LDEO Research Blogs

  • This is the blog for the NSF-funded project studying climate, fire & forest history in Mongolia led by Neil Pederson of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University, Amy Hessl of West Virginia University, Peter Brown of Rocky Mountain Tree Ring Research and Baatarbileg Nachin, head of the Department of Forest Science in the School of Biology and Biotechnology at the National University of Mongolia.

  • Arctic peat bogs have been absorbing carbon for thousands of years, but will this continue as the poles heat up? Warmer temperatures could cause bogs to decay, sending billions of tons of carbon back into the air. But a warmer climate might also improve growing conditions, allowing the bogs to take up more carbon than before. A team of scientists will travel to Alaska's remote North Slope to collect peat bog samples to understand how climate and carbon uptake have varied over the past 15,000 years and what this might mean for the future.

  • Off the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast, the 680-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone has produced giant earthquakes and tsunamis like the one that ravaged Japan last year--the most recent, in 1700. These quakes are thought to come every several hundred years; to help understand subduction processes along this zone, scientists at sea and on land are conducting the first-ever imaging of an entire plate-the Juan de Fuca-from the ridge where it is growing, to the trench where is diving under North America.

  • Tiny plants beneath northern sea ice feed all marine life. But warming temperatures and shrinking ice cover are changing the timing of spring phytoplankton blooms and causing some species to thrive while others decline. Aboard the R/V Oscar Dyson, scientists will study this spring’s sea-ice retreat and phytoplankton bloom in the Bering Sea off Alaska. Follow Lamont plankton ecologist Beth Stauffer as she blogs from the field.

  • The El Niño weather pattern in the tropical Pacific influences weather across the planet. As the planet warms, it is unclear if El Niño will grow stronger, bringing more extreme floods and droughts to some regions, or if El Niño will slacken, creating more uniform weather. Scientists aboard the Lamont-Doherty ship, R/V Langseth, will sample ancient sediments from the central Pacific Ocean to see how El Niño and climate varied in the past, and how they may change again in the future.