Balzan Prize Honors Key Insights Into Changes in Oceans, Atmosphere
Geochemist Wallace Broecker has been working on climate questions at Lamont-Doherty for over 50 years.
Balzan Prize Honors Key Insights Into Changes in Oceans, Atmosphere
Geochemist Wallace Broecker has been working on climate questions at Lamont-Doherty for over 50 years.
North American Ice Sheet Dwindled Fast in Conditions Like Today's
In the face of warming climate, researchers have yet to agree on how much and how quickly melting of the Greenland ice sheet may contribute to sea level rise.
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Seen As Particular Risk
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area much greater than formerly believed.
Task Force, Advised by Columbia Scientists, Will Draw Plans to Battle Rising Seas, Strains on Water and Electricity
Much of New York City’s waterfront is projected to be vulnerable to flooding in coming decades.
Ongoing Work By Scientists Will Supply Data to the Public
A frequently asked question around New York is: “Is it safe to swim? This has spurred Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory...
Nutrients washed out of the Amazon River are powering huge amounts of previously unexpected plant life far out to sea, thus trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study.
NPR Science Friday, July 18, 2008
Lamont-Doherty geophysicist Angela Slagle explains the idea of trapping CO2 under the seabed
Drilling, experiments, target huge formations off West Coast
Palisades, N.Y., July 14, 2008—A group of scientists has used deep ocean-floor drilling and experiments to show that volcanic rocks off the West Coast and elsewhere might be used to securely imprison huge amounts of globe-warming carbon dioxide captured from power plants or other sources. In particular, they say that natural chemical reactions under 78,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) of ocean floor off California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia could lock in as much as 150 years of U.S. CO2 production
From asteroid impacts and climate change to oceanography and microbiology, undergraduates will spend ten weeks conducting exciting and often ground-breaking scientific research in the Earth Intern program. The program matches students with a research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) in Palisades, New York. LDEO’s more than 200 research scientists are global leaders in the search for knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. The intern program is co-sponsored by LDEO, The Earth Institute, Barnard College, and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia.
Art Lerner-Lam on MSNBC speaking about the earthquake damage in China and why aftershocks will continue to rock China for months.
Three scientists at Columbia’s Earth Institute have been elected to leading U.S. scientific academies.
Paul E. Olsen, a paleontologist and climate researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Lamont seismologist Paul G. Richards was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, along with agronomist Pedro Sanchez, who heads the Earth Institute’s Tropical Agriculture Program.
Farming pushed natural drought into disaster--and could do so again.
NEW YORK – Climate scientists using computer models to simulate the 1930s Dust Bowl on the U.S Great Plains have found that dust raised by farmers probably amplified and spread a natural drop in rainfall, turning an ordinary drying cycle into an agricultural collapse. The researchers say the study raises concern that current pressures on farmland from population growth and climate change could worsen current food crises by leading to similar events in other regions.
May 1, 2008 -- Rocks under the northern ocean are found to resemble ones far south
Scientists probing volcanic rocks from deep under the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean have discovered a special geochemical signature until now found only in the southern hemisphere.
The Earth Institute is holding two seed funding competitions for the '08 - '09 fiscal year (July 1-June 30). One competition is for Cross-Cutting Initiative (CCI) projects and one for Earth Clinic projects. Proposals for both competitions are due by the close of business on Monday, June 2, 2008 and should be e-mailed to Robin DeJong at email@example.com.
Both competitions are designed to provide seed funding for new internal research or projects/interventions that further the Earth Institute mission which states that:
In a cross-cutting initiative of the Earth Institute and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, two member organizations of the Earth Institute, the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) and three GSAS departments (DEES, E3B and Chemistry) have been awarded a National Science Foundation GK-12 grant of $3.2 million.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 17, 2008 ---Every mode of transportation in the United States will be affected by climate change, and planning to keep things running must begin now, says a new report to the government. The greatest potential impact will be flooding of roads, railways, transit systems, and airport runways in coastal areas, due to rising sea levels and surges brought on by more intense storms. Transport on rivers and roads in the nation’s center also are at risk, says the report, issued this week by the National Research Council. A committee of authors warns that climate shifts will require significant changes in design, construction, operation and maintenance of transportation systems.
Feb. 28, 2008 ---Each year, long-distance winds drop up to 900 million tons of dust from deserts and other parts of the land into the oceans. Scientists suspect this phenomenon connects to global climate—but exactly how, remains a question. Now a big piece of the puzzle has fallen into place...
