Winter Updates from Center for Climate and Life Fellows - Center for Climate and Life

Winter Updates from Center for Climate and Life Fellows - Center for Climate and Life

The Center for Climate and Life Fellows are a group of leading Columbia University scientists who investigate the critical issue of how climate change impacts humanity. Read on to find out about some of their recent research progress and work in the news.

Center for Climate and Life Fellow Dan Westervelt holding a February press conference for Ghanaian journalists. (Image courtesy of Dan Westervelt)
Center for Climate and Life Fellow Dan Westervelt holding a February press conference for Ghanaian journalists. (Image courtesy of Dan Westervelt)

Dan Westervelt is in Accra, Ghana, where he’s participating in workshops on air quality modeling and forecasting at the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, and he held a press conference for local media—check out his work in these stories from the Ghana News Agency, Modern Ghana, and the Ghanaian Times. On this trip, he’ll also travel to other African cities to install low-cost air pollution monitors. Westervelt is using funding from the Center for Climate and Life to establish a real-time air pollution-monitoring network for megacities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Rachel Lupien, a Lamont-Doherty postdoc funded by the Center for Climate and Life, setting up a lab for isotope analyses at the Mpala Research Center in Kenya. (Image: Kevin Uno)
Rachel Lupien, a Lamont-Doherty postdoc funded by the Center for Climate and Life, setting up a lab for isotope analyses at the Mpala Research Center in Kenya. (Image: Kevin Uno)

Fellow Kevin Uno and Rachel Lupien, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory postdoc funded by the Center for Climate and Life, are spending time at the Mpala Research Centre and the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya over the next three weeks. They’re teaching a field course in terrestrial paleoecology to Columbia and Yale University undergraduates at the Mpala Research Centre. Their work in Kenya will inform their Climate and Life-funded studies of the effects of past climate shifts on human culture and migration during the African Humid Period.

Research by a team of Lamont-Doherty climate and drought experts, including Climate and Life Fellows Ed Cook and Park Williams, was featured in Science. The scientists analyzed tree-ring records and discovered that the Americas are prone to catastrophic, simultaneous droughts. The finding suggests that such “megadroughts” could occur again in the future.

Cook, a pioneer in the field of tree-ring research, received funding from the Center for Climate and Life to develop a more comprehensive Northern Hemisphere Drought Atlas—an extensive, centuries-long record of wet and dry periods for the region. Williams, one of our first Fellows, studies the causes and consequences of droughts from climatological and ecological perspectives, with a focus on the western United States.

Learn more about our Center for Climate and Life Fellows and sign up for our newsletter to receive quarterly updates about Center activities.