Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 18 Nov 2021 by:

A lot is at stake this year regarding what the climate holds for us in the future. The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, more widely known as COP26, gathered world leaders to decide on climate actions that will shape our climate and its impacts on our societies. While scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) could not join the physical event happening in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021, they have contributed in many other ways. Let’s find out how.

Recommendations to policymakers about how to reduce disaster risk and use nature-based climate solutions in ASEAN

EOS partnered with universities in the UK and Singapore to produce a series of reports as part of a project between the British High Commission and the COP26...
Submitted on 10 Nov 2021 by:

On 25 October 2010 at 9:42 PM local time, the people living on the southern Mentawai islands, a chain of islands located off Sumatra, Indonesia, felt a slow, gentle rocking of the rocks below their feet1. Initial reports of the earthquake indicated that a magnitude-7 to -7.2 earthquake had occurred seaward of the islands2. Five to 10 minutes later, a large wave inundated the western coasts of the islands, locally flooding areas more than 10 metres above the ground surface1. Together, the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 400 people and left 300 missing.

Such a large tsunami would typically require an earthquake of magnitude greater than 8. In this case, while the early data from the Mentawai earthquake suggested a much smaller event, a more complete assessment of...

Submitted on 18 Oct 2021 by:

Lying at the junction of several tectonic plates, Myanmar is exposed to geohazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. To help prepare for these hazards, scientists produce hazard assessments using their understanding of the region’s geology and tectonic activity. They seek to answer questions such as: how do the tectonic plates interact with each other, how deep the magma is, where the faults are, and what kinds of earthquakes can we expect? 

Scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) and their collaborators proposed a new 3D velocity model for the subsurface structure of the Earth’s crust and lithosphere down to a depth of 80 kilometres (km) below Myanmar. 

In this study, published in ...

Submitted on 11 Oct 2021 by:

In this interview series, we learn about the perspectives of the PhD students whose wide-ranging work contributes to the SEA2 Program and share what drives them in their research.

What comes to mind when you think of climate change and sea-level rise? 

The science of tectonics is linked to both in the most unexpected way. When an earthquake occurs, for example, a tectonic fault ruptures and causes short-term deformations, such as vertical land motion – a shift in the earth that influences sea-level rise by literally raising or lowering the seabed – it forms a link to climate change that is not immediately apparent.

An earthquake may also form long-term deformations that may not...

Submitted on 08 Oct 2021 by:

Forests help us in many ways. They preserve biodiversity, combat climate change, and even protect us from floods. However, quantifying the value of these benefits has been a challenge for many years. 

Scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have found a way to evaluate the impacts of nature-based solutions, such as forest protection, on flood risk. In a new study published in One Earth, they show that protecting forests from deforestation in Myanmar’s Chindwin River basin could reduce the economic and human costs of floods by 14 per cent, saving US$1 million in flood-losses annually and protecting 30,000 people in the next decade.

Submitted on 30 Aug 2021 by:

In this interview series, we learn about the perspectives of the PhD students whose wide-ranging work contribute to the SEA2 Program and share what drives them in their research.

Underground sediments can serve as geological libraries that offer a glimpse into past environments such as bygone mangrove ecosystems and shorelines.

For one PhD student, in particular, this study into proxy indicators of sea levels in the last 10,000 years is a way of amalgamating his love of mangroves and recent interest in sea-level rise. Proxies are organic materials that can be carbon-dated to serve as age markers in paleo-climate science.

Yudhishthra Nathan, a second-year...

Submitted on 26 Aug 2021 by:

In this interview series, we learn about the perspectives of the PhD students whose wide-ranging work contribute to the SEA2 Program and share what drives them in their research.

The past sea levels of the Holocene period can be reconstructed via the use of paleo-proxies, including the use of mangrove sediments, which contain organic materials that can be carbon-dated and serve as age markers and one person working on such historical records is Christabel Tan, a second-year PhD student on Professor Benjamin Horton’s research team. 

Collecting sediment core data for her thesis at Pulau Ubin, she studies and analyses their contents to help fine-tune sea-level...

Submitted on 19 Aug 2021 by:

Bangladesh, a densely populated country of over 160 million people, regularly faces climate hazards caused by flooding and typhoons. However, another natural hazard lies silently beneath the country: active tectonic faults. The fault system below Bangladesh is estimated to be able to generate an earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or greater – a phenomenally dangerous possibility, given that it lies only a few kilometres below the surface. Such an earthquake would also trigger secondary hazards: liquefaction, flooding, and possibly even abrupt shifts in the course of rivers. Despite its extreme hazard, this fault system remains poorly understood.

Bangladesh sits on the eastern border of the collision zone between India and Eurasia, where the Indian plate is subducting eastward...

Submitted on 13 Jul 2021 by:

In a world largely driven by technology, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is ubiquitous. Best known for providing positioning, navigation, and timing services, the incorporation of this system into smartphones and smartwatches has made it almost indispensable for many.

Scientists at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have explored the use of this system for climate research by observing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. Atmospheric water vapour, albeit invisible, plays a crucial role in shaping the Earth’s weather and climate.

GPS radio signals travel from GPS satellites at an altitude of ~20,000 kilometres to ground receivers through the Earth’s atmosphere. Because of its physical properties, the atmosphere slows and bends the GPS signals. As...

Submitted on 18 Jun 2021 by:

Coastal communities face several hazards including tsunamis triggered by offshore earthquakes and volcano eruptions as well as storm surges generated during tropical storms.

Deposits left behind by these events provide important clues for the reconstruction of past events, enabling scientists to correctly forecast the risk posed by tsunamis and storms. This knowledge is of paramount importance for the estimated 600 million people living in coastal areas below 10 metres (m) above sea level.

One long-standing challenge has been to differentiate between sediments laid down by these storms and tsunamis. For more than 30 years, scientists were unable to distinguish between the deposits using regular methods such as sediment analysis and micropalaeontology.