Punta Arenas, Chile, Feb. 28, 2008 ---Scientists from over a dozen institutions will embark today from this port on the tip of South America to spend 42 days amid the high winds and big waves of the Southern Ocean, where they will make groundbreaking measurements to explain how large amounts of climate-affecting gases move between atmosphere and sea, and vice-versa. Researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are taking a leading role in the expedition.
January 14, 2008 - Lamont Scientists Douglas Martinson and Robin Bell were featured in an NBC Nightly News story entitled "Meltdown in Antartica."
The story is part of Nightly News' ongoing "Our Planet" series that examines issues effecting the earth's environment.
January 10, 2008 ---Zigzagging some 60,000 kilometers across ocean floors, earth’s system of mid-ocean ridges plays a pivotal role in many workings of the planet—from its plate-tectonic movements to heat flow from the interior, and the chemistry of rock, water and air....
December 19, 2007 - Science at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is featured in three new books—not all in the usual nonfiction format. In addition to two journalistic works on climate change, there is Time and Materials, by Robert Hass, former poet laureate of the United States, which contains “State of the Planet: on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. In it, Hass explores humanity’s efforts to understand the complexities of oceans, earth and skies, with climate as a central theme.
Dec 10, 2007--Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will report this week on vital topics including new evidence of the effects of climate change; technologies to confront it; studies of eastern U.S. earthquake risk; and previously unseen inner workings of the deep polar ice caps. The reports will be presented at the fall 2007 American Geophysical Union (AGU), the largest earth-sciences gathering in the world, Dec. 10-14 in San Francisco.
November 30, 2007 - Amid cheers from hundreds of scientists and guests, Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory cut the ribbon at its $45 million Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building. The ultra-modern facility is “the step forward that we need to accelerate our efforts to understand and predict the important changes that will impact the way we live with our planet,” Lamont director G Michael Purdy told the crowd. It comes “at a time when, after decades of apathy, humankind is at last awakening to the critical role that the planet’s environment plays in everyone’s well-being.”
November 12, 2007 -The academic community’s flagship seismic-research vessel, to be operated by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was dedicated in Galveston, Tex., Nov 12. The R/V Marcus G. Langseth, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation for use by universities, research institutes and government agencies across the nation, will generate CAT-scan-like 3D images of magma chambers, faults and other structures miles below the world’s seabeds.
October 19, 2007--The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded jointly to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), honors many Lamont-based scientists who have contributed work to the IPCC. These include at least nine current staffers who collaborated with the IPCC’s most recent assessment, issued in 2007. Many others have contributed to the panel’s three previous reports over the past 17 years.
September 4, 2007--Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has established a $3 million endowment to further its cutting-edge work in designing new scientific instruments to study waves, winds, earthquakes and other natural phenomena.
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.
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.
April 6, 2007 - How anthropogenic climate change will impact the arid regions of Southwestern North America has implications for the allocation of water resources and the course of regional development. The findings of a new study, appearing in Science, show that there is a broad consensus amongst climate models that this region will dry significantly in the 21st Century and that the transition to a more arid climate may already be underway. If these models are correct, the levels of aridity of the recent multiyear drought, or the Dust Bowl and 1950s droughts, will, within the coming years to decades, become the new climatology of the American Southwest.
January 18, 2007 - The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Crafoord Prize in Geosciences for 2006 to Wallace S. Broecker, Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, “for his innovative and pioneering research on the operation of the global carbon cycle within the ocean-atmosphere-biosphere system, and its interaction with climate"
Ordinarily, losing almost all of one's instruments would be considered a severe setback to any scientist. But when Maya Tolstoy, a marine geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, recently learned that two-thirds of the seismometers she placed on the floor of the Pacific Ocean were trapped more than 8,000 feet (2500 meters) underwater, it turned out to be an extremely good sign.
What’s in an isotope? Quite a lot, as it turns out. A new technique developed by researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory now allows scientists to use an isotope of manganese not abundant on Earth to understand the record of millions of years of changes to the Earth’s surface. According to the study's lead scientists, the new technique relies on measuring extremely small amounts of the nuclide that accumulates as cosmic rays strike exposed rock surfaces over long periods of time. This will allow scientists to track processes such as erosion and glaciation that shaped the landscape over millions of years.
