News aggregator

The Meeting that Fueled a Global Plate Tectonics Revolution - Eos

Featured News - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 19:54
Fifty years ago, scientists began to connect details of an idea with profound implications: Earth's ocean crust recycles itself on a global scale, and continents move across the face of the planet. Scientists from Lamont brought the key evidence together.

Spy Satellites Reveal the Himalayas’ Changing Glaciers – in 3D

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 10:00

Josh Maurer used declassified spy satellite data to create this 3D interactive image of glaciers along the border between Nepal and Sikkim, India, as they existed in 1975. Click and drag on the image to rotate it. Credit: Josh Maurer

Old spy satellite images are beginning to provide the first consistent look at how glaciers across the Himalayas are changing and what future water supplies might look like for millions of people who rely on their seasonal melt.

Until now, knowledge about glacier mass change in the region has been spotty, with inconsistent measurements from glacier to glacier. Public satellite images could reveal changes in a glacier’s area but not its height or mass, so scientists made physical measurements by putting stakes in the ice and checking back year to year.  Many glaciers are too remote or too dangerous to reach, though, making field data scarce.

When the U.S. government began declassifying spy satellite data, scientists figured out how to manually build 3D elevation models by matching landmarks between images and calculating the satellite camera’s angle, but the process was still time consuming and inconsistent.

Josh Maurer, a graduate student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, developed a better way.

Picture a stereoscope, like the View-Master with its cardboard reels of tiny photos. The stereoscope takes two photos of the same scene, shot from slightly different angles, and puts them together so your eyes see a 3D image through the viewer. Maurer took that concept and used computer vision techniques to design an automated process that creates consistent 3D models of glaciers across a wide region as they appeared in the past using declassified spy satellite images.

By automating the process, Maurer was able to start creating the first consistent look at glacier change over the past 40 years across Asia’s entire high-mountain region, from the greater Himalaya, including Bhutan and Nepal, through the Karakorum and into the Hindu Kush. On Monday, Dec. 12, he will be presenting his early results at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

“It can take years for a glacier to fully respond to a change in climate, so looking back several decades gives us a better signal,” Maurer said. “While we have volume changes over the last decade or so from more modern remote sensing platforms, glacier response times can be longer than that. The declassified spy satellite data allows for actual ice volume changes over those longer time scales.”

This 3D interactive image shows the same region between Nepal and Sikkim, India, as the image above, but as it appeared in 2007. Josh Maurer created it using data collected by NASA’s Terra satellite in 2007. Credit: Josh Maurer

 Ali Corley

A comparison of images taken in 1974 and 2007 of the same region along the border between Nepal and Sikkim, India, reveal changes in the elevation of the region’s glaciers. (Click on image to view the changes.) Credit: Ali Corley

Tapping into Hexagon

Creating a 3D image requires at least two overlapping photos of the glacier. Maurer found the overlap he needed in declassified material from a U.S. spy satellite program called Hexagon, which operated from 1971 to 1986.

During the Cold War, Hexagon’s 20 reconnaissance satellites orbited the planet, each capturing a series of images that could overlap by 55 or 70 percent. That overlap allowed for 3D vision that public satellite systems at the time, like the early Landsat program, couldn’t provide.

Knowing how glaciers are changing is critical for communities and governments across the region today as they plan for water changes in the future. Roughly 20 percent of the world’s population relies on the Himalayan glaciers’ seasonal meltwater, in addition to monsoonal rain and snowfall, for drinking water, to grow crops, and to produce energy. Bhutan’s economy, for example, relies heavily on the production and sale of hydropower, and parts of India rely on that energy source to power their homes and businesses.

“Life depends on water, so changing the amount or timing of how that water reaches a community or an ecosystem is going to have an impact,” Maurer said.

Lessons from Bhutan

Maurer’s work has already revealed insights into how differently the Himalayas’ glaciers can behave.

He and his co-authors from Lamont, the University of Utah, and Brigham Young University, where Maurer started work on the project as a master’s student, published their first results this summer covering 21 glaciers in just the Bhutan region. They compared the Hexagon images from 1974 with images taken in 2006 by the ASTER imaging instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

The scientists found that the Bhutan glaciers have been losing more ice than they have been gaining. Their most conservative estimate for average mass loss, if melted to water, was equivalent to nearly 7 inches (0.17 meters) lost over the entire surface of each glacier every year.

That mass loss varied from glacier to glacier, though, and by the glaciers’ characteristics. The glaciers that ended in a glacial lake lost more ice per year than those that didn’t. Clean-ice glaciers, with surfaces directly exposed to the Sun’s radiation, lost only slightly more ice than glaciers that were covered with debris that could helped to insulate the ice from the sun’s rays; the reason debris-covered glaciers were vulnerable, Maurer found, appeared to be that ice cliffs and melt ponds were forming on those glaciers and enhancing the melting. One glacier was losing ice about twice as fast as the others for reasons that are still unclear.

The results show why a single glacier can’t be used as a benchmark for a region like Bhutan—there is too much variability. They also show that declassified spy satellite data can overcome that challenge by providing a consistent picture of a large area of the Earth.

Maurer’s tool is allowing scientists to quantify glacier change over space and time in a consistent way that hadn’t been done before, said University of Utah Professor Summer Rupper, who has conducted many expeditions to measure changing glacier mass. The arduous and often risky trips to high-mountain glaciers will still be necessary, though, she said.

“A glacier may be losing mass for two reasons—it may be from melt or it may be getting less snow,” Rupper said. “Remote sensing can give you the net change but not the cause. The power is when you can couple that with on the ground information to put that into perspective.”

Learn more about the work underway at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

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Frontiers in Cryoseismology - Eos

Featured News - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 12:00
Since the discovery by Lamont's Göran Ekström and Meredith Nettles of glacial earthquakes caused by Greenland’s short-term ice movements, the flourishing field of cryoseismology has proved to be a powerful tool for studying a variety of glaciological phenomena, including crevasse formation, basal shear sources, iceberg calving, the rifting process in ice shelves, sea ice dynamics, precursory signs of unstable glaciers in real time, and beyond.

