Preparing the Zodiac to transport the injured crew member to land.

Adapting to the Unexpected

I grew up outside of Chicago and I wasn’t a Boy Scout, so sometimes I feel like I missed out on learning the type of practical—albeit rarely used—skills that would have garnered merit badges. Now that I’m nearing the conclusion of my fourth research expedition at sea, I think I have amassed a few badge-worthy tricks.

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Great Barrier Reef

Creating a ‘Safe Space’ for Iconic Ecosystems

Important global ecosystems like the Amazon rainforest and Great Barrier Reef are in danger of breaking down because of a combination of local pressures and climate change, but better local management could help make these areas more resilient.

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Waking up to America’s Water Challenges

“Will it take another Dustbowl for Americans to start paying attention to water issues?” asked Water Center Director Upmanu Lall. Or will it be the chance to create the “iPhone technology” of water? Whether the impetus is crisis or opportunity, according to Lall, the time to act is now.

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Photo: Wing-chiPoon

As Los Angeles Heats Up, Fog Fades

A new study has found that urbanization around coastal Southern California is driving fog away and causing the low clouds, crucial for providing shade and moderating temperatures in summer, to rise. This trend has important implications for ecosystems and cities.

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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2015 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers study the dynamics of climate, geology, ecology, human history and more. Here is a list of expeditions going on this year, and beyond.

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Geology and Filming in Mizoram

by | 3.27.2015 at 2:08pm
A small boat sailing up a scenic river in Mizoram.

In the small town of Kolasib, we stayed in Hotel Cloud 9. I had been told since I was a child that I was always off on Cloud 9 and now I was actually here. However, the electricity wasn’t for the first few hours, so showers were cold, but the dinner was hot.

Soon-to-End Mercury Mission May Hold Clues to Earth’s Evolution

by | 3.27.2015 at 11:58am
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NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury for the last four years, giving scientists an unprecedented look at our solar system’s innermost planet. But now the craft’s fuel supply is exhausted; inexorably drawn in by Mercury’s gravity, it is scheduled to crash in April. Sean Solomon, director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has been leading the mission, and in this video, he talks about its implications.

Buzz Kill

by | 3.27.2015 at 11:40am
Approximately 75% of crops benefit from insect pollinators, most of them wild. Recent studies indicate that bees are increasingly stressed by toxins, pathogens, and lack of food. Image credit: Dave Goulson (SCIENCE)

To feed our own species, we race,
Wild herbage, corn rows replace…

Mapping Faults Hidden below Lake Malawi

by | 3.26.2015 at 7:28pm
The M/V Katundu in port in Nkhata Bay, Malawi.

Marine seismic studies like ours are routinely done in the oceans using scientific equipment and research vessels outfitted specially for these purposes. Collecting comparable data in a great lake in Africa requires creative repurposing of available vessels and adaption of scientific equipment.

Sustainability Management Student Develops Passion for Energy Analysis

by | 3.26.2015 at 3:14pm
MS in Sustainability Management student Laura Tajima

Master of Science in Sustainability Management student Laura Tajima came from an educational background, having experience managing cross-cultural education programs and developing curricula that engaged international scholars to speak about their personal experiences with global environmental issues. Currently, Laura works as an intern with the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, working with energy []

Student Profile: Carolina Rosero

by | 3.25.2015 at 2:32pm
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For Carolina Rosero, the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program will provide the tools she needs to bridge the gap between scientists and decision-makers. She hopes to combine the skills she gained through her job in Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment with her coursework at Columbia to make an impact in developing nations.

Science Journalists and the Data Revolution

by | 3.24.2015 at 2:15pm
SDG diagram

Journalist Cheryl Philips described using publicly accessible records of infrastructure assessments done by the Department of Transportation in Washington State to map the most vulnerable bridges and to tell the story behind a bridge that collapsed, killing several people. John Bohannon of Science Magazine used iPython coding to send a fake journal article to close to 200 open access journals in a sting operation to uncover the lack of peer review of a clearly flawed article.