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  • April 13, 2018

    Coastal waters play an important role in the carbon cycle by absorbing carbon into sediments or transferring it to the open ocean, a new study confirms.

  • April 11, 2018

    Two new papers find that the line that divides the moist East and arid West is edging eastward due to climate change—and the implications for farming and other pursuits could be huge.

  • April 10, 2018

    Alexandria Ang, a former intern at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will present her scientific discoveries for a chance to win some major prizes.

  • April 06, 2018

    Sykes helped to establish plate tectonic theory in the 1960s. He is professor emeritus at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

  • March 29, 2018
    Scientists are collecting lake sediment, rock, water and plant samples to explore linkages among Arctic sea ice, atmospheric uptake, and changes in snowfall on the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • March 21, 2018

    Lead poisoning has been in the news often over the last few years. Local high school students are helping Lamont scientists test lead exposure levels from lead-contaminated soils in New York City.

  • March 19, 2018

    What does it take for palm trees to expand into northern parts of the world that have long been too cold for palm trees to survive? A new study, led by Lamont researcher Tammo Reichgelt, attempts to answer this question. 

  • March 15, 2018

    A generous donation of marine seismic technology equipment from CGG Inc. is enabling Lamont to advance its world-class ocean research capacities and opens the door to new areas of sub-seafloor exploration, including an expanded understanding of the undersea dynamics of earthquakes and tsunamis as well as climate science and impacts of sea level change.

  • March 13, 2018

    Salinity in the North Atlantic dropped markedly over the last decade, according to a new study that used data from a floating network of sensors to obtain the most detailed picture yet of changing ocean conditions in the region.

    But researchers say it’s too soon to say whether the decline is due to an influx of freshwater from melting ice on land or sea, or part of a natural, longer-term cycle. 

  • March 08, 2018

    Lamont’s Robin Bell is one of the world’s leading polar investigators and has been tracking ice for thirty years. She has coordinated ten expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland. And although she took her first expedition to Antarctica back in the 1980s, there is nothing routine about her approach.

  • March 01, 2018

    The death of coral reefs is a more significant factor in the erosion of tropical coastlines than rising sea levels, a new international study has revealed.

  • February 27, 2018

    Citizen scientists can gather data to help uncover how snow is changing over time.

  • February 19, 2018

    In a new study, researchers have mapped out a large variety of discarded pharmaceuticals dissolved throughout the Hudson River. They say that in some places, levels may be high enough to potentially affect aquatic life.

  • February 14, 2018

    On every continent and every ocean, Lamont researchers are studying climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and more. Here is a list of projects in rough chronological order.

  • February 12, 2018

    Braving the high seas and a curious shark, a team of scientists taps into the secret social life of a microbe that’s crucial for marine ecosystems.

  • January 31, 2018

    On January 31 at 1:00 p.m. EST, Lamont-Doherty’s Hugh Ducklow and his colleagues will use National Science Foundation social media to discuss their research on Antarctic ecology.

  • January 24, 2018

    You could say goodbye to the atmosphere and GPS navigation, to start.

  • January 19, 2018

    Researchers create first model for hurricane hazard assessment that is both open source and capable of accounting for climate change.

  • January 16, 2018

    Working as an Antarctic field scientist, I witnessed the destruction provoked by a rapidly warming planet. But I also found inspiration.

  • January 13, 2018
    Lamont climate scientist Deepti Singh explains the dynamics behind January’s extreme winter weather and how climate change may have been a contributing factor.
  • January 11, 2018

    As the Arctic warms, the unfreezing of permafrost poses a threat to the planet.

  • January 10, 2018

    Rainfall changes caused by global warming will increase river flooding risks across the globe by the 2040s, says a new study. The study finds that the increases will be greatest in much of the United States, central Europe, Indonesia, and parts of India and Africa.

  • January 08, 2018

    A new study shows how ambient seismic noise can help understand how the strength of tropical cyclones is being modified by climate change.

  • December 22, 2017

    Climate scientists say that killer heat waves will become increasingly prevalent in many regions as climate warms. However, most projections leave out a major factor that could worsen things: humidity, which can greatly magnify the effects of heat alone. Now, a new global study projects that in coming decades the effects of high humidity in many areas will dramatically increase.

  • December 18, 2017

    Presentation calls attention to a largely under-recognized health threat.

  • December 14, 2017

    Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced his appointment of Alexander N. Halliday, a geochemistry professor at University of Oxford and vice president of the UK’s Royal Society, as the new Director of Columbia’s Earth Institute.