Greenland Once Lost Nearly All Its Ice and Could Again - Scientific American

Featured News - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 15:26
Evidence buried in Greenland's bedrock shows the island's massive ice sheet melted nearly completely at least once in the last 2.6 million years. The findings from a study led by Lamont's Joerg Schaefer suggest that Greenland's ice may be less stable than previously believed.

Greenland: Climate Change Could Lead to Unexpected Ice Melt - TIME

Featured News - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 15:14
A new study from Lamont's Joerg Schaefer published in the journal Nature undercuts key assumptions about Greenland's ice sheet, suggesting it may not be as stable as previously believed.

New Report Questions Ice in Greenland - US News & World Report

Featured News - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 15:07
A new study led by Lamont's Joerg Schaefer indicates that the bedrock at the bottom of Greenland may not have been covered with ice for hundreds of thousands of years during the recent geological past. It's a finding that, if true, holds huge implications for coastal cities all around the world.

Live from San Francisco: Science from Lamont

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 11:17

Earth scientists from around the world will be in San Francisco next week to share their latest discoveries at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. You can watch several of their presentations live online through AGU On-Demand, including seven involving scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University’s home for Earth science research. (See speakers and times below.)

Three Lamont scientists were elected to leadership positions in the AGU this fall: Robin Bell was chosen by AGU members to become president-elect, a position she will serve in for two years before becoming president in 2019, the year the AGU celebrates its 100th anniversary; Kerstin Lehnert joins the AGU Board of Directors; and Robert Anderson becomes Ocean Sciences Section president-elect.

Three other Lamont scientists are being honored this year for their work:

Heather Savage

Heather Savage

Heather Savage will receive the 2016 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Phil Skemer, president of AGU’s Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group, writes: “Heather’s research on friction, dynamic earthquake triggering, and the structure and properties of faults is at the forefront of rock physics. Her approach to earthquake science includes a dizzying array of topics and methods, including deformation experiments, field observations, and (remarkably) organic geochemistry.” Savage will be talking at AGU this year about using temperature to study fault zones and locate past ruptures.

Jerry McManus

Jerry McManus

Jerry McManus will receive the Dansgaard Award, given to paleoceanographers or paleoclimatologists in recognition of their innovative interdisciplinary work, mentoring, and societal impact. McManus has led global efforts to understand the influence of past climate change on the world’s oceans, including publishing the first continuous record of deepwater export from the North Atlantic showing that major cooling events were accompanied by a reduction in deepwater export. He will be talking at AGU about reconstructing deep ocean circulation in the North Atlantic using sediment cores from the Bermuda Rise.

Maya Tolstoy

Maya Tolstoy

Maya Tolstoy was invited to give the Birch Lecture, an honor for scientists. Tolstoy is among the world’s leading scientists working on seafloor volcanoes and their associated earthquakes along the mid-ocean ridges that encircle the globe. She recently tracked a series of earthquakes that preceded the 2015 eruption at Axial Seamount, off the U.S. West Coast. Tolstoy’s lecture is titled “Taking the Pulse of Mid-Ocean Ridges.”

The following presentations, including Tolstoy’s lecture, will be streamed live online and made available on demand. To watch online, register at AGU on Demand, then look for the session’s channel. (All times are Pacific Standard Time):

  • Ben Cook will discuss his research into the drought history of the Mediterranean region over the past 900 years and put the severity of the drought that preceded the war in Syria into perspective. Read more about his research, and watch live (part of Hydroclimate Extremes: Drought I) on Monday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m. PST. Channel: Extreme Events and Hazards.
  • Peter Kelemen will be a panelist in the AGU-JpGU Great Debate on the role of geoscientists today and future careers in geoscience. Watch live on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m. PST. Channel: Union.
  • Marco Tedesco, a leading voice on changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, will be a panelist for an event to launch NOAA’s Arctic Report Card. Read more about the panel and watch live on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10:30 a.m. PST. This appears in a separate press conferences stream.
  • Maya Tolstoy will give this year’s Birch Lecture. The title of her presentation: “Taking the Pulse of Mid-Ocean Ridges.” Watch live on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 4 p.m. PST. Channel: Earth Processes.
  • Bärbel Hönisch, who studies ocean acidification, will discuss a new way to perform experiments under simulated Paleocene seawater conditions. Watch live (part of The PETM) on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 8 a.m. PST. Channel: Union.
  • Kerstin Lehnert will convene two sessions this year on data management. The first raises awareness of the scientific value of preserving sample collections and ways to improve access to them and preserve them to increase their long-term impact. Watch live (Power to Our Samples) on Friday, Nov. 16., at 10:20 a.m. PST. Channel: Union.
  • Kerstin Lehnert’s second session, titled “Darth Data,” explores emerging technologies for rescuing old data for new discoveries. Watch live on Friday, Nov. 16, at 1:40 p.m. PST. Channel: Data and Emerging Technologies.

You can read about Lamont scientists and their presentations throughout the week on the Lamont website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Rare Look at the Disappearing World of Antarctica's Whales - National Geographic

Featured News - Tue, 12/06/2016 - 12:00
As the southern continent rapidly warms, some whale populations are booming—while others are suffering from lack of ice. National Geographic talks with Lamont's Doug Martinson.

The ‘bird’ has flown!

Tracking Antarctica's Ice Shelves - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 20:35
ROSETTA team gathered around the Alamo float as it is loaded on the plane for deployment in front of the Ross Ice Shelf.

ROSETTA team gathered around the Alamo float as it is loaded on the plane for deployment in front of the Ross Ice Shelf.

Voices are raised in celebratory cheers from the southernmost continent to across the U.S. The ‘bird’ has flown! Our first ALAMO float is deployed! Now we can begin to answer some of the big questions on this mysterious ice/ocean interface “How cold is the water in the Southern Ocean where it meets the Ross Ice Shelf? What is the salinity in that location? How deep is the water? and how do all these things change and how does it vary with time and location?

Location of the first Alamo float dropped from the LC130 for the ROSETTA Project.

Location of the first Alamo float dropped from the LC130 for the ROSETTA Project is shown in front of the Ross Ice Shelf.

