Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth’s species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic volcanic eruptions. The eruptions may have caused climate changes so sudden that many creatures were unable to adapt—possibly on a pace similar to that of human-influenced climate warming today. The extinction opened the way for dinosaurs to evolve and dominate the planet for the next 135 million years, before they, too, were wiped out in a later planetary cataclysm.
The Argon Geochronology for the Earth Sciences (AGES) lab is located at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory along the Palisades Parkway in Rockland County, New York. Our lab measures Argon isotope compositions and concentrations, mainly of single mineral grains, on a VG5400 noble gas mass spectrometer to determine the age of mineral formation. Our research subjects include paleocllmate provenance studies, volcanoes and deep earth time.
A detailed (ca. 100 yr resolution) and well-dated (31 AMS 14C dates to 24 cal.
Tree-Ring Lab (TRL) scientists are dedicated to expanding the use and application of tree-ring research around the world to improve our understanding of past climate and environmental history. Current research concentrates on the use of tree-ring data networks to study regional climate, global climate teleconnections and anthropogenic impacts on forest growth.
Exploring new species in new regions, building collaborations around the world, and developing new quantitative techniques, TRL researchers are committed to advancing dendrochronology and paleoclimatology, as well as the ethic of good science
Research led by Richard Seager describes a modeling and paleoclimate perspective on the causes of North American droughts.
The Lamont-Doherty Core Repository is both an archive of sediment (some terrestrial), rocks and coral from beneath the ocean floor, and an archive of the digital data pertaining to the material. They are used for research in climate, environment, many other studies, and for education.
Please click below to be taken directly to the Repository site.
|Name||Title||Fields of interest|
|Logan Brenner||Graduate Research Fellow|
|Braddock Linsley||Lamont Research Professor||coral-based paleoclimatology in the Indo-Pacific, Sediment records of Western Pacific Warm Pool and Indonesian Throughflow variability|
|Aaron Putnam||Postdoctoral Research Scientist|
|Allison Jacobel||Graduate Student||Paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, isotope geochemistry|
|Pratigya Polissar||Lamont Assistant Research Professor|
|Paolo Montagna||Visiting Associate Research Scientist||Development of geochemical proxies in coral skeletons for paleoclimate reconstructions|
|Christopher Hayes||Graduate Research Assistant||Chemical oceanography, trace metals, paleoclimatology|
|Jennifer Cole||Adjunct Associate Research Scientist||geochronology, paleoclimatology, human evolution|
|Dorothy M. Peteet||Adjunct Senior Research Scientist||Paleoclimate, paleoecology, climate modeling, wetland carbon storage, palynology.|
|Alexander Van Geen||Lamont Research Professor||Geochemistry|
|Elizabeth Pierce||Graduate Student||Sediment provenance, paleoclimate|
|Jason E. Smerdon||Lamont Associate Research Professor||Late-Holocene Paleoclimatology, Climate Modeling, Statistical Climatology, Climate Variability and Change|
|Alexey Kaplan||Lamont Associate Research Professor||Analyses of climate fields based on historical, instrumental and paleoclimatic data; El Nino and Southern Oscillation; ocean data assimilation; statistical studies of climate variability from observations and models|
|Brendan M. Buckley||Lamont Associate Research Professor||Dendrochronology, Dendroclimatology, Tropical Forest Ecosystems, Arctic Treeline Studies|
|Robert F. Anderson||Ewing Lamont Research Professor||Chemical Oceanography, Marine Biogeochemistry, Paleoclimatology|
|Wallace S. Broecker||Newberry Professor||Role of the oceans in climate change using isotopes.|
|Ramona Lotti||Staff Associate|
|Edward R. Cook||Ewing Lamont Research Professor|
|Gordon C. Jacoby||Special Research Scientist|
|Rosanne D'Arrigo||Lamont Research Professor|
|Dennis V. Kent||Adjunct Senior Research Scientist||Paleomagnetism, geomagnetism and rock magnetism, and their application to geologic problems. Current interests include Cenozoic and Mesozoic geomagnetic polarity time scales; paleoclimatology, paleogeography and tectonics of the Pangea supercontinent; paleofield intensity variations; and magnetic properties of sediments, oceanic basalts, and polar ice.|
|Ronny Friedrich||Senior Staff Associate||Noble gases, groundwater, paleoclimate, mass spectrometry, vacuum, cryogenic physics, data acquisition, database design, software development (LabView)|
|Brent Goehring||Postdoctoral Research Scientist||Surface Exposure Dating, Glacial Geology, Paleoclimatology, Tectonic Geomorphology and Paleoseismology|
|Bärbel Hönisch||Associate Professor||Paleoclimatology, Paleoceanography, Biological Oceanography|
|Kevin Anchukaitis||Adjunct Associate Research Scientist||paleoclimatology, dendroclimatology, tropical dendrochronology, stable isotope biogeochemistry, climate field reconstruction and statistics, forward modeling|
|Michael Kaplan||Lamont Assistant Research Professor||Quaternary and glacial geology, geomorphology, geochronology, paleoclimatology, ice sheet dynamics, limnogeology, cosmogenic surface exposure dating|