  • December 14, 2017

    Billy D’Andrea is trying to understand Easter Island’s climate history over the last few thousand years and how communities dealt with past climate change.

  • December 11, 2017

    The coasts of Antarctica are ringed with ice shelves – large expanses of ice that float on the surrounding ocean and form the outermost extensions of the glaciers that cover the land behind them. A new study shows that even minor deterioration of ice shelves can instantaneously hasten the motion and loss of ice hundreds of miles landward.

  • December 08, 2017

    As climate warms, the surface of the Greenland ice sheet is melting, and all that meltwater ends up in seasonal rivers that flow to the sea. At least that is what scientists have assumed until now. A new study shows that some of the meltwater is actually being soaked into porous subsurface ice and held there, at least temporarily.

  • December 08, 2017

    Organic geochemist Pratigya Polissar is developing new tools to look at the history of plants and ecosystems on Earth over the past 20 million years.

  • December 06, 2017
    Congress has opened portions of Alaska’s pristine wilderness to oil and gas development. What might that mean for the creatures living there?
  • December 04, 2017

    A chronological guide to key talks and other events presented by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the American Geophysical Union 2017 meeting.

  • December 04, 2017

    If each of us in the U.S. ate half as many burgers and steaks each week, according to a new study, there could be substantial effects on carbon emissions and the environment.

  • December 04, 2017

    By night they glimmer, lighting up the surf of the Arabian Sea a phosphorescent blue. By day they appear as a thick, slimy, malodorous green blanket over the ocean. Nicknamed “sea sparkle” for their nocturnal appearance, these unusual plankton-like species are silently taking over the base of the regional food chain and threatening fisheries that sustain 150 million people. They are Noctiluca scintillans, a dinoflagellate that were all but unheard of in the Arabian Sea 20 years ago, but they are now demonstrating a unique capacity to survive, thrive, and force out diatoms, the planktonic species that traditionally support the Arabian Sea food web. Typically, diatoms are gobbled up by small sea animals, or zooplankton, which are in turn eaten by larger fish and sea creatures. Noctiluca has short-circuited this system.

  • December 01, 2017

    The story of human evolution is rooted in eastern Africa, where hominins, ancestral species directly related to humans, first appeared. A remote desert region around northwest Kenya’s Lake Turkana is the source of many important early human fossils and artifacts. This region is where Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory paleoecologist and geochemist Kevin Uno has been collecting fossils and sediments, searching for evidence about the climate, vegetation, animals, and water available to our ancestors millions of years ago. Among Uno’s goals is to understand the role of climate in human evolution.

  • November 29, 2017

    Some towns and cities can get soaked even when the skies are dry—and these so-called sunny day floods are on the rise thanks to climate change.

  • November 27, 2017

    Lamont seismologist Lynn Sykes has been working for more than 50 years to halt the testing of nuclear weapons. His work, along with that of others, has demonstrated that clandestine underground tests can be detected and measured with seismic waves.

  • November 21, 2017

    Medicanes – hurricane-like storms in the Mediterranean – are rare but can be dangerous, as demonstrated by Medicane Numa’s path of destruction in Greece.

  • November 21, 2017

    Tightly consolidated sediments along a portion of the Cascadia Subduction Zone contribute to locking of the fault along the plate boundary for long intervals, major earthquakes, and the potential for a large tsunami.

  • November 16, 2017

    Two solar array farms in Orange County, New York, will be completed at the end of November, poised to provide power to and reduce the carbon footprint of the Lamont Campus.

  • November 13, 2017

    Concurrent with the announcement that human carbon emissions reached a new peak this year, Galen McKinley, a professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was interviewed about the difficulties of tracking the sources and destinations of carbon dioxide.

  • November 06, 2017

    Ozone pollution near Earth’s surface is one of the main ingredients of summertime smog. But it is not directly measurable from space, because the abundance of ozone higher in the atmosphere masks the near-surface. Now, researchers have devised a way to use satellite measurements of the precursor gases that contribute to ozone formation to predict when and where ozone will form.

  • November 03, 2017

    Every four years Congress is provided with a state-of-the-art report on the impacts of climate change on the United States. The next National Climate Assessment is scheduled for 2018, but its scientific findings are scheduled to be published today. Here, two of its authors explain what to expect.

  • November 01, 2017

    A new study says that storms of intensities seen today, combined with a few meters increase in sea level, were enough to transport coastal boulders weighing hundreds of tons more than 100,000 year ago.

  • October 31, 2017

    The warmer, more acidic waters caused by climate change will affect the health of tiny marine organisms essential to the marine food web and important to the marine carbon cycle.

