News & Views

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December 9th, 2016|

2017 Center for Climate and Life Fellows Announced

The four new Fellows are a diverse group of junior and mid-career scientists with research interests spanning a range of climate topics and regions.

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December 7th, 2016|

Most of Greenland Ice Melted to Bedrock in Recent Geologic Past

Evidence buried in Greenland’s bedrock shows that the Greenland Ice Sheet nearly disappeared for an extended time in the last million years or so.

The first of six ALAMO floats parachutes into the Ross Sea off Antarctica to begin profiling the water. Their mission is to check for areas where warmer than normal water could put the Ross Ice Shelf at risk. Photo: Tej Dhakal/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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December 2nd, 2016|

Antarctica Has a New Explorer Testing the Water Along a Critical Ice Shelf

Floats deployed by Lamont scientists will find areas where warmer than normal water could put the Ross Ice Shelf at risk.

Feeding the world’s growing population is a challenge, one that is compounded by global warming as extreme heat and drought impact crop yields and food supplies. Image: Forrest Cavale
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Nov 17, 2016|

The Real Climate Catastrophe

Earth’s climate is changing very rapidly, with severe impacts looming on the horizon, yet we continue to stand around instead of finding and implementing solutions to the challenges posed by global warming.

Trees grow very slowly in northern Alaska; this one that Boelman is examining is about 15 years old. Photo: Kevin Krajick
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Nov 16, 2016|

Where Trees Meet Tundra, Decoding Signals of Climate Change

In the far north, climate is warming two to three times faster than the global average. How will these changes affect tundra and boreal forests?

Microbes
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November 11th, 2016|

Understanding Microbes and Global Warming

Sonya Dyhrman studies marine microbes and the role they play in producing oxygen, capturing carbon dioxide, and fueling the marine food web.

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November 4th, 2016|

Clues to Past Climate

A close-up of a Litsea calicarioides leaf’s stomata, through which leaves take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, speaks to atmospheric CO2 levels 23 million years ago.

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November 1st, 2016|

How Far Did Sea Level Rise in the Past?

Figuring out how far sea level rose during past warm periods in Earth’s history starts with a walk on the beach, a keen eye for evidence of ancient shorelines, and a highly accurate GPS system.

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Oct 31, 2016|

Monitoring Coastal Erosion in West Africa

Geologist Alessio Rovere and Trinity Mensah-Senoo walk along a beach in Ghana gathering data that will be used to monitor coastal erosion.

Peter Kelemen
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Oct 31, 2016|

Turning CO2 to Stone to Combat Climate Change

Lamont scientists have developed ways to relatively quickly turn carbon dioxide captured from power plants to a solid for long-term storage.

Park Williams at Open House
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October 28th, 2016|

The Impact of Human-caused Warming on Drought and Fire

Park Williams explains the influence of climate change on droughts and wildfires in the western United States.

Brad Sampling
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October 14th, 2016|

Pacific Corals and Climate

In diving expeditions to several Pacific Ocean islands, Lamont paleoclimatologist Brad Linsley has collected cores that hold up to 500 years’ worth of climate information.

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October 13th, 2016|

Historic Shrinking of Antarctic Ice Sheet Linked to CO2 Spike

23 million years ago, the Antarctic ice sheet was shrinking quickly. A new study by Lamont scientists sheds light on the cause of that ancient melt.

Mo Raymo
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October 7th, 2016|

Sea Change in South Africa

Lamont marine geologist and paleoclimatologist Maureen Raymo studies ancient shorelines to understand how high seas rose in the past, and how high they might climb in the future.

In July and August, the Roaring Lion fire devoured more than 8,000 acres of forest, along with over 60 homes and outbuildings in eastern Montana’s Bitterroot Range. Here, the fire burns through dense conifers on July 31, 2016. Photo courtesy of Mike Daniels
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October 10th, 2016|

Climate Change Has Doubled Western U.S. Forest Fire Area

A new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the U.S. West over the last 30 years.

Rising temperatures drive up the risk of a megadrought hitting the Southwestern United States this century, a new study finds. Photo: Cynthia Mendoza/USDA
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October 6th, 2016|

Rising Temperatures Load the Dice for Megadrought Risk

As the Southwestern U.S. grows hotter, the risk of long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90% this century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace.

