Arsenic in Bangladesh resides in the sediments washed down from the Himalayas by rivers like the Brahmaputra and Ganges over many thousands of years. Water pumped up for irrigation is affecting rice crops. Photo: David Funkhouser
Geochemist James Ross of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory installs an air-quality monitor in a home neighboring a hydraulic-fracturing drill pad. CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW
Photovoltaic array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada

Battling ‘the Largest Mass Poisoning in History’

Photo: Be Girl

Educated Girls Uncover Unmet Design Needs

Flip through any fashionable design annual, and you’ll read of something called “Human Centered Design.” The practice of HCD places emphasis on user testing, interviews, field research and high-touch iterations to solve problems. As contemporary design, and especially sustainable design, increasingly comes to rely on HCD-inspired techniques, greater attention is being paid to social features.

by |July 28, 2015
Ming paper fig 1 crop

What the World Thinks of Climate Change

We all know that climate change can generate great debate in the United States. But what about the rest of the world?

by |July 27, 2015
GIS

Undergraduates Will Develop Green Geodatabase for University

Giovani Graziosi is a Lecturer in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology An undergraduate course in the Sustainable Development Program recently received a Course Support grant from the Earth Institute to conduct a special fieldwork project to develop the Columbia University Green Geodatabase (CUGG).   The grant provides support to acquire some of the equipment and a… read more

by |July 24, 2015
Iceberg off Antarctica. Photo: NOAA

A Dire Warning on Rapid Climate Change

Sea level rise from melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland threaten catastrophe for coastal cities within decades unless strong measures are taken to reduce CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels, argues climate scientist James Hansen. Hansen’s warnings about the dangers of climate change are not new, but a new paper written by… read more

by |July 24, 2015
A cluster of towering cumulus clouds off the coast of El Salvador. The photograph was taken on May 31, 2002, from the International Space Station. Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center, at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov [Photo ID ISS004-E-12656]

Spontaneous Clumping of Tropical Clouds

If you take a look at nearly any satellite image of clouds in the tropics, you’ll notice that the clouds tend to be organized into clusters. One specific type of cloud organization called “self-aggregation.” Self-aggregation is the tendency of tropical clouds to spontaneously clump together, solely due to interactions between the clouds and the surrounding environment.

by |July 23, 2015