Penn State: Building a landslide prediction tool with Google and AI

Penn State: Building a landslide prediction tool with Google and AI. “Worldwide, landslides cause thousands of deaths and injuries and cost billions of dollars each year, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The most frequent of these are induced by rainfall, often transforming into fast-moving debris flows like the Montecito, California mudslides in 2018.”

Michigan State University: Emergency Response Archive of Puerto Rico Receives Mellon Foundation Grant

Michigan State University: Emergency Response Archive of Puerto Rico Receives Mellon Foundation Grant. “The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Michigan State University a $325,000 grant to support the first phase of the ‘Emergency Response Archive of Puerto Rico,’ a digital open-access repository of Puerto Rican artifacts of disasters pertaining to Hurricane María (2017), the Guayanilla earthquakes (2020), and COVID-19 (2020).”

Fast Company: This new tool pinpoints the communities most in need of disaster relief

Fast Company: This new tool pinpoints the communities most in need of disaster relief. “A partnership between GiveDirectly and Google.org aims to smooth the process of delivering funds to the people who require them most urgently. The charity, the largest in the world that assists via direct cash transfers only, and the tech giant have launched Delphi, an online tool that allows aid organizations to pinpoint the specific locations, down to granular zip-code level, most in need of assistance. The data-driven effort creates scores based on the overlap between two metrics—poverty level and destruction of property—then ranks and shows those neighborhoods visually in Google Maps.”

Flood risks: More accurate data due to COVID-19 (Phys .org)

Phys .org: Flood risks: More accurate data due to COVID-19. “A number of countries went into politically decreed late hibernation at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of those affected by the lockdown suffered negative economic and social consequences. Geodesy, a branch of Earth science to study Earth’s gravity field and its shape, on the other hand, has benefited from the drastic reduction in human activity. At least that is what the study now published in Geophysical Research Letters shows. The study, which was carried out by geodesists from the University of Bonn, investigated the location of a precise GNSS antenna in Boston (Massachusetts) as an example.”

NBC News: Federal firefighter units juggle COVID-19 infection on fire lines

NBC News: Federal firefighter units juggle COVID-19 infection on fire lines. “Wildland firefighters are sometimes considered the last defense, called in after local resources are stretched thin. Federal crews spend the fire season crisscrossing state borders as they are sent to fight the latest burning blaze. And that constant traveling, as well as the close working proximity, have offered a challenge to COVID-19 mitigation, especially as firefighting methods like holding the line can require elbow-to-elbow teamwork.”

Bloomberg Quint: A New Tool Tracks Flooded Homes Receiving Taxpayer Money

Bloomberg Quint: A New Tool Tracks Flooded Homes Receiving Taxpayer Money. “Passaic County in New Jersey is not in the hurricane belt nor is it on the banks of a major river, and yet 810 properties there received $170 million of taxpayer money through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since 1968. These are homes that flooded over and over again; on average, each has made seven separate flood claims over the years. That finding comes from a newly released tracking tool by the Natural Resources Defense Council, making public for the first time a data set of all Severe Repetitive Loss Properties (SRLP) across the nation by county.”

Mashble: Facebook removes misinformation related to Oregon wildfires

Mashable: Facebook removes misinformation related to Oregon wildfires. “Another day, another slew of misinformation being shared on Facebook. But this time, the social media platform is removing several false claims before they spread to an even wider audience. On Saturday, Facebook’s policy communications manager, Andy Stone, tweeted that the platform is removing misinformation related to the wildfires in Oregon, which have killed at least 10 people.”

Fast Company: This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

Fast Company: This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires. “If you zoom in on a new map of California, you’ll start to see that the fields of green that represent the forest are actually made up of individual green points, and each point represents a real, individual tree. The tool, called the California Forest Observatory, uses AI and satellite images to create an ultradetailed view of the state’s forests—aiding work to prevent the type of catastrophic megafires that the state is experiencing now.”

CNN: QAnon fans spread fake claims about real fires in Oregon

CNN: QAnon fans spread fake claims about real fires in Oregon. “Authorities in Oregon are pleading with the public to only trust and share information verified by official sources about the unprecedented wildfires sweeping the state. The pleas come as law enforcement agencies described 911 dispatchers being overrun with calls about a false online rumor that ‘Antifa’ members had been arrested for setting the fires — a claim promoted by the anonymous account behind the QAnon conspiracy theories.”

Mashable: FBI and police departments say wildfire conspiracy theories spreading on Facebook aren’t true

Mashable: FBI and police departments say wildfire conspiracy theories spreading on Facebook aren’t true. “As wildfires devastate the West Coast, the FBI and local officials in California, Oregon, and Washington are also fighting the spread of something else: rampant misinformation. Conspiracy theories about the wildfires are quickly spreading on Facebook. While they vary, most revolve around the idea that antifa, or anti-fascists, are responsible for the fires.”

PolitiFact: Antifa activists did not start the West Coast wildfires

PolitiFact: Antifa activists did not start the West Coast wildfires. “Dozens of other posts blaming antifa for the wildfires were flagged as part of the company’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) Collectively, they’ve been shared thousands of times. Is there some evidence that these left-wing activists are responsible for the wildfires ravaging the West Coast? No. Officials have dispelled the rumors, and while investigations are still ongoing, many of the fires appear to have been sparked accidentally.”

Route Fifty: Parts of Iowa Still Reeling From Powerful Storms, as State Battles Rise in Coronavirus

Route Fifty: Parts of Iowa Still Reeling From Powerful Storms, as State Battles Rise in Coronavirus. “When a powerful line of thunderstorms with hurricane-force winds, known as a derecho, tore through a swath of Iowa on Aug. 10, Lance Lillibridge’s 1,500-acre farm was spared from the worst of the damage. But his neighbors two or three miles to the south were not as lucky. And even three weeks after the storm, the scene Lillibridge described in the area was grim one.”

E&E News: Pandemic politics undercut CDC advice on hurricane shelters

E&E News: Pandemic politics undercut CDC advice on hurricane shelters. “With hurricane season in full swing, the Trump administration’s public sidelining of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the coronavirus pandemic could stoke fears about the safety of hurricane shelters, experts worry.”

CanIndia News: Google expands AI-driven flood forecast to all of India, Bangladesh

CanIndia News: Google expands AI-driven flood forecast to all of India, Bangladesh. “As floods wreak havoc in South Asian countries, Google on Tuesday said it is expanding its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered flood forecasting to all of India and Bangladesh that will provide greater details on timing and water depths in alerts in nine new local languages.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Worried about Bay Area smoke? Here’s how to look up the air quality in your microclimate

San Francisco Chronicle: Worried about Bay Area smoke? Here’s how to look up the air quality in your microclimate . “The air over much of the Bay Area is generally clean, thanks to ocean breezes. But when the skies fill with wildfire smoke, that changes. For your health and safety, it’s vital to know the latest air quality information in your community. But it can be hard to find, especially since the Bay Area has so many microclimates. Here is a guide to resources that can help you monitor and understand your local air quality.” This article was written for people in the Bay Area, but it has plenty of resources for California in general and a couple for the entire United States.