|Nicole K. Davi||Postdoctoral Research Fellow||Paleoclimatology, Drought and Hydrometeorological Reconstructions, Climate Change, Dendrochronology, Science Education & Outreach, Paleoarchaeology, Sustainability, Climate Risk Management|
|Peter B. deMenocal||Professor||Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology|
|Paul E. Olsen||Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor||paleontology, stratigraphy, Evolution of continental ecosystems (climate change, mass extinctions)|
|Joerg M. Schaefer||Lamont Associate Research Professor|
|Gisela Winckler||Lamont Associate Research Professor||Marine geochemistry, Paleoclimatology, Paleoceanography, Tracer oceanography, dust, paleoclimate|
March 20, 2013
August 03, 2012
Human civilization arose during the relatively balmy climate of the last 10,000 years. Even so, evidence is accumulating that at least two cold spells gripped the northern hemisphere during this time, and that the cooling may have coincided with drought in the tropics. Emerging research on climate during this Holocene period suggests that temperature swings were more common than previously thought, and that climate changes happened on a broad, hemispheric scale.
October 07, 2011
The Hudson River that explorer Henry Hudson sailed some 400 years ago had no power plants on its shores. No trains, bridges, factories or houses. Those innovations changed the river, leaving a legacy of PCBs, sewage and other pollutants. But pollution is just one way that humans have transformed the river. A small way, it turns out.
September 15, 2011
The seas are rising, as they have during past periods of warming in earth’s history. Estimates of how high they will go in the next few thousand years range from five meters, putting greater Miami underwater, to 40 meters, wiping most of Florida off the map. “The range of estimates is huge to the point of meaninglessness,” says
, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
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.
February 23, 2011
We may think of the Pacific Northwest as rain-drenched, but new research led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh shows that the region could be in for longer dry seasons, and is unlikely to see a period as wet as the 20th century any time soon.
December 22, 2010
In the first project of its kind, scientists are drilling deep into the bed of the fast-shrinking Dead Sea, searching for clues to past climate changes and other events that may have affected human history back through Biblical times and before.
November 03, 2010
Scientists have long known that large volcanic explosions can affect the weather by spewing particles that block solar energy and cool the air. Some suspect that extended “volcanic winters” from gigantic blowups helped kill off dinosaurs and Neanderthals...
September 07, 2010
Expanded irrigation has made it possible to feed the world’s growing billions—and it may also temporarily be counteracting the effects of climate change in some regions, say scientists in a new study. But some major groundwater aquifers, a source of irrigation water, are projected to dry up in coming decades from continuing overuse, and when they do, people may face the double whammy of food shortages and higher temperatures.
June 25, 2010
Scientists still puzzle over how Earth emerged from its last ice age, an event that ushered in a warmer climate and the birth of human civilization. In the geological blink of an eye, ice sheets in the northern hemisphere began to collapse and warming spread quickly to the south. Most scientists say that the trigger...
May 27, 2010
Some of the worst droughts to hit North Africa in the last 900 years have occurred recently—in the late 20th century—according to an analysis of tree rings that has provided the most lengthy and detailed climate record yet for this sub-tropical region on the Mediterranean.
Ocean Drilling Expedition off Antarctica May Predict Ice Sheet's Response to Warmer Global TemperaturesMay 04, 2010
New results from a drilling expedition off Antarctica may help scientists learn more about a dramatic turn in climate 34 million years ago, when the planet cooled from a “greenhouse” to an “icehouse” state. In just 400,000 years – a blink of an eye in geologic time – carbon dioxide levels dropped, temperatures plunged and ice sheets formed over what was then the lush continent of Antarctica.
April 21, 2010
The seasonal monsoon rains in Asia feed nearly half the world’s population, and when the rains fail to come, people can go hungry, or worse. A new study of tree rings provides the most detailed record yet of at least four epic droughts that have shaken Asia over the last thousand years..
March 29, 2010
Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence.
March 29, 2010
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has awarded the 2010 Milutin Milankovitch Medal to Professor Emeritus Jim Hays "for his pioneering, fundamental and continuous work on the reconstruction of Cenozoic climates and for his Science 1976 seminal paper on the astronomical theory of palaeoclimates." In the latter, Hays, along with colleagues John Imbrie and Nick Shackelton, proved that the timing of major ice ages is controlled by variations in Earth's orbit around the sun.
