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Fires can have a devastating impact on invaluable archaeological and cultural sites. These areas are often at greater risk of fires because they are commonly surrounded by vegetation or situated close to forest regions. Early detection, however, can significantly reduce the potential damage fires cause.
Published: 11 August 2014
There is no doubt that climate change is happening worldwide as ice caps shrink, sea and river levels rise. Coastal flooding damages not only buildings and engineering structures, but also the environment and the ecological balance in Europe.
Published: 25 February 2014
Radioactivity as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the 1980s is still present in the environment. But 17 national emergency management organisations and 33 research institutes have come together to prevent or minimise the impact of such a thing happening again. Their objective has been to ensure that Europe can respond better to similar emergencies in the future.
Published: 17 June 2013
Nothing can be done to prevent earthquakes from occurring, and researchers are limited in forecasting when and where they will strike and how strong they might be. Fortunately, a great deal of progress is being made to ensure that buildings throughout Europe are designed and built to withstand major earthquakes when they strike.
Published: 3 June 2013
On March 11 2011, the world watched in awe at the sheer destructive power of the tsunami that struck Japan. The tsunami began following an earthquake off the east coast of Japan, which was recorded at 9.0 on the Richter scale - the largest quake ever to hit Japan. The ensuing tsunami that was created swept across cities and farmland in the northern part of the country, killing as many as 20 000 people. In the wake of the tsunami, however, another disaster emerged, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which has been referred to by some as the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. Scientists have highlighted this disaster as a wake-up call, and one team of scientists has assessed 'potentially dangerous' areas that are home to completed nuclear plants or those under construction. By highlighting high-risk zones, they hope that further plans can be implemented to head off similar disasters.
Published: 17 October 2012
Regardless of whether you're a botanist or a weekend gardener, you know that too much water can kill your plants. Flooding or water logging of plants doesn't allow them to take up enough of the oxygen required to ensure their cellular respiration and energy production. In order to deal with this state of hypoxia, plants stimulate specific genes. But exactly how plants sense the oxygen concentration has remained a mystery, until now. Researchers in Europe have identified a protein able to bind to certain regions of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), thus triggering the transcription of stress response genes. The results, published in the journal Nature, could lead to improving a crop's tolerance of flooding events.
Published: 16 November 2011
Scientists in Denmark and the United Kingdom have unearthed the remnants of the world's best preserved examples of a massive ancient landslide in Spain. Their finding, presented in the journal Geology, gives volcanologists the information they need to determine when the landslide occurred following a large volcanic eruption on the Canarian island of Tenerife. Scientists welcome the news because little information is known about why such landslides occur.
Published: 4 November 2011
Keeping people safe from floods is an important objective for Europeans. Scientists at Cemagref, the French research institute of science and technology for the environment, have succeeded in developing and continue to develop forecasting tools that can warn authorities and the public about potential floods, giving vulnerable zones the crucial time they need to protect themselves.
Published: 1 September 2011
An international team of researchers is unearthing the triggering mechanisms behind large, destructive earthquakes like the Tohoku earthquake that hit Japan last March. Led by the University of Florence in Italy, the researchers collected new samples of rock and sediment from the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Published: 18 July 2011
Air transport officials launched a no-fly zone when Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano reared its ugly head last year. But was the move justified? Flying through an ash cloud would have been a dangerous manoeuvre, if not deadly. This is where a team of researchers comes in...
NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.
Published: 18 May 2011