  • October 31, 2017
    Perched on a cliff face in Israel’s Negev Desert, close to where the book of Genesis says the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were burned by divine fire, geochemists Yael Kiro and Steven Goldstein uncovered evidence of events even more ancient.
  • October 30, 2017

    During a show at the Hayden Planetarium, seismologist Ben Holtzman explains how he turns earthquake data into captivating sounds and visualizations.

  • October 27, 2017

    During a conference at Columbia University, scientists pinpointed areas where advances in fire prediction can be made within the next decade.

  • October 24, 2017

    Volcanic eruptions have been known to cool global climate, but they can also accelerate melting of ice sheets by changing the surface reflectance of the ice.

  • October 23, 2017

    In October 2012, Sandy devastated large swaths of New York City with floods and fire. How well have we recovered? And will we be ready for the next big storm?

  • October 23, 2017

    Scientists have spotted mature jellyfish under the Arctic sea ice, where they aren’t supposed to be.

  • October 19, 2017

    The undersea Corinth rift, in the Gulf of Corinth in central Greece, is one of the most seismically active areas in Europe. Starting this month, researchers will drill into it to discover the rift’s past and future.

  • October 16, 2017

    Despite recent media reports, there’s no imminent threat, says Columbia geologist Einat Lev.

  • October 11, 2017

    In May 2017, the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory held a forum in New York City to discuss how new advances in climate science can inform investments in specific sectors of the global economy. The forum brought the world’s best scientists into a conversation with the world’s best investment professionals while setting aside the politics of climate change.

  • October 09, 2017
    Through interactive exhibits, games, goo, and a few explosions, people of all ages learned about geology, the oceans, the atmosphere, and climate change.
  • October 09, 2017

    An ongoing study finds that 92 percent of private yards in Greenpoint may have unsafe levels of lead in their soil.

  • October 05, 2017

    Ancient humans migrated out of Africa to escape a drying climate, says a new study–a finding that contradicts previous suggestions that ancient people were able to leave because a then-wet climate allowed them to cross the generally arid Horn of Africa and Middle East.

  • October 04, 2017

    A team of scientists has found new evidence to bolster the idea that the Permian Extinction, which occurred 252 million years ago, was caused by massive volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia.

  • October 03, 2017

    If a serious cyclone were to strike Mumbai, the results could be catastrophic, says a study underway at Columbia.

  • October 03, 2017

    Our Open House promises a day of science-filled fun.

  • September 26, 2017
    The rise of the Vikings was not a sudden event, but part of a long continuum of human development in the harsh conditions of northern Scandinavia. How did the Vikings make a living over the long term, and what might have influenced their brief florescence? Today, their experiences may provide a kind of object lesson on how changing climate can affect civilizations.
  • September 21, 2017

    Three scientists explain what they’re learning about the ocean’s changing conditions. These discoveries will contribute to the sustainable management and conservation of marine resources, helping to secure food for current and future generations.

  • September 14, 2017

    The better climate models become, the harder it is to use them. One team of researchers is working to fix that.

  • September 08, 2017

    Hoaxes have been calling Irma a Category 6 hurricane, but there’s no such thing. Could there be, in the future?

  • September 06, 2017

    As Hurricane Irma batters the Caribbean with winds up to 185 miles per hour, Lamont-Doherty experts are standing by to answer questions from the media.

  • September 01, 2017

    It’s too soon to say there’s a connection, but searching for the fingerprints of climate change shouldn’t take too long.

  • August 28, 2017

    Over the next few decades, global warming-related rises in winter temperatures could significantly extend the range of the southern pine beetle—one of the world’s most aggressive tree-killing insects—through much of the northern United States and southern Canada, says a new study. The beetle’s range is sharply limited by annual extreme temperature lows, but these lows are rising much faster than average temperatures—a trend that will probably drive the beetles’ spread, say the authors. The study was published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

  • August 25, 2017
    Over the past day and a half, Hurricane Harvey’s winds have quickened from about 35 to 109 miles per hour. What’s driving this massive power-up?
  • August 24, 2017

    Lamont experts are on-hand to answer media questions about hurricane physics, rapid intensification, emergency response, and more.

  • August 18, 2017
    With its mission complete, the Rosetta-Ice Project will give scientists an unprecedented look at the Ross Ice Shelf and how it’s changing with the climate.
  • August 18, 2017

    A new study from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis validates that the central core of the East Antarctic ice sheet should remain stable even if the West Antarctic ice sheet melts.

