News aggregator

Crippled Atlantic Conveyor Linked to Ice Age Climate Change - Science

Featured News - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 14:55
Slowdowns of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation have long been suspected as a cause of the climate swings during the last ice age, but never definitively shown, until now. The new study “is the best demonstration that this indeed happened,” says Lamont's Jerry McManus.

Antarctic Sea Ice Affects Ocean Circulation - Europa Press

Featured News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:00
A new study led by Lamont's Ryan Abernathey shows how sea ice migration around Antarctica be more important for global ocean overturning circulation than previously thought. (In Spanish)

Predictions of More Blazing Heat, Drought and Fires in the West - Washington Post

Featured News - Thu, 06/23/2016 - 12:00
The burning sensation in the southwestern United States was diagnosed by climate scientists more than a year ago, the Washington Post writes. The Post cites research by Lamont-Doherty scientist Park William into connections between the California drought and climate change.

California Firefighters Wrangle With Dead Trees - KQED

Featured News - Wed, 06/22/2016 - 12:00
California's overworked firefighters are being forced to take on another task — clearing dead and dying trees. John Upton talks with Lamont's Park Williams about the role of drought and rising temperatures.

Greenland's Vast Melt and Its Influence on Atlantic Circulation - Washington Post

Featured News - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 12:00
High-resolution ocean models that can capture eddies are extremely important for understanding the fate of freshwater in the sea around Greenland, says Lamont's Marco Tedesco.

Water Vapor vs Carbon Dioxide: Which 'Wins' In Climate Warming? - Forbes

Featured News - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:33
The fact that water vapor is the dominant absorber in the Earth’s greenhouse effect can lead to a flawed narrative about the role of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) as driver of climate warming. Lamont's Adam Sobel helps explain.

The 6 cent speeding ticket

Chasing Microbes in Antarctica - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 11:51

I’m going to go way of the normal track here and do a bit of social commentary.  I heard a radio piece on my drive home yesterday about the challenge of paying court and legal fees for low income wage earners.  This can trap those guilty of minor offenses (like a traffic infraction) in a cycle of jail and debt that is difficult to break out of.  It never made sense to me that financial penalties – which by their nature are punitive – don’t scale with income, as is common in some European countries.  I decided to try and visualize how the weight of a penalty for say, a speeding ticket, scales with income.  It was tempting to try and scale up, i.e. what is the equivalent of $300 for someone earning $X?  I decided however, that it would be more informative to try and scale down.

Cost equivalent in minimum wage earner dollars of a $300 penalty for individuals at different income levels. Red text is the cost equivalent (y-axis value). X-axis (income) is on a log scale. See text for income data sources.

In this scenario the penalty is $300.  Someone earning the federal minimum wage and working 40 hours a week makes $15,080/year, so the $300 penalty is roughly 2 % of annual income.  So be it, perhaps that’s a fair penalty.  But what would be the equivalent if the same offender earned more?  A private/seaman/airman who has just joined the military earns roughly $18,561/year.  Paying the same ticket (and I know from experience that the military pays a lot of them) would equate to the minimum wage earner paying $243.72.  A graduate student fortunate enough to get a stipend (and own a car) might earn $25,000/year.  Paying the same ticket would be equivalent to the lowest wage earner paying $180.96, and down it goes along the income scale.  If LeBron James, who earned $77.2 million last year in salary and endorsements (according to Forbes), got the ticket, the penalty would be equivalent to the lowest income wage earner paying $0.06.  Salary data came from a variety of sources, including here and here.  Salaries marked with an asterisk in the plot above are medians from these sources.

Sea Ice Retreat May Accelerate Greenland Melting - Science

Featured News - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 11:30
Last summer the northern parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced record melting as summer temperatures rose as high as 66°F. Now, a group of scientists led by Lamont's Marco Tedesco has linked the melt pattern with a high-pressure vortex, known as a block, that loitered north of the island during June and July 2015, wreaking weather havoc. Some researchers say such atmospheric blocks are expected to result from melting sea ice.

