News and Events

  • January 11, 2018

    As the Arctic warms, the unfreezing of permafrost poses a threat to the planet.

  • January 10, 2018

    Rainfall changes caused by global warming will increase river flooding risks across the globe by the 2040s, says a new study. The study finds that the increases will be greatest in much of the United States, central Europe, Indonesia, and parts of India and Africa.

  • January 08, 2018

    A new study shows how ambient seismic noise can help understand how the strength of tropical cyclones is being modified by climate change.

  • December 22, 2017

    Climate scientists say that killer heat waves will become increasingly prevalent in many regions as climate warms. However, most projections leave out a major factor that could worsen things: humidity, which can greatly magnify the effects of heat alone. Now, a new global study projects that in coming decades the effects of high humidity in many areas will dramatically increase.

  • December 18, 2017

    Presentation calls attention to a largely under-recognized health threat.

  • December 14, 2017

    Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced his appointment of Alexander N. Halliday, a geochemistry professor at University of Oxford and vice president of the UK’s Royal Society, as the new Director of Columbia’s Earth Institute.

  • December 14, 2017

    Billy D’Andrea is trying to understand Easter Island’s climate history over the last few thousand years and how communities dealt with past climate change.

  • December 11, 2017

    The coasts of Antarctica are ringed with ice shelves – large expanses of ice that float on the surrounding ocean and form the outermost extensions of the glaciers that cover the land behind them. A new study shows that even minor deterioration of ice shelves can instantaneously hasten the motion and loss of ice hundreds of miles landward.

  • December 08, 2017

    As climate warms, the surface of the Greenland ice sheet is melting, and all that meltwater ends up in seasonal rivers that flow to the sea. At least that is what scientists have assumed until now. A new study shows that some of the meltwater is actually being soaked into porous subsurface ice and held there, at least temporarily.

  • December 08, 2017

    Organic geochemist Pratigya Polissar is developing new tools to look at the history of plants and ecosystems on Earth over the past 20 million years.

  • December 06, 2017
    Congress has opened portions of Alaska’s pristine wilderness to oil and gas development. What might that mean for the creatures living there?
  • December 04, 2017

    A chronological guide to key talks and other events presented by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the American Geophysical Union 2017 meeting.

  • December 04, 2017

    If each of us in the U.S. ate half as many burgers and steaks each week, according to a new study, there could be substantial effects on carbon emissions and the environment.

  • December 04, 2017

    By night they glimmer, lighting up the surf of the Arabian Sea a phosphorescent blue. By day they appear as a thick, slimy, malodorous green blanket over the ocean. Nicknamed “sea sparkle” for their nocturnal appearance, these unusual plankton-like species are silently taking over the base of the regional food chain and threatening fisheries that sustain 150 million people. They are Noctiluca scintillans, a dinoflagellate that were all but unheard of in the Arabian Sea 20 years ago, but they are now demonstrating a unique capacity to survive, thrive, and force out diatoms, the planktonic species that traditionally support the Arabian Sea food web. Typically, diatoms are gobbled up by small sea animals, or zooplankton, which are in turn eaten by larger fish and sea creatures. Noctiluca has short-circuited this system.

  • December 01, 2017

    The story of human evolution is rooted in eastern Africa, where hominins, ancestral species directly related to humans, first appeared. A remote desert region around northwest Kenya’s Lake Turkana is the source of many important early human fossils and artifacts. This region is where Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory paleoecologist and geochemist Kevin Uno has been collecting fossils and sediments, searching for evidence about the climate, vegetation, animals, and water available to our ancestors millions of years ago. Among Uno’s goals is to understand the role of climate in human evolution.