  • August 16, 2017

    Plastic microbeads, common in soap, toothpaste and other consumer products, are flooding waters. A team from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is doing the first large-scale assessment of their impact on New York’s waterways.

  • August 14, 2017

    In this video, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory researchers Robin Bell, Radley Horton, and Adam Sobel explain their research and how it can help improve adaptation practices and make our homes, livelihoods, and the systems we rely on more resilient to extreme weather and sea level rise.

  • August 11, 2017

    Last week, just days before Central Park’s big Ivory Crush, a Lamont-Doherty geochemist and his colleague sawed off samples of the confiscated ivory for DNA testing and radiocarbon dating. Their results could determine where and when each elephant was killed—which could help catch the poachers responsible.

  • August 08, 2017

    A new study analyzing storm intensity and impacts in the New York metro area aims to inform how communities can better prepare for winter storms and enhance resiliency as the effects of climate change exacerbate hazards.

  • July 31, 2017

    Scientists probing under the seafloor off Alaska have mapped a geologic structure that they say signals potential for a major tsunami in an area that normally would be considered benign.

  • July 19, 2017

    David Goldberg and Peter Kelemen, scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, are at the forefront of carbon capture and storage research. In this video, they discuss their work and how it will contribute to carbon management solutions and strengthen society’s resilience to climate change.

  • July 13, 2017

    Rising temperatures due to global warming will make it harder for many aircraft around the world to take off in coming decades, says a new study. During the hottest parts of the day, 10 to 30 percent of fully loaded planes may have to remove some fuel, cargo or passengers, or else wait for cooler hours to fly, the study concludes. The study, which is the first such global analysis, appears today in the journal Climatic Change.

  • July 12, 2017

    One of the largest icebergs ever, roughly the size of Delaware just broke off Antarctica according to scientists who have been observing the area for years. While it’s not unusual for ice shelves to calve, many in the climate community fear that the breaking of Larsen C may be a signal of other events to come

  • July 05, 2017

    Climate change could turn one of Africa’s driest regions wet, according to a new study. Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change in the Sahel, a region long characterized by aridity and political instability. In the study, just published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, the authors detected a self-amplifying mechanism that they say might kick in once the planet’s average temperature goes beyond 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. This threshold, defined as the global danger limit by the Paris climate agreement, could be reached before the end of this century.

  • July 05, 2017

    Iron particles catching a ride on glacial meltwater washed out to sea are likely fueling a recently discovered summer algal bloom off the southern coast of Greenland, according to a new study.

    Microalgae, also known as phytoplankton, are plant-like marine microorganisms that form the base of the food web in many parts of the ocean. “Phytoplankton serve as food for all of the fish and animals that live there. Everything that eats is eating them ultimately,” said Kevin Arrigo, a biological oceanographer at Stanford University and lead author of the study.

  • June 27, 2017

    A warming climate is not just melting the Arctic’s sea ice; it is stirring the remaining ice faster, increasing the odds that ice-rafted pollution will foul a neighboring country’s waters, says a new study.

  • June 26, 2017

    Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, scrunches blocks of ice between hunks of rock to study how ice behaves under pressure. Her work provides an important piece of the puzzle of how glaciers move, what makes them speed up, and how they are contributing to sea level rise as the climate warms.

  • June 23, 2017

    An interdisciplinary team of scientists has discovered that, contrary to general scientific belief, iron in nondissolved particle form can stimulate phytoplankton growth, and that the chemical form that particulate iron takes is critical to ocean photosynthesis.

  • June 23, 2017

    The Center has awarded nearly $1 million to four scientists whose research will improve understanding of how climate change impacts the essentials of human sustainability.

  • June 16, 2017

    Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been around since the early 1900s. Originally used for military operations, they became more widely used after about 2010 when electronic technology got smaller, cheaper and more efficient, prices on cameras and sensors dropped, and battery power improved. Where once scientists could only observe earth from above by using manned aircraft or satellites, today they are expanding, developing and refining their research thanks to drones.

  • June 12, 2017

    Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call for a lot of people in New York City, including Adam Sobel, who’s spent more than two decades studying the physics of weather and climate. He spent a lot of time during and after the storm talking to the media about what was happening, and why. He says the intense public interest made clear to him the need to find ways to apply the esoteric physics of atmosphere and oceans so we can be better prepared for the next extreme event.

  • June 12, 2017

    In November 1983, physical oceanographer Arnold Gordon was the Chief Scientist on the R/V Knorr, sailing around the southern tip of Africa, when the characteristics of his water samples came in terribly off. The temperature and the salinity of the water his team collected did not match the profile of the Southeast Atlantic Ocean. He had seen there characteristics before though, and soon, with more data, he confirmed that this clearer-blue “blob” of water they floated on top of was actually water from the Indian Ocean, coming in through a leak. This water, flowing from the Indian Ocean into the Atlantic, became known as the “Agulhas leakage” and helped us understand how the ocean’s salt is circulated back into the North Atlantic Ocean.

  • June 08, 2017

    Access to adequate fresh water supplies is a critically important societal challenge posed by climate change. With rising heat and shifting rainfall patterns, and reduced water storage resilience, fresh water supplies are already diminishing in the western United States, Mexico, the Middle East, and Mediterranean. Water shortages have been implicated in recent international conflict, and a recent Department of Defense study underscores the geopolitical importance of this problem.

  • June 07, 2017

    The 2004 disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow” depicted the cataclysmic effects—superstorms, tornadoes and deep freezes— resulting from the impacts of climate change. In the movie, global warming had accelerated the melting of polar ice, which disrupted circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, triggering violent changes in the weather. Scientists pooh-poohed the dire scenarios in the movie, but affirmed that climate change could indeed affect ocean circulation—could it shut down the Gulf Stream?

  • June 02, 2017

    In light of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, we have collected resources and commentary from across the Earth Institute relevant to the implications, and the basics of the agreement. Continue to check back here as we update this page with new reactions from Earth Institute experts.

  • June 02, 2017

    Trump has aligned himself with the forces that deny scientific facts and economic realities. History will judge him harshly; our allies and most Americans already do. The law will need to play a major role in pushing back against the attempted dismantling of our environmental and health protections. —Michael B. Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

  • June 01, 2017

    In recent years, scientists have discovered hundreds of lakes lying hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Now a team of researchers has found the remains of at least one sub-ice lake that existed when the ice was far more extensive, in sediments on the Antarctic continental shelf. The discovery is significant because it is thought that such lakes may have accelerated the retreat of glaciers in the past, and could do so again. Their study appears this week in the journal Nature Communications.

  • May 31, 2017

    Antarctica’s ice locks up enough fresh water to inundate coastal regions around the globe. And the ice is on the move: The continent’s vast glaciers are sliding toward the coast and out over the ocean, forming huge ice shelves that in some places are collapsing. Researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have spent the last two Antarctic summers flying over the massive Ross Ice Shelf, deploying a custom-made package of instruments to probe the ice. Their goal: to untangle the interactions between ice, ocean and land, to try and gauge the effects of warming climate.

  • May 31, 2017

    The world may be getting set up for similar situation now, they say. Over the past 50 years, the middle and high latitudes in the northern hemisphere have warmed roughly twice as much as the corresponding latitudes in the southern hemisphere, and this disparity may continue to grow as Arctic sea ice continues to decline. Putnam and Broecker predict that as the atmosphere warms more quickly in the north than in the south, the thermal equator and tropical and mid-latitude rain bands will continue to march northward, but migrate less-so southward during the northern winter months.

  • May 22, 2017

    Billy D’Andrea, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory paleoclimatologist and Center for Climate and Life Fellow is currently doing fieldwork in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. He’s interested in the natural factors that may have influenced the growth of northern agriculture and rise of violent Viking chieftains during the Iron Age, ca. 500 BC to 1100 AD.

  • May 22, 2017

    Falling sulfur dioxide emissions in the United States are expected to substantially increase rainfall in Africa’s semi-arid Sahel, while bringing slightly more rain to much of the U.S., according to a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

  • May 18, 2017

    For years, scientists have been warning of a so-called “hot spot” of accelerated sea-level rise along the northeastern U.S. coast. But accurately modeling this acceleration as well as variations in sea-level rise from one region to another has proven challenging.

  • May 11, 2017

    Scientists aren’t typically known to be emotional, but recently, when I faced a room packed with colleagues, media and my six-month-old daughter, who was wearing her little sunhat and smiling from her perch in my husband’s arms, I had to fight back tears. I had been asked to speak at a press conference addressing the importance of funding for climate science, and I knew it was the right time and place to speak out.

  • May 05, 2017

    As can be seen above, the Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard, Norway, has retreated substantially since 1900. Svalbard’s glaciers are not only retreating, they are also losing about two feet of their thickness each year. Glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates and some have disappeared altogether. The melting of glaciers will affect people around the world, their drinking water supplies, water needed to grow food and supply energy, as well as global sea levels.

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