News and Events

  • June 27, 2017

    A warming climate is not just melting the Arctic’s sea ice; it is stirring the remaining ice faster, increasing the odds that ice-rafted pollution will foul a neighboring country’s waters, says a new study.

  • June 26, 2017

    Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, scrunches blocks of ice between hunks of rock to study how ice behaves under pressure. Her work provides an important piece of the puzzle of how glaciers move, what makes them speed up, and how they are contributing to sea level rise as the climate warms.

  • June 23, 2017

    An interdisciplinary team of scientists has discovered that, contrary to general scientific belief, iron in nondissolved particle form can stimulate phytoplankton growth, and that the chemical form that particulate iron takes is critical to ocean photosynthesis.

  • June 23, 2017

    The Center has awarded nearly $1 million to four scientists whose research will improve understanding of how climate change impacts the essentials of human sustainability.

  • June 16, 2017

    Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been around since the early 1900s. Originally used for military operations, they became more widely used after about 2010 when electronic technology got smaller, cheaper and more efficient, prices on cameras and sensors dropped, and battery power improved. Where once scientists could only observe earth from above by using manned aircraft or satellites, today they are expanding, developing and refining their research thanks to drones.

  • June 12, 2017

    Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call for a lot of people in New York City, including Adam Sobel, who’s spent more than two decades studying the physics of weather and climate. He spent a lot of time during and after the storm talking to the media about what was happening, and why. He says the intense public interest made clear to him the need to find ways to apply the esoteric physics of atmosphere and oceans so we can be better prepared for the next extreme event.

  • June 12, 2017

    In November 1983, physical oceanographer Arnold Gordon was the Chief Scientist on the R/V Knorr, sailing around the southern tip of Africa, when the characteristics of his water samples came in terribly off. The temperature and the salinity of the water his team collected did not match the profile of the Southeast Atlantic Ocean. He had seen there characteristics before though, and soon, with more data, he confirmed that this clearer-blue “blob” of water they floated on top of was actually water from the Indian Ocean, coming in through a leak. This water, flowing from the Indian Ocean into the Atlantic, became known as the “Agulhas leakage” and helped us understand how the ocean’s salt is circulated back into the North Atlantic Ocean.

  • June 08, 2017

    Access to adequate fresh water supplies is a critically important societal challenge posed by climate change. With rising heat and shifting rainfall patterns, and reduced water storage resilience, fresh water supplies are already diminishing in the western United States, Mexico, the Middle East, and Mediterranean. Water shortages have been implicated in recent international conflict, and a recent Department of Defense study underscores the geopolitical importance of this problem.

  • June 07, 2017

    The 2004 disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow” depicted the cataclysmic effects—superstorms, tornadoes and deep freezes— resulting from the impacts of climate change. In the movie, global warming had accelerated the melting of polar ice, which disrupted circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, triggering violent changes in the weather. Scientists pooh-poohed the dire scenarios in the movie, but affirmed that climate change could indeed affect ocean circulation—could it shut down the Gulf Stream?

  • June 02, 2017

    In light of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, we have collected resources and commentary from across the Earth Institute relevant to the implications, and the basics of the agreement. Continue to check back here as we update this page with new reactions from Earth Institute experts.

  • June 02, 2017

    Trump has aligned himself with the forces that deny scientific facts and economic realities. History will judge him harshly; our allies and most Americans already do. The law will need to play a major role in pushing back against the attempted dismantling of our environmental and health protections. —Michael B. Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

  • June 01, 2017

    In recent years, scientists have discovered hundreds of lakes lying hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Now a team of researchers has found the remains of at least one sub-ice lake that existed when the ice was far more extensive, in sediments on the Antarctic continental shelf. The discovery is significant because it is thought that such lakes may have accelerated the retreat of glaciers in the past, and could do so again. Their study appears this week in the journal Nature Communications.

  • May 31, 2017

    Antarctica’s ice locks up enough fresh water to inundate coastal regions around the globe. And the ice is on the move: The continent’s vast glaciers are sliding toward the coast and out over the ocean, forming huge ice shelves that in some places are collapsing. Researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have spent the last two Antarctic summers flying over the massive Ross Ice Shelf, deploying a custom-made package of instruments to probe the ice. Their goal: to untangle the interactions between ice, ocean and land, to try and gauge the effects of warming climate.

  • May 31, 2017

    The world may be getting set up for similar situation now, they say. Over the past 50 years, the middle and high latitudes in the northern hemisphere have warmed roughly twice as much as the corresponding latitudes in the southern hemisphere, and this disparity may continue to grow as Arctic sea ice continues to decline. Putnam and Broecker predict that as the atmosphere warms more quickly in the north than in the south, the thermal equator and tropical and mid-latitude rain bands will continue to march northward, but migrate less-so southward during the northern winter months.

  • May 22, 2017

    Billy D’Andrea, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory paleoclimatologist and Center for Climate and Life Fellow is currently doing fieldwork in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. He’s interested in the natural factors that may have influenced the growth of northern agriculture and rise of violent Viking chieftains during the Iron Age, ca. 500 BC to 1100 AD.

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