Tiny Changes in Earth's Gravity Can Help Predict Floods Months Away

When the Missouri River spilled over its banks in a catastrophic 2011 flood, we could have seen it coming—from space, that is. There's more to the story than meets the eye: the satellites don't take photos of snowpacks or rivers, but rather, they detect tiny changes in gravity over the Earth's surface to track water. » 7/08/14 3:00pm 7/08/14 3:00pm

Storm-Proofing NYC Will Cost At Least $11 Billion, But It's Worth It

Humans are almost universally bad at planning for the distant future—most of us would rather live in blissful, unprepared ignorance than think about our Roth IRA. The same goes for cities: Dealing with the next storm is way easier than spending many billions of dollars to protect us from storms 20 years down the road. » 5/02/14 1:20pm 5/02/14 1:20pm

Berlin Is Threatened From Below By Its Rising Water Table

While the American West stumbles forward into an already dangerous drought—and it's barely even summer—Berliners are simply not using enough water. This means that the city's water table is now on the rise, and it's beginning to threaten the city's buildings from below. Some basements have already been affected. » 4/13/14 5:00pm 4/13/14 5:00pm

Why We Don't Design Our Cities to Withstand 1,000-Year Floods

The floods in Colorado are being described as "Biblical," and for once that word seems to fit. Boulder, for example, usually gets around 15 inches of precipitation annually. This year, that amount has fallen in the ten days since September 9 alone. On September 12, they received nine inches in one day. » 9/19/13 11:00am 9/19/13 11:00am

Planning For the Next Sandy, Manhattan Building Installs a $250k Gate

After Hurricane Sandy blew through New York in October, the lion's share of media coverage focused on the beachfront, where damage was most visible. In lower Manhattan, though, the nine-foot storm surge took a subterranean toll, ruining millions of dollars worth of mechanical systems and forcing many developers to… » 4/16/13 10:40am 4/16/13 10:40am