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October 5th, 2016|

Climate and Life at the Lamont Open House

Follow your curiosity and explore Earth science with us with on Saturday, October 8 at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Open House.

Harvest
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October 4th, 2016|

Mapping Risks and Building Resilience, From Plot to Plate

Figuring out how the global food system might respond to disturbances will ensure that everyone has safe, reliable access to the food they need.

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September 30th, 2016|

Songbirds and Climate Change

Ecosystem ecologist Natalie Boelman is studying the effects of climate change on the relationships among migratory songbirds, plants and insects in Alaska.

2016 Climate and Life Fellow Park Williams uses an increment borer to extract a core from a tree in the Ozark Mountains. Photo: Kevin Krajick
Categories: Uncategorized
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September 30th, 2016|

Request for Proposals: Center for Climate and Life Fellows

The Center for Climate and Life will support three new fellows to conduct innovative, impactful research relevant to our mission.

A man wades through a flooded street in Cornwall, England after severe storms hit Britain in February 2014.
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August 30th, 2016|

How Does the Ocean Drive Weather and Climate Extremes?

Lamont’s Ryan Abernathey and Richard Seager are investigating how processes in the ocean create extreme weather and climate conditions over land.

Participants in Students on Ice listen to Lamont climate scientist Maureen Raymo discuss climate change at the foot of Greenland's Illissaat Icefjord. (Image: Martin Lipman/Students on Ice)
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September 15th, 2016|

Facing Rapid Change in the Arctic

An expedition to the Canadian Arctic and west coast of Greenland is a moving and motivating experience for leading climate scientist Maureen Raymo.

Snowfall is expected to increase over Antarctica as temperatures warm, helping to partially offset sea-level rise. Photo: Michael Stukel
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August 24th, 2016|

By Mid-Century, More Antarctic Snowfall May Partially Offset Sea-Level Rise

In a new study, Lamont’s Michael Previdi and Lorenzo Polvani found that the effect of rising temperatures on snowfall in Antarctica has so far been overshadowed by the frozen continent’s large natural climate variability.

The 2003 Simi Valley Fire ravages a mountain side in Southern California's Simi Valley. Image: U.S. Air Force/Senior Master Sgt. Dennis W. Goff)
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August 18th, 2016|

Drought and Fire Activity: What’s Climate Change Got to Do with It?

Scientist Park Williams, recipient of a Climate and Life Fellowship, is examining the influence of climate change on droughts and wildfires.

Flooding this week near Port Vincent, Louisiana. Photo: NASA
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August 17th, 2016|

As Louisiana Floods, Assessing the Influence of Climate Change

The heavy rains and flooding in Louisiana have been devastating. Can we attribute the severity of it to climate change? How you measure that depends on the questions you ask.

Kelly Slater
Categories: Uncategorized
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August 11th, 2016|

Surf with a Legend and Support Ocean Science Research

Join pro-surfing legend Kelly Slater at his Surf Ranch as part of a new fundraising campaign that benefits WSL PURE and the Center for Climate and Life.

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August 9th, 2016|

A Migration Mystery

Ecologist Natalie Boelman is part of a multi-year field campaign to understand the impacts of climate change in Alaska and western Canada.

Intern Addison Bent at work in the Lamont Core Repository. Credit Rebecca Fowler
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July 26th, 2016|

A Summer of Hands-on, Minds-On Science

A new internship program enables high school students to gain hands-on research experience while working alongside Climate and Life scientists.

NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nepartak approaching Taiwan on July 7, 2016. Image: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response/Jeff Schmaltz
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July 14th, 2016|

Tropical Cyclones on Track to Grow More Intense as Temperatures Rise

Powerful tropical cyclones like the super typhoon that lashed Taiwan in July are expected to become even stronger as the planet warms.

Ocean overturning circulation illustrated. Courtesy of co-author Lynne Talley.
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June 27th, 2016|

Wind-Blown Antarctic Sea Ice Helps Drive Ocean Circulation

A new study shows how Antarctic sea ice migration may be more important for the global ocean circulation than anyone realized.

Adélie penguins
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July 10th, 2016|

Penguins: Climate’s Canaries in the Coal Mine

Changes on the West Antarctic Peninsula are showing in the numbers and species of marine wildlife, particularly the native Adélie penguin.