The Weird Weather that Entrenched California's Drought - Climate Central

Featured News - Tue, 06/14/2016 - 12:28
Climate change has pushed up average temperatures by nearly 2°F worldwide. Most of California was warmer than that from March through May, with some patches of the state more than 4°F warmer than average. “This does not look like a typical El Niño year out West,” said Lamont's Ben Cook.

Globalized Economy More Susceptible to Weather Extremes, Scientists Warn - Reuters

Featured News - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 17:44
The globalization of the world's economy this century has made it far more vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather, including heat stress on workers, according to a new study from Lamont's Anders Levermann.

The Carbon Vault

Geopoetry - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 14:41
 K. Allen, 2010

Basaltic rock, Iceland. Photo: K. Allen, 2010


The skin of the Earth is the color of tar,

Ridged, freshly healed like the seams of a scar.

Through salt-spattered sky, a gray-winged gull sails;

Steam gently rises, the island exhales.


A power plant rests on porous basalt,

In spaces beneath, a dark final vault.

Carbon is cached with a strong crystal lock,

Ashes to ashes, rock back to rock.



Further reading:

In a First, Iceland Power Plant Turns Carbon Emissions to Stone, K. Krajick, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Rapid carbon mineralization for permanent disposal of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, Matter et al., Science

Scientists Turn Carbon Dioxide Emissions into Stone, Magill, Climate Central

This is one in a series of posts by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the School of Earth & Climate Sciences at the University of Maine.


Warmer Arctic, Melting Glaciers Accelerating Greenland Ice Loss - CBC

Featured News - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 12:00
2015 was a record year for high temperatures and melting glaciers in western Greenland, an effect that is amplifying itself and could lead to accelerated warming in the Arctic, new research from Lamont's Marco Tedesco explains.

A New Solution to Carbon Pollution? - Science

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 18:03
Researchers working in Iceland, including Lamont's Martin Stute, say they have discovered a new way to trap the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide deep underground by changing it into rock.

Martin Stute: Putting CO2 Away for Good by Turning It to Stone - The Conversation

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 17:00
Lamont's Martin Stute writes about the CarbFix project in Iceland, where he has been working with other scientists and engineers to capture CO2 emissions and create permanent storage by turning CO2 to stone.

Iceland Carbon Dioxide Storage Project Locks Away Gas, and Fast - New York Times

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 16:20
Lamont scientists have come up with a way to store carbon dioxide that dissolves the gas with water and pumps the resulting mixture — soda water, essentially — down into certain kinds of rocks, where the CO2 reacts with the rock to form a mineral called calcite. By turning the gas into stone, scientists can lock it away permanently.

Weird Jet Stream Behavior Could Be Making Greenland's Melting Even Worse - Washington Post

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 16:00
Reanalyzing Greenland's last melt season, Lamont's Marco Tedesco found something odd and worrying. Greenland had shown much more unusual melting in its colder northern stretches than in the warmer south, and that this had occurred because of very strange behavior in the atmosphere above it.

Is Wacky Weather Helping Melt Greenland? - Science

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 15:24
A new analysis of the Greenland Ice Sheet led by Lamont's Marco Tedesco points to an underappreciated culprit that could accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet: wind.

Iceland Carbon Capture Project Quickly Converts Carbon Dioxide Into Stone - Smithsonian Magazine

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 14:27
A pilot in Iceland project that sought to demonstrate that carbon dioxide emissions could be locked up by turning them into rock appears to be a success. Smithsonian Magazine talked with Lamont's Juerg Matter, who has been involved in the project, and Dave Goldberg.

Climate Change Could Force Huge Migrations Near the Equator - Washington Post

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 12:00
New research from Lamont's Adam Sobel and alumnus Solomon Hsiang suggests that even a moderate amount of warming could force populations in the tropics to undergo huge migrations — longer journeys than they would have to take if they lived anywhere else on the planet.

Study Links Greenland Melting with 'Arctic Amplification' - UPI

Featured News - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 10:43
New research led by Lamont's Marco Tedesco links Greenland's 2015 record temperatures and melting with the phenomenon known as Arctic amplification.



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