LDEO Research Blogs

  • Trees have stories to tell, their annual growth rings cataloging changes in the environment, including climate. Many tree-ring scientists focus on conifers, but Neil Pederson, a scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, believes that the less-studied broadleaf trees in temperate forests, such as magnolia, tulip-poplar, maple and birch, have much to teach us.

  • A major tectonic boundary on the seafloor off Alaska has produced fatal earthquakes and tsunamis similar to the recent one in Japan. In 1964, the second largest quake ever recorded happened here, and other parts of the fault may be building energy for another event. Scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are aboard the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth to better understand what causes these quakes, which will help assess the hazard for Alaska and beyond. Follow Lamont seismologist Donna Shillington from the field.

  • From the Himalayas to the Alps and Rockies, mountain glaciers are rapidly melting. A sign of a warming climate, their retreat may also threaten hydropower and water supplies for cities below. To put current trends in context, scientists at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying rocks that record the ebb and flow of ice since the last ice age, over the past 20,000 years. They will travel the high peaks of the Peruvian Andes, including Nevado Coropuna, a 22,000 foot volcano. Other scientists will study pre-Columbian remains on the mountains. Geologist Gordon Bromley reports from Peru, while geochemist Gisela Winckler writes from the Lamont campus.

  • Arctic ice is declining rapidly—a trend with enormous implications for global weather and climate. Freshwater pours into the Arctic Ocean from the ice sheets and glaciers, and sea ice over the ocean itself is declining. Ocean Channels and currents there act as a kind of switchyard, sending fresh water into the North Atlantic, and small changes here may have larger impacts on climate downstream. To understand these processes, scientists are landing in small aircraft on the floating sea ice, and drilling down to study the water and currents below. Lamont-Doherty researchers Bill Smethie, Ronny Friedrich, Dale Chayes and Richard Perry report on their work here.