The CarbFix test site in Iceland where gases from a geothermal power plant are pumped underground and converted into minerals by reacting with basalt stone. Credit: Martin Stute
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Jun 16, 2016|

Putting CO2 Away for Good by Turning it Into Stone

In a recently published study, scientists demonstrated that two years after injecting CO2 underground at a pilot test site in Iceland, almost all of it has been converted into minerals.

A projectile point, age and makers unknown, on the ground in northwest Kenya, where conditions are now more arid than in the past. Photo: Kevin Krajick
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Jun 14, 2016|

New Support for Human Evolution in Grasslands

A new study supplies the longest and most complete record of ancient plant life in much of what is now Ethiopia and Kenya, the assumed birthplace of humanity.

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June 9th, 2016|

In a First, Iceland Power Plant Turns CO2 Emissions to Stone

Scientists working at the power plant demonstrated how CO2 emissions pumped into the earth could be chemically changed to a solid within months.

Peter deMenocal
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May 19th, 2016|

Is It The End Of The World As We Know It?

In this episode of the Huffington Post’s “Talk Nerdy To Me,” Center for Climate and Life Director Peter de Menocal discusses climate change and the Anthropocene.

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May 17, 2016|

Iron Fertilization Won’t Work in Equatorial Pacific, Study Suggests

Earth’s own large-scale iron fertilization experiments over 500,000 years show adding iron to the equatorial Pacific surface has little effect.

Peter deMenocal
Categories: Uncategorized
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May 14, 2016|

Talks@Columbia: Why Climate Matters

Center for Climate and Life director Peter deMenocal discusses how climate is changing today, why it is changing and how this impacts people and the global economy.

Maureen Raymo
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May 4th, 2016|

Ice & Sea-Level Scientist Maureen Raymo Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Maureen Raymo, a marine geologist and paleoceanographer whose name is connected with key theories about how ice ages wax and wane and how sea levels change, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

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April 5th, 2016|

Surfers Team Up with Columbia to Support Ocean Science

The World Surf League is providing $1.5 million in first-year funding for ocean science at Lamont as part of an innovative new philanthropy called WSL PURE.

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March 15th, 2016|

How Will a Shifting Climate Change U.S. Forests?

The Ozarks are some of the country’s most productive forests. They also sit in a warming “hole”, where temperature rise hasn’t yet taken hold.

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Mar 5, 2016|

Bleach Patrol: Turning Surfers into Scientists for Coral Reefs

A new citizen science project turns surfers and other ocean enthusiasts into the eyes of scientists studying the world’s coral reefs.

Glacier loss. (USGS)
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Feb 24, 2016|

Climate Change Isn’t Just a 21st Century Problem

Humans have been burning fossil fuels for only about 150 years, yet that has started a cascade of changes that will still be felt 10,000 years from now.

Ryan Abernathey
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February 23rd, 2016|

Exploring Ocean Turbulence: Sloan Research Fellow Ryan Abernathey

Mesoscale turbulence is where most of the kinetic energy in the oceans can be found, and it may play powerful roles in the global climate.

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February 1st, 2016|

Without the Montreal Protocol, More Intense Tropical Cyclones

Using computer models, scientists compared our expected future with a scenario in which ozone-depleting substances had never been regulated.

Park Williams coring a tree in the Gondar region of Ethiopia. Image: Marcin Koprowski
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January 22nd, 2016|

Center for Climate & Life Announces 2016 Fellows

One scientist is focusing on food security and climate shocks. The other is exploring the influence of climate change on droughts and wildfires.

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December 7th, 2015|

Greenland Glaciers Retreating Faster than Any Time in 9,500 Years

A new study uses sediment cores to track the expansion and retreat of glaciers through time and finds they are more sensitive than realized.

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December 3rd, 2015|

What Is Ocean Acidification & Why Does It Matter?

As excess carbon dioxide is absorbed into the oceans, it is starting to have profound effects on marine life, from oysters to tiny snails at the base of the food chain.

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Nov 28, 2015|

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: Milestones in Climate Studies

Much of the modern understanding of climate has been shaped by pioneering studies done at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Satellite image of peat fires in Borneo during 2015 (NASA)
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Nov 19, 2015|

Peat Fires Choking Southeast Asia Pose New Threat to Global Climate

The Indonesian peat fires that have been choking cities across Southeast Asia are creating more than a local health menace—they’re releasing immense stores of CO2.