This season the ROSETTA project will have our ALAMO (air-launched autonomous micro-observer) ‘bird’ on location phoning home to answer our questions; and each question will spur more questions, probing us to better understand the ocean circulation in this dynamic region. This area of the earth’s oceans is not well sampled. Elsewhere in the world we have floats and instruments that bob up and down and follow the currents as they collect information on circulation and ocean measurements. However, around the Antarctic continent we have large gaps in coverage. The seasonal sea ice interferes with the ships that are used to transport and deploy most floats, and the difficult conditions that face the floats once they are installed increases the difficulty in placing them in the Southern Ocean.

Map of the distance to the four closest floats pointing out the lack of floats around the Antarctic ocean.

Map of the distance to the four closest floats pointing out the lack of floats around the Antarctic ocean.

Five additional Alamo floats are planned to be launched in the coming days of the project. Once complete a small armada of floats will be bobbing and moving in front of the Ross Ice Shelf providing us critical information on this remote region. Because of the floating, diving and dropping involved in our Alamo floats we have named them for sea birds – snowy petrel, sooty shearwater, wandering albatross to name a few.  Some of the floats will rest quietly on the bottom and bounce up every 3 to 4 days to collect and send home some data, others will operate like our existing float following ocean circulation and once a day collecting a full profile of data to send home. The trick is to locate them where they can tell us about water moving along the front of the ice shelf yet keep them from being tugged too close to the shelf front where they might be damaged.

The first set of data from our 'sea bird'.

The first set of data from our ‘sea bird’ shows the surface water is much different than the water once you dive down in the water column.

With the first transmission we saw that the ocean temperature dropped from -1.25 C at the surface to -1.9 C at a depth of 700 meters where it touched down, and that the salinity moved from 34.4 PSU to close to 34.8 PSU in that same depth profile. As the ALAMO moves we hope to will learn about how the circulation moves along the front of the ice shelf. Each additional instrument will tell us more building our understanding of this remote area and significantly increasing our ability to model future ice movement in this region. Read more here about our Alamo!

Alamo dropped, mission complete! An image of the shadow of the LC130 as it flies across the Ross Ice Shelf. (Photo by Fabio)

Alamo dropped, mission complete! An image of the shadow of the LC130 as it flies across the Ross Ice Shelf. (Photo by Fabio)

ROSETTA is a multi-institutional project that brings together the scientists from geophysics, oceanography and geology to investigate the Ross embayment and the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in Antarctica. A large part of this project is operated from the air using LC130 transport aircraft and the IcePod instrument platform. To understand more about how this ice shelf fits into the larger ice surfaces of Antarctica ROSETTA is collecting a dense grid of measurements over ice – shelf thickness, surface ice measurements, the shape of the ocean floor below the ice shelf and ocean circulation around and under the ice shelf. But for the ocean circulation data there was a need to switch from aircraft to buoys.

IcePod on the side of the New York Air National Guard LC130 Skier 92, on the ice shelf in Antarctica. (Photo N. Frearson)

IcePod on the side of the New York Air National Guard LC130 Skier 92, on the edge of the ice shelf in Antarctica. (Photo N. Frearson)

The ROSETTA-Ice team consists of scientists from Lamont-Doherty, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Colorado College, Earth and Space Research, and New Zealand’s GNS Science. Funding for the larger project comes from National Science Foundation  Antarctic Integrated System Science , and the George and Betty Moore Foundation. The Alamo buoys were made possible with support from the Old York Foundation, Scripps, and a crowdfunding project. You can read about earlier seasons of ROSETTA here

Project link: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/rosetta

Extreme Tornado Outbreaks Are Becoming More Extreme - Climate Central

Featured News - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 16:06
Tornado outbreaks have become more extreme in recent decades, potentially related to climate change, but not for the expected reasons, according to a new study from Lamont's Chiara Lepore.

AGU 2016: Key Events From the Earth Institute

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 13:52

Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute will present important findings at this year’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Below, a guide, in rough chronological order. Unless otherwise noted, scientists are at our Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. For abstracts, see the Meeting ProgramReporters may contact scientists directly, or science news editor Kevin Krajick, kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu 917-361-7766.

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 Surprising U.S. Drinking-Water Dangers   Maura Allaire, Columbia Water Center
Following revelations that the Flint, Mich., water supply was laced with lead, it became obvious that the nation has no long-term picture of water-supply problems. Allaire has assembled one, examining EPA violations in all 50,000 community systems back to the 1980s. She found some 1,000 violations for excess lead or copper−but sewage-linked bacteria (27,000 violations), and fertilizer-linked nitrate (15,700) are even more prevalent. Known violations are probably only part of the picture, she says.
Monday, Dec. 12, 8:45am-9:00am, 104 Moscone South.   PA11E-04
Water Quality Concerns Beyond Flint

 Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health  Patrick Kinney, Mailman School of Public Health
Kinney, an expert on climate and human health, assesses how rising temperatures may create more U.S. air pollution. Ozone, which forms faster in hotter conditions, is projected to climb unless more controls are put on products of combustion. Wildfires will increase as climate warms, and the damaging fine particulates they produce will increase in step. This may in fact already be happening, according to recent measurements in California. Monday, Dec. 12, 10:50am-11:05am, 2020 Moscone West.   GC12A-03

 The Fate of Himalayan Glaciers   Joshua Maurer
The picture of how climate is affecting Himalayan glaciers is blurred, because most studies focus on specific regions and timeframes. Now, Maurer and colleagues have assembled a record of long-term change across wide areas by consistently processing data ranging from declassified 1970s spy-satellite imagery to the latest remote observations. They see widespread dynamic retreat of clean-ice glaciers and down-wasting of debris-covered ones. In particular, glaciers calving into proglacial lakes are undergoing pronounced retreat.
Monday, Dec 12, 1:40pm-6:00pm, Moscone South Posters.   C13D-0869

2016_07_31-21_58_31_566-CDT

 Vegetation Changes in a Drying Southwest   Justin Mankin, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Models predict that the U.S. Southwest will dry significantly in coming decades, due to warming, and this appears to already be underway. Most studies have looked only at the surface effects, but Mankin looks both on and under the ground, from standing vegetation to 3 meters into the soil. Vegetation may become more efficient at drawing up water—but that efficiency may dry out the soil even more.
Monday, Dec. 12, 5:15pm-5:30pm, 3003 Moscone West.   GC14B-06

