News and Events

  • September 23, 2016

    When an earthquake strikes, it sends waves of energy ringing through the interior of the planet. The waves are too slow for us to hear in their original state, but speed them up and the earthquake’s global impact comes to life. A group of scientists and sound artists working with the Seismic Sound Lab at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are turning seismic waves into sound and images for an eye-opening educational performance about earthquakes and what seismic waves can tell us about our planet. You can see, hear and feel seismic data from enormous earthquakes, witness the patterns of decades of earthquakes in minutes, and see the seismic effect of ocean storms, including Hurricane Sandy, all as though you were inside the planet.

  • September 21, 2016

    Along the walls of Oceanographer Canyon, fish dart in and out of colorful anemone gardens and sea creatures send up plumes of sand and mud as they burrow. Bill Ryan, an oceanographer at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, watched the scenes through the windows of a mini research submarine in 1978 as he became one of the few people to explore the seafloor canyons that President Obama has now designated a national monument.

  • September 13, 2016

    Gaze into the viewing screen of an electron microscope, and you slip into a world of living geometry, where the plates surrounding a tiny coccolithophore become an intricately armored sphere and the spikes of a radiolarian look like daggers. Dee Breger took us into that world through her photographs of objects too small to see with the human eye.

  • September 09, 2016

    Seismologist Won-Young Kim heard the first reports of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center as he drove to his job at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. From his office on the west bank of the Hudson River, 21 miles north of lower Manhattan, Kim runs a network of seismic instruments that monitors the U.S. Northeast for earthquakes. When he got to work, everyone was glued to the radio. Soon, he was inundated by calls from government officials and reporters. In the initial chaos, it was unclear exactly what had hit, and when; had the seismographs picked up anything?

  • September 06, 2016

    The raw materials of some volcanic islands are shaped by some of the same processes that form diamonds deep under the continents, according to a new study. The study asserts that material from diamond-forming regions journeys nearly to earth’s core and back up to form such islands, a process that could take two and a half billion years or longer – more than half of earth’s entire history. The research challenges some prevailing notions about the workings of the deep earth, and their connections to the surface.

  • September 01, 2016

    This past July was Earth’s hottest month since record keeping began, but warming isn’t the only danger climate change holds in store. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the simultaneous occurrence of extremely cold winter days in the Eastern United States and extremely warm winter days in the Western U.S., according to a new study. Human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are likely driving this trend, the study finds.

  • August 31, 2016

    Lamont's Andy Juhl and a team of scientists working with the non-profit Riverkeeper conducted an unprecedented health check of the entire Hudson River system, starting at the headwaters high in the Adirondacks and going all the way to New York Harbor, where the river meets the ocean. They released their results today, giving the 315-mile-long Hudson River a spotty but mostly positive health report with some important insights.

  • August 31, 2016

    The ocean plays a vital role in Earth’s climate system, shaping weather and climate on land. Lamont's Ryan Abernathey and Richard Seager are studying how changes in the ocean cause sea surface temperature to vary, and how these anomalies drive changes in atmospheric circulation to create extreme weather events.

  • August 24, 2016

    In a new study, Lamont's Michael Previdi and Lorenzo Polvani found that the effect of rising temperatures on snowfall in Antarctica has so far been overshadowed by the frozen continent's large natural climate variability. By mid-century, however, as temperatures continue to rise, the effect of human-induced warming on Antarctica's net snow accumulation should emerge above the noise, and the increase in snowfall could begin to help partially offset sea level rise.

  • August 19, 2016

    Large-scale groundwater pumping is opening doors for dangerously high levels of arsenic to enter some of Southeast Asia’s aquifers, with water now seeping in through riverbeds with arsenic concentrations more than 100 times the limits of safety, according to a new study from scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, MIT, and Hanoi University of Science.

  • August 18, 2016

    A storm that dumped as much as 20 inches of rain over three days flooded thousands of homes in Louisiana in mid-August. Lamont's Adam Sobel writes about the discussion around the role of climate change and attribution studies.  

  • August 05, 2016

    Human actions are changing the oceans’ chemistry. To predict how marine ecosystems are going to respond to these changes, we need to understand how marine biology and ocean chemistry interact today. This week, biologist and geochemists from around the world gathered at Lamont to find new ways to combine their expertise to analyze GEOTRACES data on trace elements and nutrients.

  • July 27, 2016

    A new, donor-led internship program offered by the Center for Climate and Life provides high school students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on research experience while getting a feel for what a career in science involves.

  • July 25, 2016

    In the big data era, the modern computer is showing signs of age. The sheer number of observations now streaming from land, sea, air and space has outpaced the ability of most computers to process it. As the United States races to develop an “exascale” machine up to the task, a group of engineers and scientists at Columbia have teamed up to pursue solutions of their own.

  • July 14, 2016

    Powerful tropical cyclones like the super typhoon that lashed Taiwan with 150-mile-per-hour winds last week and then flooded parts of China are expected to become even stronger as the planet warms. That trend hasn’t become evident yet, but it will, scientists say.

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