Snowpack in the Lesser Caucasus mountains of northeastern Turkey. The lowlands depend on snowmelt, which is projected to decline due to global warming. (Courtesy of Dario Martin-Benito).
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Nov 12, 2015|

Declining Snowpacks May Cut Many Nations’ Water

Scientists have identified 32 water basins where loss of snowpack as temperatures warm is putting the water supplies of large populations at risk.

The former site of Sant Roma de Sau as water levels drop in Spain. (Josep Enric/CC-BY-2.0)
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Nov 6, 2015|

New Drought Atlas Maps 2,000 Years of Climate in Europe

Using tree rings, a new drought atlas maps the reach and severity of dry and wet periods across Europe and the Mediterranean over the past 2,000 years.

Greenland Ice Sheet (NASA-GSFC)
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Oct 13, 2015|

Tracking Ice Sheets When They Were Smaller than Today

As global temperatures rise, knowing just how far Greenland’s ice sheet shrank in the past could help scientists predict sea level rise in the future.

A new study projects that much of Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa will grow drier as global warming progresses. In northern Ethiopia, herders often already struggle to make a living. (Brian Kahn/IRI)
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Oct 9, 2015|

Horn of Africa Drying in Sync with Climate

A new study finds that the Horn of Africa is drying at a rate that is both unusual in the context of the past 2,000 years and in step with human-influenced warming.

Changing pollen levels in the sediment of Lake Elsinore indicate that a series of mega-droughts gripped the region thousands of years ago. Photo by Jim Sneddon/CC-BY-2.0
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September 22nd, 2015|

Ancient Pollen Points to Mega-Droughts in California Thousands of Years Ago

Ancient pollen is providing new insights into historic droughts in Southern California, including how a series of mega-droughts that changed the ecological landscape.

A research vessel plows through the Southern Ocean, whose rough waters play an outsize role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. (Nicolas Metzl, LOCEAN/IPSL Laboratory)
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September 10th, 2015|

The Southern Ocean Is Breathing in Carbon Dioxide at a Healthy Rate

Since the late 1980s, the Southern Ocean’s rate of CO2 uptake appeared to have stagnated, alarming scientists. New data shows a recovery.

Morning fog reflects solar radiation in the Amazon River Basin. Photo: Dallas Krentzler/CC-BY-2.0
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September 1st, 2015|

Seeing the Amazon’s Future Through the Fog

To understand the impact on the Amazon as global warming produces more intense and frequent droughts, we need to understand its water and carbon cycles.

Researchers sample a dead tree in northern Mongolia. (Courtesy Nicole Davi)
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June 11th, 2015|

Tree Rings Confirm Unprecedented Warming in Central Asia

A new study of tree rings from Mongolia dating back more than 1,000 years confirms that recent warming in central Asia has no parallel in any known record.

California drying. (Dominick McPeak)
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August 20th, 2015|

Warming Climate is Deepening California Drought

A new study finds that global warming has measurably worsened the ongoing California drought and holds warnings for the future.

Sea surface height (color shading) and heat transport in the upper 700 m (arrows) during 2003-2012. (Lee etal, Nature Geoscience, 2015)
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May 20, 2015|

Global Warming’s ‘Missing’ Heat: It May Be in the Indian Ocean

A team of oceanographers says much of the heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases is being soaked up and stored by the oceans–at least for now.

At Iceland’s geothermal power plants, interdisciplinary teams work to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. (Asgeir Eggertsson/CC-BY-SA-3.0)
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Apr 14, 2015|

In a Melting Iceland, Drilling Deep to Stem Climate Change

Iceland has seen fast-rising temperatures since the 1970s, and glaciers–a big source of runoff for hydropower–are visibly receding.

Drought map in 2095 under business as usual. (NASA)
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February 12th, 2015|

Warming Pushes Western U.S. Toward Driest Period in 1,000 Years

During the second half of the 21st century, the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, a new study says.

In northern winter, the Bering Sea, dividing Alaska and Siberia, becomes the most acidic region on earth (in purple) as shown in this February 2005 acidity map in pH scale. Temperate oceans are less acidic. The equatorial Pacific is left blank due to its high variability around El Niño and La Niña events. (Takahashi)
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November 7th, 2014|

New Global Maps Detail Human-Caused Ocean Acidification

A team of scientists has published the most comprehensive picture yet of how acidity levels vary across the world’s oceans.