Stanford University
coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

West Texas oil activity

Earthquakes from oil field wastewater

Underground disposal of wastewater from fossil fuel production in the nation’s largest oil field is causing long-dormant faults to slip in a way that could damage wells, according to new analyses of satellite and seismicity data.

Sierra Nevada range viewed from Mammoth Mountain summit

Snowpack changes how a California volcano 'breathes'

A Stanford University study suggests the weight of snow and ice atop the Sierra Nevada affects a California volcano’s carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main signs of volcanic unrest.

Dharavi, India at sunset (external link)

A data-driven approach to cooling

A civil engineer is finding ways to model informal settlements in tropical regions, and using these models to help find universal solutions for extreme heat. (Source: Stanford Engineering)

Hurricane Ike damage

Personal experience and disaster adaptation

Surveys of people exposed to wildfires and hurricanes show that negative experiences with these events are associated with elevated perceived risk for specific climate hazards and self-reported adaptation behaviors, as well as increased support for interventions. The findings could help shape public communications and policy.

Almeda Fire damage

Researchers identify 'double-hazard' zones for wildfire in the West

Rapidly growing communities in the American West’s forests and shrublands are nestled in zones where local soil and plant traits amplify the effect of climate change on wildfire hazards and lead to bigger burns.

Weather collage

Climate of chaos: Why warming makes weather less predictable

A Stanford University study shows chaos reigns earlier in midlatitude weather models as temperatures rise. The result? Climate change could be shifting the limits of weather predictability and pushing reliable 10-day forecasts out of reach.

Charred forest

Trees on the move: How wildfire accelerates forest changes

As climate conditions change, tree species are shifting their ranges. Wildfire is accelerating this process, likely by reducing competition from established species – a finding that raises questions about how to manage land in an era of shifting ecosystems.

Map labeled with damaged and undamaged buildings

AI system identifies buildings damaged by wildfire

A deep learning approach to classifying buildings with wildfire damage may help responders focus their recovery efforts and offer more immediate information to displaced residents.

Supercell storm

Scientists solve mystery of supercell storms' icy plumes

The most devastating tornadoes are often preceded by a cloudy plume of ice and water vapor billowing above a severe thunderstorm. New research reveals the mechanism for these plumes could be tied to “hydraulic jumps” – a phenomenon Leonardo Da Vinci observed more than 500 years ago.

East Troublesome Fire, Colorado

How do people respond to wildfire smoke?

Interviews with Northern California residents reveal that social norms and social support are essential for understanding protective health behaviors during wildfire smoke events – information that could be leveraged to improve public health outcomes.

Caldor Fire, August 2021

California Burning: Fire, Drought and Climate Change

Western states are once again in severe drought with water in short supply. And California’s fire season is starting earlier and causing more devastation. Buzz Thompson, one of the country’s leading water law experts, discusses California’s wildfires, drought, water and climate change.

Networked city

How to measure an earthquake through the internet

New technologies that detect motion in the Earth’s crust are emerging in surprising places and reshaping our understanding of earthquakes.

Smoky San Francisco

Wildfire smoke exposure during pregnancy increases preterm birth risk, study finds

Smoke from wildfires may have contributed to thousands of additional premature births in California between 2007 and 2012. The findings underscore the value of reducing the risk of big, extreme wildfires and suggest pregnant people should avoid very smoky air.

Rain storm in distance

Researchers use artificial intelligence to unlock extreme weather mysteries

A new machine learning approach helps scientists understand why extreme precipitation days in the Midwest are becoming more frequent. It could also help scientists better predict how these and other extreme weather events will change in the future.

Morraine Fire

Q&A: A blueprint for protecting communities and restoring a lower intensity fire regime

California may be headed for another record-breaking wildfire season. Stanford researchers discuss the shift in federal, state and local approaches necessary to turn the tide of destruction.

Summit lava lake

Scientists test friction laws in the collapsing crater of an erupting volcano

A new analysis of the 2018 collapse of Kīlauea volcano’s caldera helps to confirm the reigning scientific paradigm for how friction works on earthquake faults. The model quantifies the conditions necessary to initiate the kind of caldera collapse that sustains big, damaging eruptions of basaltic volcanoes like Kīlauea and could help to inform forecasting and mitigation.

Small device on ice sheet with sun in background

Solar radio signals could be used to monitor melting ice sheets

A new method for seeing through ice sheets using radio signals from the sun could enable cheap, low-power and widespread monitoring of ice sheet evolution and contribution to sea-level rise.

Neighborhood with several feet of flooding

Sea-level rise may worsen existing Bay Area inequities

Researchers examined the number of households unable to pay for damages from coastal flooding to reveal how sea-level rise could threaten the fabric of Bay Area communities over the next 40 years.

East Troublesome Fire, Colorado

Tips to protect against wildfire smoke

Warnings of another severe wildfire season abound, as do efforts to reduce the risk of ignition. Yet few are taking precautions against the smoke. Stanford experts advise on contending with hazardous air quality.

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