The Oklahoma tornadoes, Superstorm Sandy, the Tohoku tsunami, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are just a few examples of oceanic, atmospheric, and other Earth system disasters in the past 3 years that together claimed thousands of lives and caused hundreds of billions of dollars of damage. Basic and applied research in the geosciences were essential in supporting early warnings and forecasts that were used not only to protect lives when these natural disasters struck but also to assess risks and help society to be better able to adapt and recover after disaster struck.
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