 Can We Geoengineer the Mantle?    Peter Kelemen
Most proposed methods for removing carbon from the air require extensive infrastructure and energy. Geochemist Kelemen proposes to harness natural processes in seawater and sub-seafloor mantle rocks to take in vast amounts of carbon, using little of either. The process would pipe carbon-poor water from mantle rocks to the sea surface; rapid reactions would then turn atmospheric carbon to a limestone-like solid that would sink. Kelemen and colleagues are working in Oman to explore the scheme.
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 9:30am-9:45am, 3003 Moscone West. GC21J-07
Story/photo essay on Kelemen’s work in Oman | Turning CO2 to Stone

 Great Debate: Do We Really Need Geoscientists?
What is the role of geoscientists? What are they good for, or not? How do we suggest vocations to young people? Panelists include Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University; Laura Guertin of Pennsylvania State University; Yoshisuke Kumano of Japan’s Shizuoka University; and Peter Kelemen of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The event will be webcast.
Tuesday Dec 13, 4:10pm-5:50pm, 2020 Moscone West 2020.   U24A

 The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Party
Traditionally on Tuesday night, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences gather staff and the many alumni now at other institutions worldwide. Journalists covering AGU are welcome—a great chance to make friends, hear informally about new work and have fun.
Tuesday Dec 13, 6:30pm-8:30pm (or beyond), San Francisco Marriott Union Square, 480 Sutter Street, Union Square Ballroom – Mezzanine

 Too Hot to Work Timothy Foreman  Ph.D. Program in Sustainable Development
Warming climate is projected to heighten vector-borne diseases, human mortality and civil conflict. Foreman looks at another potential problem: worker productivity, which he says may drop sharply in countries that are already hot and humid. His behavior study in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua finds that a 1-degree C increase reduces each worker’s output up to an hour a day. The effect is strongest in the poorest, hottest places.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 8:00am-12:20pm, Moscone South Posters.   PA31B-2202

Future El Niño Mark Cane
Cane, who co-created the first working predictive model of the Niño-Southern Oscillation, will address the big questions still surrounding the world’s most powerful weather maker. In 1986, there was only one model; now there are 40, but forecasting still often falls short. Why is ENSO still so unpredictable? Do we even know how potentially predictable it is? And what will become of it in the next century, as background temperatures warm?
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 1:40pm-1:55pm, 3006 Moscone West.   A33N-01

glacier

 Greenland’s Glacial Earthquakes Are Booming Kira Olsen
In Greenland, earthquakes generated by icebergs calving off marine glaciers are multiplying fast. From 1993-2010, 305 events were recorded. 2011-2013 saw 145 more, boosting the earthquake catalog by nearly half. Seismicity has risen especially in western Greenland, and activity has started up in at least one previously quiescent glacier. Such marine fronts now account for half of Greenland’s yearly ice loss.
Wednesday, Dec 14, 1:40pm-6:00pm, Moscone South Posters.   C33C-0839
Glacial quakes may help forecast sea level  / Quakes point to rising temperatures

 Taking the Pulse of the Mid-Ocean Ridges Maya Tolstoy
In this year’s Birch Lecture, marine geophysicist Tolstoy discusses recent surprising findings about the mid-ocean ridges. They are generally viewed as churning out seafloor at a steady rate, but evidence now suggests their activity may wax and over a wide variety of time scales, due to factors including orbital cycles and changing sea level. If seafloor spreading is not steady, geochemical cycles including the carbon cycle probably are not, either.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 4:15pm-5:00pm, 104 Moscone South.   T34A-01

 Systematic Groundwater Changes Linked to Fracking Beizhan Yan
In the first broad study of its kind, Yan and colleagues have shown consistent changes in groundwater chemistry near hydraulic fracturing wells in Pennsylvania. Common substances are found at higher levels, including calcium, chlorine and sulfates–possible harbingers of more dangerous changes to come. Yan gives an update on data from this area, and how water quality compares with that in adjacent New York, where fracking is banned.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 4:45pm-5:00pm, 3014 Moscone West. HC34C-04
Study Links Groundwater Changes to Fracking

 Southern Pine Beetles Heading North  Radley Horton, Center for Climate Systems Research
In coming decades, warmer winters are expected to allow the northward spread of many cold-limited insects, including the destructive southern pine beetle, already making inroads in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Horton presents the first projections of future spread, which he says will be rapid. He predicts that by midcentury, the beetles will be in vast, previously unaffected forests across the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. Effects could include threats to the timber industry and biodiversity.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 5:00pm-5:15pm, 3012 Moscone West.   GC34A-05

 Understanding Giant Landslides With Seismology Lucia Gualtieri
Lamont seismologists can now detect landslides in real time by the seismic waves they produce. Gualtieri looks at North America’s largest since the collapse of Mt. St Helens: an October 2015 slide at Icy Bay, Alaska, when some 150 million tons of rock slid into a remote fjord. No one died, but it created a 600-foot-high tsunami and remade the landscape. Seismology is shedding light on the dynamics of slides and slide hazards.
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 5:30pm-5:45pm, 306 Moscone West.   NH34B-07
The Icy Bay landslide  / Icy Bay and other Alaska landslides

 Newly Found Meltwater Rivers in Antarctica   Jonathan Kingslake, Robin Bell
Surface meltwater streams have helped lead to the shocking collapses of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula. Up to now, such streams have been thought to exist mainly within the peninsula’s ice shelves, in the northernmost, warmest part of Antarctica. But new satellite imagery and field observations show they are widespread, with drainages snaking through landbound ice to within a few hundred miles of the South Pole, where this was thought to be impossible. Kingslake discusses what drives them. He predicts streams will soon proliferate if the continent warms, possibly leading to unexpectedly fast ice disintegration.
Friday, Dec. 16, 5:15pm-5:30pm, 3007 Moscone West.   C54A-06

