The Mediterranean Basin is home to harvests and hailstorms, tourism and tectonics, windswept coasts and wavering water supplies. In this issue of Eos, we explore how a more thorough understanding of hazards in the region is helping scientists better inform stakeholders on risk assessment, food security, resource management, and energy production.
The benefits of more robust weather forecasting are outlined in “How Hail Hazards Are Changing Around the Mediterranean” by Sante Laviola, Giulio Monte, Elsa Cattani, and Vincenzo Levizzani. In this feature, the scientists identify hot spots throughout the Mediterranean and describe the development of innovative modeling techniques that are “useful for both climatological studies of hail events and the operational needs of meteorologists.” This new “climatology of hailstorms” clarifies links between climate change, hail, and damage to crops and infrastructure in the Mediterranean and beyond.
In “A Common Language for Reporting Earthquake Intensities,” authors David J. Wald, Sabine Loos, Robin Spence, Tatiana Goded, and Ayse Hortacsu use the devastating impact of the 2023 Kahramanmaraş earthquake in Türkiye to make the case for a comprehensive macroseismic scale. Such a scale would cohere a jumble of crowded, crowdsourced Internet reports, as well as discordant scientific scales used in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
A deep dive into the shallow earthquakes of the Kahramanmaraş sequence is also the focus of “The 2023 Türkiye-Syria Earthquakes Shifted Stress in the Crust” by Erin Martin-Jones. Although the complex tectonic interplay underlying Anatolia is not new to scientists, these earthquakes allowed them to better identify seismic links between neighboring faults. A more nuanced understanding of stress transfer may help stakeholders in Türkiye, Syria, and the rest of the tectonically active Eastern Mediterranean prepare for future quakes with more targeted construction codes and awareness campaigns.
The evolving nature of society’s ecocultural contract with water—particularly near Spain’s mountainous Mediterranean coast—is the topic of this month’s Opinion, “Protecting the Mountain Water Towers of Spain’s Sierra Nevada” by Bopaiah A. Biddanda, Manuel Villar-Argaiz, and Juan Manuel Medina-Sánchez. They stress the importance of holistic study and practical application to conserve these freshwater resources, from source to sea.
The integrated approaches pursued by scientists in this issue are applicable far beyond the Mediterranean: Consistent, systemic, and rigorous science contributes to healthier, safer communities.
—Caryl-Sue Micalizio, Editor-in-Chief