For several decades, geologists have thought the western North American tectonic plate was riddled with a type of fault that permitted the continent to expand over the past several million years. However, a new study published in the November issues of The Journal of Geology challenges that assumption and suggests that these faults are actually the remains of massive, gravity-driven rock slides and not tectonically active features of the Earth's crust.
Marie Tharp, a pathbreaking oceanographic cartographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, co-creator of the first global map of the ocean floor and co-discoverer of the central rift valley that runs through the Mid-Atlantic Ridge died Wednesday August 23 in Nyack Hospital. She was 86.
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.
Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Center for International Earth Science Information Network announced that they have been awarded a five-year, $16.9 million grant renewal from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP).
The destruction caused by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and human activities such as mountaintop removal mining are powerful examples of how the environment and society are tightly interwoven. But to what extent do, or should, state science curricula in the U.S. seek to investigate or influence the nature of this interaction?
Mikah McCabe wanted "some serious research experience" on global warming or climate change. Hagar ElBishlawi wanted to work in a program affiliated with The Earth Institute. Michael Silberman wanted to work at Lamont because the people there work on the "interesting and important problems."
Each of the undergraduate interns welcomed by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory this summer may have had their own reason for applying, but they all have one thing in common: they are some of the best and brightest.
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.
With the summer approaching, new research has shown that recent water emergencies in the Northeast have resulted from more than just dry weather
Despite concerns over global warming, scientists have discovered something that may have actually limited the impact of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in recent years by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth. Global dimming was the subject of a recent special on the PBS science series NOVA featuring Beate Liepert.
Seismologists at Columbia University and Harvard University have found a new indicator that the Earth is warming: "glacial earthquakes" caused when the rivers of ice lurch unexpectedly and produce temblors as strong as magnitude 5.1 on the moment-magnitude scale, which is similar to the Richter scale. Glacial earthquakes in Greenland, the researchers found, are most common in July and August, and have more than doubled in number since 2002.
The retreat of a massive ice sheet that once covered much of northern Europe has been described for the first time, and researchers believe it may provide a sneak preview of how present-day ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will act in the face of global warming.
Lying beneath more than two miles of Antarctic ice, Lake Vostok may be the best-known and largest subglacial lake in the world, but it is not alone down there. Scientists have identified more than 145 other lakes trapped under the ice. Until now, however, none have approached Vostok’s size or depth.
Lying far above the Arctic Circle, the Russian archipelago of Novaya Zemlya is one of the most remote places on Earth, which is precisely why these mountainous, wind-swept islands were used as the Soviet Union’s main nuclear weapons test site from 1955 to 1990.
Some of the highest quality images ever taken of the Earth's lower crust reveal that the upper and lower crust form in two distinctly different ways. A team led by researchers from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will publish the results of their work in the August 25 issue of the journal Nature.
Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have ended a nine-year debate over whether the Earth's inner core is undergoing changes that can be detected on a human timescale.
Researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory recently resolved a long-standing contradiction about the workings of the deep Earth. For years, many geochemists have argued that parts of the deep mantle remain unchanged since the formation of the Earth, whereas many geophysicists and geodynamicists have held that the entire mantle has been convecting (moving and mixing) over geological time.
When the sea floor off the coast of Sumatra split on the morning of December 26, 2004, it took days to measure the full extent of the rupture. Recently, researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed recordings of the underwater sound produced by the magnitude 9.3 earthquake.
Buried far beneath the cattails and blackbirds of marshes in the lower Hudson Valley are pollen, seeds and other materials preserved in marsh sediment in the Hudson River Estuary. By examining this material, researchers can see evidence of a 500-year drought, the passing of the Little Ice Age, and impacts of European settlers.
Many scientists fight a never-ending battle against dust in their laboratory. Gisela Winckler, however, can’t get enough. Before you send her what’s under your bed, though, she’s only interested in a very special kind of dust — the kind that rains down on the Earth from outer space.
Scientists have long held the belief that the fracturing of the Earth's brittle outer shell into faults along the deep ocean's mountainous landscape occurs only during long periods when no magma has intruded. Challenging this predominant theory, findings from a completed study show how differences in mid-ocean ridge magma-induced activity produce distinctly different types of ocean floor faulting.
Scientists from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) have provided new evidence that ocean circulation changes lagged behind, and were not the cause of, major climate changes at the beginning and end of the last ice age (short intervals known as glacial boundaries), according to a study published in the March 2005 issue of Science magazine.