Volcanoes: Coming to New England?   William Menke
Some 30 years ago, geophysicists detected a 400-kilometer-wide anomaly under parts of New England and eastern New York, where the mantle is unusually hot. It was assumed to be the remnant of a hot spot that moved on some 130 million years ago. Now, based on new seismic images and signs of helium making its way up to lakebeds, Menke says the feature is an active upwelling–hot and shallow enough to create lava. Similar features may underlie other parts of the East Coast.
Friday, Dec. 16, 8am-12:20pm, Moscone South Posters.   T51G-3012

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 Films From the Field
Lamont-Doherty scientists gather data on every continent and every ocean. Short films on some projects will be shown at the AGU Cinema; others can be viewed online. Some of the most recent:
Between the Trees and the Tundra In northern Alaska, a team studies trees at the edge of their range, and how they may respond to climate change.
Quizapu, a Great Chilean Volcano An expedition to study the blasted, remote terrain that is the source of some of South America’s biggest eruptions.
Seeking Humanity’s Roots A journey to the desert of northwest Kenya, where scientists are finding the oldest known human remains and artifacts.
At Sea With the R/V Marcus G. Langseth The United States’ flagship vessel for seismic exploration is opening new vistas into the deep structure of the seabed.
The Largest Mass Poisoning in History Scientists investigate how arsenic has seeped into the drinking water of millions of Bangladeshis, causing a public-health catastrophe.
AGU Cinema: Short Films on Science. 101 Moscone South. Monday-Wednesday, 8am-3:30 pm. Thursday, 8am-6pm. Friday 8am-noon.

My Trip to the Bottom of the Sea

Cruising to an OASIS - Sat, 11/26/2016 - 08:48
The view of life on the sea floor at Avery Seamount from the windows of a research submarine. Photo courtesy of P. Gregg (U. Illinois), D. Fornari (WHOI), M. Perfit (U. Florida), co-chief scientists of OASIS cruise AT37-05 on RV Atlantis funded by the National Science Foundation. Image taken from DSV Alvin using WHOI MISO Facility deep-sea camera systems. Copyright WHOI.

The view of life on the sea floor at Avery Seamount as Bridgit Boulahanis saw it from the portholes of a research submarine. Seafloor photos courtesy of P. Gregg (U. Illinois), D. Fornari (WHOI), M. Perfit (U. Florida), co-chief scientists of OASIS cruise AT37-05 on RV Atlantis funded by the National Science Foundation. Image taken from DSV Alvin using WHOI MISO Facility deep-sea camera systems. Copyright WHOI.

By Bridgit Boulahanis

The biggest question driving the OASIS mission is simple: how old are the lava flows along the 8°20’N Seamount Chain. Answering that question is far from simple, requiring a plethora of data, multitudinous methods of sample collection, and many experts in order to conduct the analysis.

We can get information about the magnetic polarity of the rocks below us from our magnetometer, allowing us to understand the relative age of the seafloor in relation to known magnetic pole reversals. We can use shipboard multibeam and autonomous underwater vehicle multibeam to gain an idea of the character of the seafloor we survey, generating maps of the major features and preliminary analysis of the sediment cover in the region. We can use dredges, large metal baskets lowered overboard with weights, to pick up rocks across a broad area in order to characterize the chemical composition of lavas in that region. Each of these forms of data collection is adds an important piece to the puzzle we are trying to solve.

However, the most exciting form of data collection is the sampling we can do with Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin. Alvin allows us to get precise samples of specific lava flows and morphological features, ensuring that we know exactly where the rocks we chemically analyze come from. Beyond its incredible sampling capabilities, it is the most exciting way to learn about the seafloor. Last week, I had my first opportunity to dive in the submersible, and while the science is what drew me here, it was the thrill of seeing firsthand what was on the bottom of the ocean that had me wide awake many hours before launch, standing on deck as the sun came up, staring over the side into the depths that I would soon be exploring. In the morning air it was hard to imagine that soon I would be under thousands of meters of water, seeing with my own eyes what I have been studying for years.

Bridgit Boulahanis and Mike Perfit prepare for their dive to the seamount. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

Bridgit Boulahanis and Mike Perfit prepare for their dive to the seamount, with the research submarine in the background. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

After a small breakfast and what felt like years of excited pacing, we entered the submersible. I was diving with Alvin pilot Jefferson Grau and Dr. Mike Perfit, Distinguished Professor of Geology at University of Florida. The tight space that makes up the human occupied space of Alvin has just enough room for three, and so as the submersible was lowered into the sea off of the R/V Atlantis, we settled in for a cozy nine hours.

After bobbing with the waves on the surface for several minutes as the pilot and crew did their final safety checks, we began our descent. Almost immediately upon leaving the surface the motion of the waves faded away and the submarine felt still enough to almost trick me into believing we weren’t moving at all. However, soon the bright blue of the shallow ocean faded to the black of the deep, and bursts of bioluminescence surrounded the submersible. More seasoned colleagues had told me that I should keep an eye out for bioluminescence, but there was so much of it that it would have been hard to miss! It looked as if we were descending through a field full of fireflies, with occasional fireworks popping up as we passed larger organisms bursting out of the darkness.

It took us almost 90 minutes to reach the seafloor, and I spent the entire time looking out the two portholes I could reach from my side of the submersible. I was already enamored with the experience, and we hadn’t even gotten to the ocean bottom. During our final approach we turned on all of Alvin’s external lights, suddenly bringing daytime to a previously eternally dark part of the world. Jefferson and Dr. Perfit, both veterans of Alvin exploration, advised that I look out my side porthole to catch the soonest glimpse of the seafloor. For several minutes I waited, staring down to where light blue faded to darkness. Then, suddenly, it was there – sandy sediment extending in every direction with pillow basalts peaking out around.

A red shrimp swims into view beside basalts on the seafloor. Photo courtesy of P. Gregg (U. Illinois), D. Fornari (WHOI), M. Perfit (U. Florida), cochief scientists of OASIS cruise AT37-05 on RV Atlantis funded by the National Science Foundation. Image taken from DSV Alvin using WHOI MISO Facility deep-sea camera systems. Copyright WHOI.

A red shrimp swims into view among basalts on the seafloor.

