critical issues

Adapting Wildfire Management to 21st Century Conditions

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The combination of frequent droughts, changing climate conditions, and longer fire seasons along with urban development expansion into wildland areas has resulted in more difficult conditions for managing wildfires. Over the last several decades, the size of wildfire burn areas has increased substantially and nine of the 10 years with the largest wildfire burn areas have occurred since 2000. Wildfires are causing more frequent and wider-ranging societal impacts, especially as residential communities continue to expand into wildland areas.  Since 2000, there have been twelve wildfires in the United States that have each caused damages exceeding a billion dollars; cumulatively these twelve wildfires have caused a total of $44 billion dollars in damages. As of 2010, 44 million homes in the conterminous United States were located within the wildland-urban-interface, an area where urban development either intermingles with or is in the vicinity of large areas of dense wildland vegetation. These challenging conditions present a unique opportunity to adapt existing wildfire policy and management strategies to present and future wildfire scenarios.

Our speakers are:

This webinar is co-sponsored by the American Association of Geographers, American Institute of Professional Geologists, Geological Society of America, Southern Fire Exchange, Ventura Land Trust

Resources to learn more:

Search the Geological Surveys Database for reports and factsheets about wildfires.

Wildfire Management: Recent Trends and Strategies for Adaptation to Wildfire in the U.S.

Interactive map of groundwater monitoring information in the United States

The National Ground-Water Monitoring Network compiles information from over 7,000 groundwater monitoring wells across the country, including Federal, State, and local groundwater monitoring networks. Although the image above only shows the contiguous United States, the interactive map also includes wells from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Interactive map of post-fire debris-flow hazards in the Western United States

The U.S. Geological Survey conducts post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for many major fires across the Western United States. The information from these assessments is provided in an interactive map, allowing users to view fires by location or name and access detailed maps of debris-flow probability in the area affected by each fire. Users can select fires by year back to 2013.

Critical Issues Program: 2017 in Review

A satellite image of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA

As the first month of 2018 draws to a close, we thought it’d be a good time to look back over 2017 in the Critical Issues program. We would like to thank you for being part of the Critical Issues community this year, whether you were one of the 10,000+ people who watched a webinar live or on YouTube, gave us feedback to improve what we’re doing, or said hello on Twitter. We are always working on ways to bring you more useful, expert, impartial geoscience information or opportunities to discuss geoscience issues, and 2017 was our busiest year yet.

Tracking the Global Supply of Critical Materials

Friday, January 26, 2018

No country in the world produces all of the mineral resources necessary for modern society. International trade plays a critical role in providing these raw materials, forming a global network of production, export, import, and use. This network must continuously adapt to national and international developments in science, technology, politics, and economics. As a result, information on the global flow of raw materials plays a fundamental role in improving national and international resilience to potential supply disruptions and market changes.

Our speakers are:

This webinar is co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Professional Geologists, Australian Institute of GeoscientistsEuropean Federation of GeologistsGeological Society of AfricaGeological Society of LondonGeoscience Information Society, Mineralogical Society of America, and Society of Economic Geologists, with media partnership from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Resources to learn more:

Search the Geological Surveys Database for reports and factsheets about critical minerals.

The Global Supply of Critical Materials: Assessing and Tracking Critical Mineral Commodities

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