After less than a month in operation, a new NASA satellite has produced the first map showing how saltiness varies across the surface of the world’s oceans. Until now, salt measurements came only from ships, moorings and buoys floating at sea; NASA says its Aquarius satellite will capture in three years as much data as those earlier methods did in 125 years.
News and Events
October 03, 2011
September 27, 2011
As it moves across the Indian Ocean, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) can bring torrential rains to California and add power to hurricanes forming in the Gulf of Mexico. Yet after 30 years of studying this cyclical weather pattern scientists are no closer to understanding how it works.
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.
September 14, 2011
Readers can follow a New York Times blog from the arctic as the U.S. flagship vessel for charting geology under the seabed sails the Chukchi Sea, north of Alaska and Siberia. By sending sound pulses to the seabed and reading the echoes, scientists conducting the Chukchi Edges project aboard the Marcus G. Langseth hope to understand the structure and history of the continental shelves running underwater off Asia and North America, and the Chukchi Borderland, an adjoing region of dramatic deep-sea plateaus and ridges some 800 miles from the North Pole.
September 13, 2011
The frigid seabottom off Antarctica holds a surprising riot of life: colorful carpets of sponges, starfish, sea cucumbers and many other soft, bottom-dwelling animals,shown on images from robotic submarines. Now, it appears that many such communities could fast disappear, due to warming climate.
September 12, 2011
Under the shopping malls and highways of suburbia, there might one day be a partial fix for global warming. Since August, engineers have been drilling just west of the Tappan Zee Bridge to collect samples of rock from the Newark Basin, an ancient rock formation stretching beneath New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
August 31, 2011
A new study suggests that Homo erectus, a precursor to modern humans, was using advanced tool-making methods in East Africa 1.8 million years ago, at least 300,000 years earlier than previously thought. The study, published this week in Nature, raises new questions about where these tall and slender early humans originated and how they developed sophisticated tool-making technology.
August 29, 2011
Lamont-Doherty scientist Timothy Crone is at sea off the Northwest U.S. coast, dropping sensors into the deep ocean as part of a major initiative to better understand oceans, climate and plate tectonics. You can watch a live video feed from the robotic vehicle ROPOS and see it deploy instruments and take samples from 4500 feet down on the seafloor.
August 25, 2011
In the first study of its kind, researchers have linked a natural global climate cycle to periodic increases in warfare. The arrival of El Niño, which every three to seven years boosts temperatures and cuts rainfall, doubles the risk of civil wars across 90 affected tropical countries, and may help account for a fifth of worldwide conflicts during the past half-century, say the authors. The paper, written by an interdisciplinary team at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, appears in the current issue of the leading scientific journal Nature.
August 24, 2011
The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that shook central Virginia on Tuesday afternoon is one of the biggest earthquakes to hit the East Coast since 1897, and was comparable in strength to a quake on the New York-Canadian border in 1944, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was centered near Mineral, Va., about 38 miles northwest of Richmond, and in an area known for frequent though lesser quakes.
August 12, 2011
Two scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have been recognized for early-career achievement in the atmospheric sciences by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest earth-sciences organization.
August 11, 2011
People are swimming in the Hudson again, and while clumps of sewage rarely float by anymore, the water is not reliably clean, says a report released this week from the environmental group Riverkeeper.
August 09, 2011
Researchers returning from a cruise some 250 miles off the coast of Oregon have reported seeing a volcanic eruption on the seafloor that they accurately forecast five years ago—the first successful prediction of an undersea eruption. The event took place at Axial Seamount, one of the most active and intensely studied undersea peaks in the world.
July 21, 2011
For all of its violent destruction, the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, hardly scratched the surface of the island. But scientists now say they have found some of the best clues to understanding the quake under water.
July 13, 2011
After the recent great quakes that have swept away entire coastlines and cities in Japan, Haiti and Sumatra, scientists are now looking hard at the nation that may suffer the gravest threat of all: Bangladesh. A new documentary from the Earth Institute follows seismologists as they trace signs of deeply buried active faults, past movements of the earth, and sudden, catastrophic river-course changes.