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Around 20% of Australians are not insured against disasters, and even a quarter of those who do may be under-covered. AAP Image/Jason Webster

Properties under fire: why so many Australians are inadequately insured against disaster

As the fire season returns, insurance claims against disasters will only increase. But new research suggests that under-insurance is a major problem facing many Australian households.
The fire season is well underway in southern Australia. AAP Image/Carolyn Sainty

How to prepare your home for a bushfire – and when to leave

Australians are still underprepared for bushfires. And with fire seasons getting longer thanks to climate change we need to look at why people are still dying in fires, and what you can do to get prepared.
While firefighters battled widespread fires in New South Wales in October 2013, hundreds of thousands of people turned to social media and smartphone apps for vital updates. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Crisis communication: saving time and lives in disasters through smarter social media

When disaster strikes, more people than ever are turning to social media to find out if they're in danger. But Australian emergency services need to work together more to learn what works to save lives.
Gamba Grass is altering fire regimes in the Top End, threatening human life and property, natural assets including Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, and compromising savanna burning programs. Samantha Setterfield

Setting priorities for environmental research is daunting when the questions are so huge

One of the Australian government's new research priorities is "environmental change". But can be hard to know how to tackle such huge and interlinked issues as climate change and species extinctions.
People in the Philippines have been warned to brace for wet and wild weather, as this year’s El Nino shapes up to be the strongest since 1998. EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO/AAP

2015-16 is shaping up to deliver a rollercoaster from strong El Niño to La Niña

The seesaw between El Niño and La Niña is set to get stronger with global warming. Signs are that this year and next will deliver a big swing from one to the other, prompting fires and floods across the world.
The large 1982 El Niño contributed to the Ash Wednesday bushfires that killed 75 people in south east Australia. Sydney Oats/Wikimedia

Odds keep rising for a big El Niño in 2015

El Niño has arrived, it's getting stronger, and it's not about to go away soon. And already there are rumblings that this could be a big one.
Large bushfires occur in the mallee shrublands and woodlands of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Lauren Brown

Percentage targets for planned burning are blunt tools that don’t work

Controlling bushfire risk by burning a set percentage of land every year sounds sensible - but a more sophisticated approach is needed to truly safeguard both humans and wildlife in rural areas.
Is this image of destruction after Cyclone Pam a sign of things to come? Sgt Neil Bryden RAF, British Ministry of Defence/AAP

Explainer: are natural disasters on the rise?

Natural disasters are becoming more frequent, with more people with less money exposed to a greater number of hazards.

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