Have you noticed how our weather is becoming humanised? Until recently, we might have noted in conversation: “bit windy last night.” Now we are more likely to hear something along the lines of: “took a bit of a battering from that Barney last night,” or “I blame Bruce Lee myself.” Not only does the current trend for naming extreme meteorological phenomena make discussions of the weather close to incomprehensible, it also makes the events sound friendlier and more cuddly.
The largest eruption ever recorded, in Indonesia 200 years ago, wreaked havoc across the world, causing hunger, disease and death for years afterwards. When a volcanic event on that scale happens again – and it will – we should be prepared for serious disruption to our climate and food production
The casualties on Japan’s Mount Ontake are among 80,000 fatalities from volcanic eruptions over the past 100 years. What are the challenges involved in predicting the next explosion?
Last year was a particularly bad one for natural disasters, with Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc through the US, Typhoon Bopha killing over 1,000 people in the Philippines, and devastating earthquakes hitting Iran, Guatemala, the Philippines, China, and Afghanistan. We asked Bill McGuire, Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London, to predict the world's next big natural disasters.
Many more lives can be saved by earthquake mitigation measures than by retrospectively targeting scientists
Scientifically illiterate celebrity deniers are hiding behind their pulpits in the national press
A changing climate isn't just about floods, droughts and heatwaves. It brings erupting volcanoes and catastrophic earthquakes too
From floods to volcanoes, man is in constant battle with nature. Japan shows us the tsunami may be beyond our control
The freak weather patterns that surprise us now will be the norm for our grandchildren, warns Bill McGuire
When it comes to the science of climate change - if it reads like a disaster novel, then it really is that bad
Never mind higher temperatures, climate change has a few nastier surprises in store. Bill McGuire says we can also expect more earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and tsunamis
Predicting earthquakes may be difficult, but preparing for diasters isn't, says Bill McGuire