LDEO Research Blogs

  • The Indian Ocean’s warm, salty water has been leaking into the Atlantic, spinning off giant eddies with the help of the twisting Agulhas Current. Studies suggest that in the past, this warm-water leakage may have changed the strength of the ocean conveyor circulation, influencing historic climate changes. Follow Sidney Hemming and Allison Franzese’s experiences aboard the R/V Joides Resolution as they collect evidence to analyze the Agulhas Current’s behavior over the past 5 million years.

  • The barrenness of life and other particulate material in the clear waters of the central South Pacific allows light to penetrate more deeply than anywhere else. Columbia graduate students Frankie Pavia and Sebastian Vivancos are part of an international team of scientists studying the chemistry and biology of the South Pacific on the FS Sonne. They will try to determine input and removal rates of metals and trace elements from the ocean, which are crucial to our understanding of ocean life and past climates.

  • Over the past decade, Elise Rumpf has studied lava flows on four continents and four planets, but she's never studied submarine flows until now. These are harsh environments where humans cannot survive unassisted, so we send machines to do the work for us. Rumpf describes those machines and their work from aboard a ship in the Atlantic.

  • At the base of the polar food chain in the icy waters off Antarctica, phytoplankton are an essential food source for young krill, which in turn sustain many species of marine wildlife. Jeff Bowman is in Antarctica for the field season studying how phytoplankton and bacteria interact, particularly their cooperative interactions. Toxic compounds produced by phytoplankton, for example, may be cleaned up by bacterial partners, allowing photosynthesis to proceed more efficiently, ultimately meaning more food in the food web.

  • The nations of the world meet in Paris starting Nov. 30 to discuss how to confront climate change. The goal: Keep global temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average. Many scientists feel that is already impossible. But the United States, China and many other nations have committed to trying. The Earth Institute has long been at the forefront of climate science, policy and possible solutions. Here we offer stories to help readers sort through the issues, the science and the consequences.