Immediately we began collecting samples of the rocks around us using Alvin’s two manipulator arms, while writing descriptions of the area and recording audio descriptions of everything we saw. Following a dive track laid out before our descent, we traversed up the side of Avery Seamount while noting the characteristics of everything we passed. Dr. Perfit pointed out rocks for Jefferson to sample, while I operated cameras to ensure we attained high quality footage of each sampling location. Our conversations were filled with preliminary analysis, with Dr. Perfit guiding me in identifying the differences between the various rocks outside our window.

Midway through our dive we came to a steep wall approximately 30 meters high, a cliff face at a 90 degree angle to the seafloor. Even in the best multibeam maps of the ocean floor we cannot represent such rapid depth changes accurately – our sonar will smooth even the largest crags automatically, making knowing about these sorts of cliff faces elusive without underwater vehicles. Despite my years of looking at these maps, I never pictured vertical cliffs rising off of the seafloor. To say this realization rocked my world would not be hyperbole, but it would be a bad pun.

Our dive track took us past the steep wall, and so Alvin rose up, floating along the cliff face that seemed to climb endlessly from the sediment below. Soon the dark pillow basalts became speckled with sea life – corals and anemones, starfish and sponges. Everywhere we looked, life was not only present but appeared to be thriving. While as geologists and geophysicists we do not sample any of the living organisms we find, it was very exciting to see, and we noted their location to pass on to biologist colleagues who might return.

Alvin’s sample basket was almost completely full by the time we approached the summit of Avery Seamount, and we spent our last moments on the seafloor extracting one last rock for later analysis. Though the dive lasted its full nine hours, it passed far too quickly. Too soon we were rising to the surface, passing back up through the bioluminescence and the lightening shades of blue until we were again hoisted on board the ship.

Basalt and sediment on the sea floor, as seen from the research submarine.

Basalt, sediment, and sea life on the sea floor, as seen from the research submarine.

Upon exiting Alvin we were met with a cheering science party, a tradition every time the submersible comes back on deck. After applause and hugs we scientists did what we do best – got straight to work on the analysis. We classified the samples we had collected and began the description and photography process, logging each rock carefully so when they get back to a laboratory on land the geochemists have all of the information they might need.

The descriptions and samples we collected while on the bottom will help us to characterize how old Avery Seamount might be, providing valuable insight into the processes that formed this expansive seamount chain. Having contributed to increasing scientific understanding in such a hands on way is absolutely thrilling. Now when I look over the edge of the ship it is impossible not to picture of the varied terrain that must be slipping past me deep below, teeming with life and calling out for me to visit again soon.

Bridgit Boulahanis after the dive. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

Bridgit Boulahanis after the dive. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

Bridgit Boulahanis, a graduate student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is in the eastern Pacific Ocean aboard the R/V Atlantis on an expedition to investigate a chain of submarine volcanoes along the East Pacific Rise. Learn more about the expedition in her blog and on the OASIS Facebook page and YouTube channel.

My Trip to the Bottom of the Sea

Mountains Under the Sea - Sat, 11/26/2016 - 08:48
The view of life on the sea floor at Avery Seamount from the windows of a research submarine. Photo courtesy of P. Gregg (U. Illinois), D. Fornari (WHOI), M. Perfit (U. Florida), co-chief scientists of OASIS cruise AT37-05 on RV Atlantis funded by the National Science Foundation. Image taken from DSV Alvin using WHOI MISO Facility deep-sea camera systems. Copyright WHOI.

The view of life on the sea floor at Avery Seamount as Bridgit Boulahanis saw it from the portholes of a research submarine. Seafloor photos courtesy of P. Gregg (U. Illinois), D. Fornari (WHOI), M. Perfit (U. Florida), co-chief scientists of OASIS cruise AT37-05 on RV Atlantis funded by the National Science Foundation. Image taken from DSV Alvin using WHOI MISO Facility deep-sea camera systems. Copyright WHOI.

By Bridgit Boulahanis

The biggest question driving the OASIS mission is simple: how old are the lava flows along the 8°20’N Seamount Chain. Answering that question is far from simple, requiring a plethora of data, multitudinous methods of sample collection, and many experts in order to conduct the analysis.

We can get information about the magnetic polarity of the rocks below us from our magnetometer, allowing us to understand the relative age of the seafloor in relation to known magnetic pole reversals. We can use shipboard multibeam and autonomous underwater vehicle multibeam to gain an idea of the character of the seafloor we survey, generating maps of the major features and preliminary analysis of the sediment cover in the region. We can use dredges, large metal baskets lowered overboard with weights, to pick up rocks across a broad area in order to characterize the chemical composition of lavas in that region. Each of these forms of data collection is adds an important piece to the puzzle we are trying to solve.

However, the most exciting form of data collection is the sampling we can do with Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin. Alvin allows us to get precise samples of specific lava flows and morphological features, ensuring that we know exactly where the rocks we chemically analyze come from. Beyond its incredible sampling capabilities, it is the most exciting way to learn about the seafloor. Last week, I had my first opportunity to dive in the submersible, and while the science is what drew me here, it was the thrill of seeing firsthand what was on the bottom of the ocean that had me wide awake many hours before launch, standing on deck as the sun came up, staring over the side into the depths that I would soon be exploring. In the morning air it was hard to imagine that soon I would be under thousands of meters of water, seeing with my own eyes what I have been studying for years.

Bridgit Boulahanis and Mike Perfit prepare for their dive to the seamount. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

Bridgit Boulahanis and Mike Perfit prepare for their dive to the seamount, with the research submarine in the background. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

After a small breakfast and what felt like years of excited pacing, we entered the submersible. I was diving with Alvin pilot Jefferson Grau and Dr. Mike Perfit, Distinguished Professor of Geology at University of Florida. The tight space that makes up the human occupied space of Alvin has just enough room for three, and so as the submersible was lowered into the sea off of the R/V Atlantis, we settled in for a cozy nine hours.

After bobbing with the waves on the surface for several minutes as the pilot and crew did their final safety checks, we began our descent. Almost immediately upon leaving the surface the motion of the waves faded away and the submarine felt still enough to almost trick me into believing we weren’t moving at all. However, soon the bright blue of the shallow ocean faded to the black of the deep, and bursts of bioluminescence surrounded the submersible. More seasoned colleagues had told me that I should keep an eye out for bioluminescence, but there was so much of it that it would have been hard to miss! It looked as if we were descending through a field full of fireflies, with occasional fireworks popping up as we passed larger organisms bursting out of the darkness.

