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CNN's Tech for Good explores the technological innovations helping scientists better understand extreme weather


Published : Nov. 9, 2023 - 20:10

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HONG KONG, Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of natural disasters around the world has increased tenfold in the past 60 years, some scientists say. These events are also becoming more disastrous, exacerbated by climate change. In latest episode of Tech for Good, CNN visits three countries on the frontline of natural phenomena and meets the next generation of scientists, engineers and architects developing technology to protect their communities.

CNN’s Tech for Good explores the technological innovations helping scientists better understand extreme weather
CNN’s Tech for Good explores the technological innovations helping scientists better understand extreme weather

First up, CNN visits students at the University of Auckland in New Zealand who are imagining ways to future-proof North Island from extreme floods following Cyclone Gabrielle. CNN talks to Muizz Shah, a mechanical engineering PhD student using scaled-down models of Auckland's waterfront to test the impact of cyclonic winds, providing key data for building more resilient infrastructure. CNN also talks to Rich Naish, an architecture master's class teacher at the university. He is also the founder and creative director of climate-conscious architectural firm RTA studio and built his own experimental home on a flood plane to demonstrate the power of climate resilient design. Corban Richter is one of Naish's students, whose hometown was badly hit by Cyclone Gabrielle. CNN finds out how he draws upon Māori cultural knowledge to design traditional paddleboat facilities that can handle a rise in sea-level by moving with the tide.

CNN then meets with Nathan MacGregor, Deputy Group Captain of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in Australia, where they are conducting controlled burns of bushland to reduce the fuel that is vegetation when a real wildfire occurs. CNN speaks to Dr. Andrew Sullivan, principal research scientist at CSIRO bushfire behaviour and suppression team. He introduces the Pyrotron, a 29-meter-long combustion wind tunnel that measures the way vegetation burns. The data Sullivan's team collect can be used to predict the direction of wildfires given wind conditions, helping authorities to warn people in harm's way. Finally, CNN hears from Marta Yebra, director of the Australian National University (ANU) and Optus Bushfire Research Center of Excellence. Yebra and her colleagues are using drones armed with thermal cameras to determine the flammability of the landscape and ground lightning detectors that can provide the location of lightning strikes to detect fire hazards early.

Lastly, CNN visits the researchers at the University of Oregon who are trying novel approaches to predicting future volcanic eruptions. Volcanologist and professional musician Leif Karlstrom founded a project to listen to a volcano's "song" and process its rhythms and melodies into a musical "score", helping scientists find new patterns in volcanic activity. The musical form could also allow non-scientists and people with visual impairments to engage with volcano research and experience the natural world.

Tech for Good trailer:
Tech for Good images:
Tech for Good microsite:  

Airtimes for 30-minute special:
Saturday, 11th November at 1:30pm and 7:30pm HKT
Sunday, 12th November at 12pm HKT
Monday, 13th November at 6:30am HKT

About CNN International  

CNN's portfolio of news and information services is available in seven different languages across all major TV, digital and mobile platforms, reaching more than 475 million households around the globe. CNN International is the number one international TV news channel according to all major media surveys across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region, and Latin America and has a US presence that includes CNNgo. CNN Digital is a leading network for online news, mobile news and social media. CNN is at the forefront of digital innovation and continues to invest heavily in expanding its digital global footprint, with a suite of award-winning digital properties and a range of strategic content partnerships, commercialised through a strong data-driven understanding of audience behaviours. CNN has won multiple prestigious awards around the world for its journalism. Around 1,000 hours of long-form series, documentaries and specials are produced every year by CNNI's non-news programming division. CNN has 36 editorial offices and more than 1,100 affiliates worldwide through CNN Newsource. CNN International is a Warner Bros. Discovery company.