Glacial Earthquakes May Help Forecast Sea-Level Rise

Glacial earthquakes are produced as massive ice chunks fall off the fronts of advancing glaciers into the ocean. A new study of the quakes’ mechanics may give scientists a way to measure ice loss remotely and refine predictions of sea-level rise.

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rice planting Faripur Bangladesh DF 2015 crop

Using Social Media for Food Security: Talk to Us

The 2nd International Conference on Global Food Security will feature a social media-savvy Junior Researcher Task Force, responsible for capturing and distributing via Twitter and blog posts the key insights and conversation topics that evolve during the conference. Read on to apply.

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The Race for Better Batteries

The worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way, but to integrate all this variable power into the grid, battery storage is key. Researchers around the world are working on developing better and cheaper batteries.

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Preparing for Disasters, with the Focus on Children

A new initiative directed by the Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia will focus on protecting children from all types of disasters, starting with a pilot program in two communities in New York and Arkansas.

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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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Paleontologists Are Unzipping Our Genes

by | 7.6.2015 at 12:29pm
Scientists studying the 12,000 year old remains of a teenaged girl in a submerged cave in the Yucatan. Photo: Paul Nicklen/National Geographic

Like an immutable passport, birth certificate and social security number, our DNA is a marker of who we are and where we’ve come from. Recently, a spate of studies by paleontologists have used genomics to delve into the lives of ancient humans. These studies have capitalized on futuristic next generation techniques to reveal the genealogy, []

In China, Establishing Indicators for Global Sustainable Development

by | 7.2.2015 at 10:39am

Last weekend, Earth Institute executive director Steven Cohen and post-doctoral research scholar Dong Guo participated in the Fourth Global Think Tank Summit in Beijing, hosted by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE). CCIEE, the preeminent think tank in China headed by the former vice premier, hosted hundreds of politicians, scholars, business leaders, and experts from nearly 30 countries at the summit.

Vetlesen Science Prize Celebrated at Columbia Gala

by | 6.30.2015 at 2:23pm
The Vetlessen Prize 6-24-15

Stephen Sparks, one of the world’s foremost experts on volcanoes, received the Vetlesen Prize for his groundbreaking scientific work at a ceremony held June 24 at Columbia University. Two-hundred-fifty people attended the formal gathering in the Low Library Rotunda.

The Pope’s Challenge on Climate Change

by | 6.30.2015 at 1:37pm
Photo: Jason Farrar

Pope Francis’s broad-ranging encyclical warns that we are destroying our common home and face an immense and urgent challenge to protect it. But it goes far beyond just the subject of climate change, calling for a holistic and sustainable future.

Antarctica’s Retreating Ice

by | 6.30.2015 at 11:16am
A Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Margie Turrin.

While the ice sheets on West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula are usually the ones to make the news in relation to climate change, recent studies have documented transformations that are taking place on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet as well. On the continent as a whole, large areas of ice have already melted and this trend shows no sign of slowing, meaning the implications for global sea level rise in this century could be more dramatic than earlier projections anticipated.

The Otherworldly and Elusive Life Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

by | 6.29.2015 at 10:30am
Antarctica from below. A Nature Review article highlights novel biodiversity found below the surface of the ice. Photo: NASA

While renowned for the penguins, Antarctica is perhaps equally well known for what it doesn’t have: basically, anything else. But scientist Steven Chown says the view that the icy continent lacks life is “simply not true.”

Finding Pluto

by | 6.26.2015 at 11:00am
This summer, a space probe that has been traveling for 9 years will finally reach Pluto. Image: JHUAPL/SwRI

Far away, a beloved dot
Arcs through cold and shrouded spaces,
Not lonely, as we had once thought,
But circled by more rocky faces: