News and Events

  • 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.

  • May 04, 2017

    By examining the cooling rate of rocks that formed more than 10 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences have found that water probably penetrates deep into the crust and upper mantle at mid-ocean spreading zones, the places where new crust is made.

    The finding adds evidence to one side of a long-standing debate on how magma from the Earth’s mantle cools to form the lower layers of crust.

  • April 19, 2017

    In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer. Researchers already knew such features existed, but assumed they were confined mainly to Antarctica’s fastest-warming, most northerly reaches. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level. An accompanying study looks at how such systems might influence the great ice shelves ringing the continent, which some researchers fear could collapse, bringing catastrophic sea-level rises. Both studies appear this week in the leading scientific journal Nature.

  • March 22, 2017

    Nearly 1,000 feet below the bed of the Dead Sea, scientists have found evidence that during past warm periods, the Mideast has suffered drought on scales never recorded by humans—a possible warning for current times. Thick layers of crystalline salt show that rainfall plummeted to as little as a fifth of modern levels some 120,000 years ago, and again about 10,000 years ago. Today, the region is drying again as climate warms, and scientists say it will get worse. The new findings may cause them to rethink how much worse, in this already thirsty and volatile part of the world.

  • March 06, 2017

    On every continent and every ocean, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists are studying climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and more.

  • March 02, 2017

    Food, it turns out, is the great unifier. One of the few bipartisan pieces of legislation to emerge in recent years was the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which allocated over $7 billion to improve agriculture and nutrition in developing countries. The rationale, beyond the altruistic aspects of the legislation, was that investing in the alleviation of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty worldwide is squarely in the national security interests of the U.S. With so much upside, it is no surprise that Democrat and Republican alike lined up in support of the act.

  • February 14, 2017

    Aaron Putnam sits atop a boulder high in the Sierras of central California, banging away with hammer and chisel to chip out a sample of ice age history. Each hunk of rock is a piece of a vast puzzle: How did our climate system behave the last time it warmed up like it’s doing today?

  • February 09, 2017

    A new Indonesian coral-based record of surface ocean salinity shows that the location of the most significant hydroclimatic feature in the Southern Hemisphere, the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), a band of high clouds and precipitation, influences a major current in the far western Pacific Ocean.

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