasingly likely to occur in the same place. In particular, widely varying water-related events – whether there is too much water or not enough, could become a destructive, see-sawing norm. Below is a look at three locations around the world currently making headlines for having to manage both drought and flood extremes, all in a very short period of time. (more…)