Working in the subway several hours each day, subway workers and transit police breathe more subway air than the typical commuter. Subway air has been shown to contain more steel dust than outdoor or other indoor air in New York City. But do transit workers’ bodies harbor elevated levels of these metals? And does this translate into a health concern for the workers?
Marine seismic research will play an invaluable role in providing the same level of warning currently in the Pacific Ocean to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. In January 2005 the Bush Administration committed $37.5 million to expand the current global tsunami detection and warning systems.
Well diggers in Araihazar, Bangladesh will soon be able to take advantage of a cell phone-based data system, developed at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory with support from the Earth Institute at Columbia University, to target safe groundwater aquifers for installing new wells that are not tainted with arsenic. Using a new needle-sampler (also developed at the Earth Institute), they will also be able to test whether the water is safe during drilling and before a well is actually installed.
The Maurice Ewing, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DEO), is the only research vessel devoted to obtaining images of the deep earth for fundamental earth science research.
Researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of The Earth Institute at Columbia University have used 835 annual tree-ring chronologies based on measurements from 20- to 30-thousand tree samples across the United States, Mexico, and parts of Canada to reconstruct a history of drought over the last 2005 years. The resulting drought reconstructions have been organized into a North American Drought Atlas CD-ROM, the first of its kind, which maps year-by-year occurrences of droughts.
Severe drought in western states in recent years may be linked to climate warming trends, according to new research, led by scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, to be published in the journal Science. This research was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Deep in the Antarctic interior, buried under thousands of meters (more than two miles) of ice, lies Lake Vostok, the world's largest subglacial lake. Scientists believe that the waters of Lake Vostok have not been disturbed for hundreds of thousands of years, and there are tantalizing clues that microbes, isolated for at least as long, may exist.
What causes the peaks and valleys of the world’s great mountains? For continental ranges like the Appalachians or the Northwest’s Cascades, the geological picture is clearer. Continents crash or volcanoes erupt, then glaciers erode away. Yet scientists are still puzzling out what makes the highs high and the lows low for the planet’s largest mountain chain, the 55,000-mile-long Mid-Ocean Ridge.
For years, researchers have examined climate records indicating that millennial-scale climate cycles have linked the high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere and the subtropics of the North Pacific Ocean. What forces this linkage, however, has been a topic of considerable debate. Did the connection originate in the North Pacific with the sinking of oxygen-rich waters into the interior of the ocean during cool climate intervals, or did it originate in the subtropical Pacific with the transfer of heat between the ocean and the atmosphere?
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.
From 1960 to 1990, scientists have observed a 1.3% per decade decline in the amount of sun reaching the Earth’s surface. This phenomenon, coined “solar dimming,” is due to changes in clouds and air pollution that are impeding the sun's ability to penetrate. Scientists believe that the combination of growing quantities of man-made aerosol particles in the atmosphere and more moisture have caused the cloud cover to thicken.
Finding the epicenter of earthquakes has not changed in principle since the 1930s -- after closely examining seismograms from different widely-spaced listening stations, researchers decide on the arrival times of various seismic waves and calculate an approximation. In practice this can result in errors of several miles
The Hudson River Estuary, a stretch of the Hudson River from Troy, N.Y. to its mouth in New York Harbor, has begun a new stage of its life say geologists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Queens College in Flushing, N.Y. Researchers at both institutions have found that, aside from a few very specific locations, the estuary may have largely stopped filling in with new sediment.
Columbia University researchers have found that steel dust generated in the New York City subway significantly increases the total amount of airborne iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and chromium (Cr) that riders breathe. The airborne levels of these metals associated with fine particulate matter in the subway environment were observed to be more than 100 times greater than levels observed in home indoor or outdoor settings in New York City.
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.
The atmosphere and the oceans carry on an exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas. This is particularly significant in the equatorial Pacific Ocean because it is one of the most important yet highly variable natural source areas for the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere.
Scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found that currents connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans are colder and deeper than originally believed. This discovery may one day help climate modelers predict the intensity of the Asian monsoon or El Niño with greater accuracy and with more lead-time than is currently possible.
Researchers have found an important new application for seismic reflection data, commonly used to image geological structures and explore for oil and gas. Recently published in the journal Nature, new use of reflection data may prove crucial to understanding the potential for mega earthquakes.
Detailed analysis of regional and teleseismic waveform data from the June 18, 2002, Evansville, Indiana earthquake indicates that the earthquake occurred at a depth of about 18 km (±2 km).