It took us almost 90 minutes to reach the seafloor, and I spent the entire time looking out the two portholes I could reach from my side of the submersible. I was already enamored with the experience, and we hadn’t even gotten to the ocean bottom. During our final approach we turned on all of Alvin’s external lights, suddenly bringing daytime to a previously eternally dark part of the world. Jefferson and Dr. Perfit, both veterans of Alvin exploration, advised that I look out my side porthole to catch the soonest glimpse of the seafloor. For several minutes I waited, staring down to where light blue faded to darkness. Then, suddenly, it was there – sandy sediment extending in every direction with pillow basalts peaking out around.

A red shrimp swims into view beside basalts on the seafloor. Photo courtesy of P. Gregg (U. Illinois), D. Fornari (WHOI), M. Perfit (U. Florida), cochief scientists of OASIS cruise AT37-05 on RV Atlantis funded by the National Science Foundation. Image taken from DSV Alvin using WHOI MISO Facility deep-sea camera systems. Copyright WHOI.

A red shrimp swims into view among basalts on the seafloor.

Immediately we began collecting samples of the rocks around us using Alvin’s two manipulator arms, while writing descriptions of the area and recording audio descriptions of everything we saw. Following a dive track laid out before our descent, we traversed up the side of Avery Seamount while noting the characteristics of everything we passed. Dr. Perfit pointed out rocks for Jefferson to sample, while I operated cameras to ensure we attained high quality footage of each sampling location. Our conversations were filled with preliminary analysis, with Dr. Perfit guiding me in identifying the differences between the various rocks outside our window.

Midway through our dive we came to a steep wall approximately 30 meters high, a cliff face at a 90 degree angle to the seafloor. Even in the best multibeam maps of the ocean floor we cannot represent such rapid depth changes accurately – our sonar will smooth even the largest crags automatically, making knowing about these sorts of cliff faces elusive without underwater vehicles. Despite my years of looking at these maps, I never pictured vertical cliffs rising off of the seafloor. To say this realization rocked my world would not be hyperbole, but it would be a bad pun.

Our dive track took us past the steep wall, and so Alvin rose up, floating along the cliff face that seemed to climb endlessly from the sediment below. Soon the dark pillow basalts became speckled with sea life – corals and anemones, starfish and sponges. Everywhere we looked, life was not only present but appeared to be thriving. While as geologists and geophysicists we do not sample any of the living organisms we find, it was very exciting to see, and we noted their location to pass on to biologist colleagues who might return.

Alvin’s sample basket was almost completely full by the time we approached the summit of Avery Seamount, and we spent our last moments on the seafloor extracting one last rock for later analysis. Though the dive lasted its full nine hours, it passed far too quickly. Too soon we were rising to the surface, passing back up through the bioluminescence and the lightening shades of blue until we were again hoisted on board the ship.

Basalt and sediment on the sea floor, as seen from the research submarine.

Basalt, sediment, and sea life on the sea floor, as seen from the research submarine.

Upon exiting Alvin we were met with a cheering science party, a tradition every time the submersible comes back on deck. After applause and hugs we scientists did what we do best – got straight to work on the analysis. We classified the samples we had collected and began the description and photography process, logging each rock carefully so when they get back to a laboratory on land the geochemists have all of the information they might need.

The descriptions and samples we collected while on the bottom will help us to characterize how old Avery Seamount might be, providing valuable insight into the processes that formed this expansive seamount chain. Having contributed to increasing scientific understanding in such a hands on way is absolutely thrilling. Now when I look over the edge of the ship it is impossible not to picture of the varied terrain that must be slipping past me deep below, teeming with life and calling out for me to visit again soon.

Bridgit Boulahanis after the dive. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

Bridgit Boulahanis after the dive. Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari.

Bridgit Boulahanis, a graduate student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is in the eastern Pacific Ocean aboard the R/V Atlantis on an expedition to investigate a chain of submarine volcanoes along the East Pacific Rise. Learn more about the expedition in her blog and on the OASIS Facebook page and YouTube channel.

paprica on the cloud

Chasing Microbes in Antarctica - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 22:15

This is a quick post to announce that paprica, our pipeline to evaluate community structure and conduct metabolic inference, is now available as an Amazon Machine Instance (AMI) on the cloud.  The AMI comes with all dependencies required to execute the paprica-run.sh script pre-installed.  If you want to use it for paprica-build.sh you’ll have to install pathway-tools and a few additional dependencies.  I’m new to the Amazon EC2 environment, so please let me know if you have any issues using the AMI.

If you are new to Amazon Web Services (AWS) the basic way this works is:

  • Sign up for Amazon EC2 using your normal Amazon log-in
  • From the AWS console, make sure that your region is N. Virginia (community AMI’s are only available in the region they were created in)
  • From your EC2 dashboard, scroll down to “Create Instance” and click “Launch Instance”
  • Now select the “Community AMIs”
  • Search for paprica-ec2, then “Select”
  • Choose the type of instance you would like to run the AMI on.  This is the real power of AWS; you can tailor the instance to the analysis you would like to run.  For testing choose the free t2.micro instance.  This is sufficient to execute the test files or run a small analysis (hundreds of reads).  To use paprica’s parallel features select an instance with the desired number of cores and sufficient memory.
  • Click “Review and Launch”, and finish setting up the instance as appropriate.
  • Log onto the instance, navigate to the paprica directory, execute the test file(s) as described in the paprica tutorial.

Retreat of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Began Around 1940s - Space Daily

Featured News - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 12:00
New research by an international team, including scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, shows that the present thinning and retreat of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is part of a climatically forced trend that was triggered around the 1940s. Even when climate forcing weakened, ice-sheet retreat continued, the scientists found.