February 04, 2010
Scientists aboard the research ship the JOIDES Resolution recently drilled two kilometers into Earth’s crust, setting a new record for the deepest hole drilled through the seafloor on a single expedition.
December 14, 2009
Selected posts from a continuing series of essays and interviews from LDEO scientists on the prospects for a global climate-change treaty.
June 18, 2009
Researchers have reconstructed atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past 2.1 million years in the sharpest detail yet, shedding new light on its role in the earth’s cycles of cooling and warming.
April 09, 2009
Four current and former researchers at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will receive honorary degrees from their alma mater, St. Lawrence University, this spring. The degrees will be awarded at May graduation to paleoclimatologist Peter deMenocal; engineer Dale Chayes; paleoceanographer Miriam Katz; and oceanographer Richard Fairbanks.
January 06, 2009
But Global Warming May Have Helped Override Some Recent Eruptions
Climate researchers have shown that big volcanic eruptions over the past 450 years have temporarily cooled weather in the tropics—but suggest that such effects may have been masked in the 20th century by rising global temperatures
July 15, 2007
July 15, 2007 - The 11th Hour is a 2007 feature film documentary created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio on the state of the natural environment.
Lamont’s own Associate Professor Peter deMenocal is one the climate change experts interviewed in the film.
May 14, 2007
A study released on May 11, 2007 provides some of the first solid evidence that warming-induced changes in ocean circulation at the end of the last Ice Age caused vast quantities of ancient carbon dioxide to belch from the deep sea into the atmosphere. Scientists believe the carbon dioxide (CO2) releases helped propel the world into further warming.
August 07, 2006
Each year nearly 40,000 tons of cosmic dust fall to Earth from outer space. Now, the first successful chronological study of extraterrestrial dust in Antarctic ice has shown that this amount has remained largely constant over the past 30,000 years, a finding that could help refine efforts to understand the timing and effects of changes in the Earth's past climate.
New Study of Glacial Retreat Shows that Much of the World Emerged from Last Ice Age at Nearly the Same TimeJune 08, 2006
The end of the recurring, 100,000-year glacial cycles is one of the most prominent and readily identifiable features in records of the Earth's recent climate history. Yet one of the most puzzling questions in climate science has been why different parts of the world, most notably Greenland, appear to have warmed at different times and at different rates after the end of the last Ice Age.
May 26, 2004
Two centuries since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the human population has increased six-fold, and economic activity an estimated fifty-fold. The sheer number of people on the planet and the intensity of economic activity are having profound effects on the long-term global climate, threatening to disrupt vast biological, geochemical, and social systems in future decades. This is fact.
December 18, 2003
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside and Columbia University have found evidence of the release of an enormous quantity of methane gas as ice sheets melted at the end of a global ice age about 600 million years ago, possibly altering the ocean's chemistry, influencing oxygen levels in the ocean and atmosphere, and enhancing climate warming because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.
|Using Paleo-Climate to Constrain Future Projections|
|Up From the Briny Deep: Collecting Deep-Sea Sediment Cores|
|Bogged Down in Alaska||Studying the Future Melt with the Frozen Past|
|Drilling into the Jurassic in New Jersey||Scientist In The Field|
|Biomarkers, Climate, Vegetation and Early Hominids||at Olduvai Gorge in the Early Pleistocene|
|Fossil Coral Evidence for Highly Variable ENSO Activity Over the Holocene||Implications for Detection of Forced Signals|
|Green Sahara||Holocene Climate and Life in North Africa|
|Indonesia’s Last Glaciers||Images of glacier-capped Puncak Jaya|
|Ancient Trees Reveal Environmental Histories||Part of the 2011 Public Lecture Series|
|Antarctica's Leaky Basement||Implications for Ice Sheet Dynamics, Paleoclimate Records and Microbiology|
|Currents, Conveyors, and Climate Change||Part of the 2010 Public Lecture Series|
|Climate and Culture Research||at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory|
|Assessing Resilience of Past Societies to Climatic Change||The Case of Angkor's 15th Century Collapse and Reorganization|
|New York's Piermont Marsh||A 7,000-year Archive of Climate Change, Human Impact and Uncovered Mysteries|
|Tree Rings, Climate Change and the Rainy Season|
|A Library of Mud||NPR Science Friday, Jan. 31, 2009|
|Deep Time||The History of Our Planet Revealed|
|African Climate Changes and Human Evolution||Public Lecture, 2004|