News and Events

  • July 21, 2011

    For all of its violent destruction, the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, hardly scratched the surface of the island. But scientists now say they have found some of the best clues to understanding the quake under water.

  • July 13, 2011

    After the recent great quakes that have swept away entire coastlines and cities in Japan, Haiti and Sumatra, scientists are now looking hard at the nation that may suffer the gravest threat of all: Bangladesh. A new documentary from the Earth Institute follows seismologists as they trace signs of deeply buried active faults, past movements of the earth, and sudden, catastrophic river-course changes.

  • July 12, 2011

    A team led by Kevin Anchukaitis of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Tree Ring Lab is currently in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, studying the effects of changing climate on trees. Ferried in by a bush pilot who landed on the tundra to drop them off, they are practically at treeline–the place where it is too far north for trees to grow. But there are still some spindly white spruces here, and they are taking cores from these, which can be used to measure weather of the past.

  • July 01, 2011

    This spring, Columbia University Professor and Lamont-Doherty researcher Nicholas Christie-Blick, along with graduate teaching assistant Elizabeth Pierce, led 19 first- and second-year undergraduates on an eight-day expedition to investigate the dynamic processes that formed Death Valley’s exquisite natural beauty.

  • June 24, 2011

    Stronger ocean currents beneath West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf are eroding the ice from below, speeding the melting of the glacier as a whole, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience. A growing cavity beneath the ice shelf has allowed more warm water to melt the ice, the researchers say—a process that feeds back into the ongoing rise in global sea levels. The glacier is currently sliding into the sea at a clip of four kilometers (2.5 miles) a year, while its ice shelf is melting at about 80 cubic kilometers a year - 50 percent faster than it was in the early 1990s - the paper estimates.

  • June 08, 2011

    Starting today, armchair explorers will be able to view parts of the deep ocean floors in far greater detail than ever before, thanks to a new synthesis of seafloor topography released through Google Earth. Developed by oceanographers at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory from scientific data collected on research cruises, the new feature tightens resolution in covered areas from the former 1-kilometer grids to just 100 meters.

  • June 03, 2011
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    During the last ice age, the Rhone Glacier was the dominant glacier in the Alps, covering a significant part of Switzerland. Over the next 11,500 years or so, the glacier, which forms the headwaters of the Rhone River, has been shrinking and growing again in response to shifts in climate.

  • May 26, 2011

    El Niño and La Niña, the periodic shifts in Pacific Ocean temperatures, affect weather around the globe, and many scientists have speculated that a warming planet will make those fluctuations more volatile, bringing more intense drought or extreme rainfall to various regions.

  • May 20, 2011

    A flock of young researchers from New York City, Singapore and the Netherlands are testing their skills in the field near Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory this weekend -- canoeing on Sparkill Creek to take water samples, counting forest species in Tallman Mountain State Park and analyzing soil chemistry.

  • May 06, 2011

    Vintners in the Burgundy region of France have been tracking their harvests since the 14th century, and they know as well as anyone the importance of picking their grapes at just the right moment to produce the best possible glass of Pinot noir.

  • April 28, 2011

    The recent earthquake in Japan shifted the earth’s axis by half a foot. You may be wondering if that’s enough to change earth’s weather. No, not really, says Jerry McManus, a climate scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

  • April 25, 2011

    The hole in the Earth’s ozone layer over the South Pole has affected atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator, and a new study says this has led to increased rainfall in the subtropics. The study, which appears in the April 21 issue of the leading journal Science, is the first time that ozone depletion has been linked to climate change over such a wide area.

  • April 21, 2011

    Two scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are among 60 nationwide named this year as fellows of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest earth-sciences society. Edward Cook, director of the observatory’s Tree Ring Lab, and Robin Bell, a leader in polar studies, received the honors, announced in the April 19 edition of the AGU newspaper EOS. The union has chosen a select group to honor each year since 1962, limiting the number to no more than 0.1 percent of the group’s membership.

  • April 06, 2011

    The eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland in 1783-84 set off a cascade of catastrophe, spewing sulfuric clouds into Europe and eventually around the world.

  • March 30, 2011
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    The largest recorded earthquake in Japan's history has triggered a series of events that have killed thousands, crushed and submerged cities, and left a financial toll from which it will take years for an already struggling economy to recover.

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