Using satellites and AI, space-based technology is shaping the future of firefighting

Natural disasters coupled with virus variant threatening global supply chains

A new worldwide wave of Covid-19. Natural disasters in China and Germany. A cyber attack targeting key South African ports.

“This is a perilous moment for global supply chains.”

Events have conspired to drive global supply chains towards breaking point, threatening the fragile flow of raw materials, parts and consumer goods, according to companies, economists and shipping specialists.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus has devastated parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors. That’s left captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stints in a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns.

“We’re no longer on the cusp of a second crew change crisis, we’re in one,” Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, told Reuters.  “This is a perilous moment for global supply chains.”

Given ships transport around 90 per cent of the world’s trade, the crew crisis is disrupting the supply of everything from oil and iron ore to food and electronics. German container line Hapag Lloyd described the situation as “extremely challenging”.

“Vessel capacity is very tight, empty containers are scarce and the operational situation at certain ports and terminals is not really improving,” it said. “We expect this to last probably into the fourth quarter – but it is very difficult to predict…

Water-related hazards dominate list of 10 most destructive disasters

China Fire and RescueFrontline workers drain flooded road tunnels in Zhengzhou, the capital city of China’s central Henan Province.

The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019) – which will be published in September – finds that of the 10 disasters causing the most human fatalities in the past five decades, droughts top the list with some 650,000 deaths across the globe.

Storms caused upwards of 577,000 fatalities, floods led to more than 58,000 deaths, and extreme temperatures caused over 55,000 to die.

Excerpts from the report were released as temperatures in parts of North America soar, and unprecedented flooding in north-central Europe continues to dominate news headlines.

The German national meteorological service said up to two months’ worth of rainfall fell in 2 days, on 14 and 15 July, affecting parts of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.

According to news reports, more than 120 people have died in Germany alone, and hundreds remain missing. 

Meanwhile, parts of the central Chinese province of Henan received more accumulated rainfall between 17 and 21 July than the typical average for a full calendar year…

Using satellites and AI, space-based technology is shaping the future of firefighting

The current space race isn’t just for billionaires.

Despite Silicon Valley’s proximity to some of California’s biggest fires, the tech capital has been slow to embrace firefighting innovation.

Using satellites, drones and artificial intelligence, emerging technology is changing the way firefighting agencies and governments battle the ever-increasing threat of wildfires as hundreds of thousands of acres burn across the western United States.

New programs are being developed by startups and research institutions to predict fire behavior, monitor drought and even detect fires when they first start. As climate change continues to increase the intensity and frequency of wildfires, these breakthroughs offer at least one tool in the growing arsenal of prevention and suppression strategies…

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