The Actuary - The report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) said that prior to Katrina, storm surge, defined as abnormal rise in the level of seawater generated by a storm, was underestimated in risk modelling. Andrew Higgins, technical manager, Americas, Allianz Risk Consulting, said: "Storm surge modelling prior to Katrina essentially assumed that the height of the storm was a function of the maximum sustained winds. We have learned that in addition to wind speed, the physical size of the hurricane can affect the storm surge." The report, which marks Katrina's 10-year anniversary, said storm surge was a contributing factor in half of the top 10 costliest storm losses in the US history.
NY Times - Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by roughly 15 to 20 percent, scientists said Thursday, warning that future dry spells in the state are almost certain to be worse than this one as the world continues to heat up. Even though the findings suggest that the drought is primarily a consequence of natural climate variability, the scientists added that the likelihood of any drought becoming acute is rising because of climate change. The odds of California suffering droughts at the far end of the scale, like the current one that began in 2012, have roughly doubled over the past century, they said.
From Gray to Green: Investing in Natural Infrastructure to Address Water, Food and Energy Challenges
World Resources Institute - Recent extreme droughts and floods have forced an evaluation of how water infrastructure impacts the other sectors, highlighting the need for a multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral approach to balance environmental, social and economic concerns against a backdrop of climate change. Investing in natural infrastructure to achieve food, water and energy security can be transformational in making water available for agriculture, electricity generation and water supply. The success of natural infrastructure investments depends on partnerships between sectors and the rise of champions to scale up natural infrastructure to make it part of the solution for current and future resource challenges.
NOAA Press Release - The U.S. Inventeragency Elevation Inventory provides an important central location for accessing information about high-resolution topographic and bathymetric data sets. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Agriculture have recently joined the effort to update the inventory with publicly available, high-accuracy elevation data sets for the U.S. and its territories. These groups join NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in maintaining an inventory where suers can see the extent of data sets on a map, as well as determine information such as the date of collection and quality level.
USACE Press Release - The US Army Corps of Engineers has made the following project announcements:
- West Coast Hopper Maintenance Dredging 2016
- Dredging and Unclassified Excavation, Naval Reserve Basin, Delaware River, Philadelphia, PA
- U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay, Maintenance Dredging
- Redwood City Harbor - Maintenance Dredging
Associated Press - Years of planning to build a joint $4.5 billion Georgia-South Carolina container ship terminal on the Savannah River are nearing a milestone. Consultants told the S.C. State Ports Authority board on Wednesday that a permit will be sought this fall so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can begin environmental studies of the massive project. The two states have been working together for eight years to develop the 1,500-acre Jasper Ocean Terminal on the South Carolina side of the river just downstream from Savannah.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Officials in charge of cleaning up pollution left over from the country's early nuclear weapons program say there's radioactive contamination in several residential yards that back up to Coldwater Creek. The Army Corps of Engineers confirmed Wednesday that it had discovered what is described as "low-level" radioactive contamination from thorium 230, a uranium decay product. It has likely been on the properties for decades, carried by a creek that flows through several miles of subdivisions in north St. Louis County.