‘Ghost ice shelves’ and the third Antarctic Ice Sheet

Tracking Antarctica's Ice Shelves - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 09:46
A snow covered mountain peak in the Antarctic Peninsula reaches skyward some 7000 ft. into the air. (Photo M. Turrin)

A snow covered mountain peak in the Antarctic Peninsula reaches skyward some 7000 ft. into the air. The shine on the mountain surface on the right side of the image shows sections of exposed ice, the results of foehn winds that develop on the Peninsula. Foehn winds are dry, warm downslope winds on the lee side of a mountain range resulting in limited new snow addition. The result here is large sections of exposed blue ice. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Antarctica Peninsula has been referred to as Antarctica’s third ice sheet. Following behind the East and West Antarctic ice sheet in size, one might be inclined to minimize its importance in the effects of melting Antarctic ice, on changes in sea level and other impacts, but that would be an imprudent mistake. The peninsula is Antarctica’s most northern spit of land; like a crooked finger it stretches out beckoning towards the southern tip of South America and her warmer climate. In prior time the edges would have been completely buffered from contact with the surrounding ocean by an extensive series of ice shelves – some are now ‘ghost shelves’.

 M. Turrin)

The ice on the Antarctic Peninsula spills from high mountains down to flat reaches of ice and then into ice shelves that buffer the ice edges from the ocean water. (Photo: M. Turrin)

Today this thin extension of ice-covered mountains is the section of Antarctica most exposed to the warming ocean; the water literally surrounds the land, chafing against the ice where it spills from land into the ocean. This contact between the Peninsula ice and warming ocean water has resulted in a series of ‘ghost ice shelves’ and their loss is having a measurable effect on land ice loss.

This spectacular mountain range dominates the skyline in the Peninsula. (Photo M. Turrin)

This spectacular mountain range dominates the skyline in the southeastern Peninsula. (Photo M. Turrin)

The topographic relief on the Peninsula is breath taking. With mountains topping out at 7000-8000 feet of elevation it offers a profound contrast to the flattened ice shelves and gentle sloping regions that carry ice in the areas we have surveyed around the Amundsen Embayment. The ice mounds up high on the tops of the Peninsula peaks, in some regions burying them almost entirely and in others the ice is sharply cut back on the exposed rock to show meters of stacked ice layers and sections of older blue ice peering out under the the newer layers.

Mountains are buried under deep layers of ice. The shadow of the DC8 can be seen against the mountain. (Photo M. Turrin)

Mountains are buried under deep layers of ice. The ice drapes over the peaks with patches of ‘blue ice’ peaking through where surface snow has been removed exposing the compressed glacial ice. The shadow of the DC8 can be seen against the mountain. (Photo M. Turrin)

Like other regions of Antarctica the ice is slowed in its descent from land to the ocean by the presence of ice shelves, but along the peninsula these ice shelves have been undergoing change and loss over many years. Some, like Prince Gustav Ice Shelf, are already gone – ‘ghost shelves’ – just a glaciologists footnote. Once the most northern ice shelf on Antarctica, Prince Gustav Ice Shelf was situated along side Larsen A until it began a long decline and finally disappeared mid 1990s; the first of the Peninsula ice shelves to be lost. Others, while remaining attached to the shoreline, are significantly reduced from their earlier size, like Wordie Ice Shelf, a small portion of which remains resting along the western base of the peninsula, sitting just north of the rapidly thinning and retreating ice on the George VI ice shelf.

 AntarcticGlaciers.org)

Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves located on MODIS satellite imagery. The Prince Gustav Ice Shelf would have been just north of what is labeled Larsen A. (Source: AntarcticGlaciers.org)

Surveying the Antarctic Peninsula and her ice shelves is a multi-flight mission for IceBridge. Over the course of approximately a half dozen missions the instrument teams will survey along the edges from the southwestern end at Stange Ice Shelf up and around to the southeastern edge at the Larsen D ice shelf. The peninsula center will also be covered with a dense series of flight lines taking us between the towering peaks where the glacial terrain begins and ends with buffering ice shelves at sea level.

 M. Turrin

Peninsula mountain face, again showing the exposed blue ice from heavy winds that buffet the peninsula. (Photo: M. Turrin)

Lamont’s roll in the larger IceBridge project is the collection of the gravity measurements. While the other instruments tell us details about the changes occurring now, such as loss of ice elevation and changes in ice thickness, the gravimeter is the only instrument we carry onboard that can give us the critical information needed to build models of future change. Understanding the space that lies under the ice shelves, how ocean circulation patterns might direct warm water into that space, and how the cavity space is shaped where the ice goes afloat (grounding line) is all crucial information for predicting the future stability of each ice shelf, and ultimately the ice on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Antarctic Peninsula looks almost like a painting in this photo as the sun settles low on the horizon. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Antarctic Peninsula looks almost like a painting in this photo as the sun settles low on the horizon. (Photo M. Turrin)

IceBridge: Since 2009, the NASA IceBridge project has brought together science teams to monitor and measure each of the ice features in order to improve our understanding of changes in the climate system and our models. Lamont-Doherty, under lead scientists Jim Cochran and Kirsty Tinto, has led up the gravity and magnetics measurements for these campaigns. You can read about earlier IceBridge expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland on State of the Planet, here and here.

Two other project links: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/icebridge

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/rosetta

Big Droughts, Forest Fires Could Be the New Normal in Appalachia - PBS NewsHour

Featured News - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 12:00
Wildfires have burned more than 100,000 acres across seven states since late October in the southern Appalachian Mountains, typically a wet region. NewsHour talked with Lamont's Park Williams, who said conditions at the epicenter of the drought rivaled conditions typically witnessed in the American West.

Planned Burns in West Vital to Restoring Forests - Arizona Star

Featured News - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 09:41
Records show that “when there is fuel on the landscape and you dry it out, then fire is inevitable,” Lamont's Park Williams says. His recent research explores the role of rising global temperatures.

Smudged Volcanic Crystals Offer Clues to Past Eruptions - Science

Featured News - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 12:00
Volcanic crystals can act like clocks, telling researchers how soon a volcano erupted after its last pulse of magma. Lamont's Terry Plank talks with Science about "crystal clocks" and measuring the speed of rising magma.

Antarctica's Southern Ocean May No Longer Help Delay Global Warming - Nature

Featured News - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 12:00
Researchers are studying the ocean's carbon dynamics to improve predictions for sea level and temperature rise. “New technologies are allowing us access to these remote areas, and we are far less dependent on driving a ship through the sea ice," Lamont oceanographer Arnold Gordon told Nature magazine.

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