El Niño: The Basics

Forecasts suggest we’re looking ahead to an El Niño event this year—a warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean around the equator that can affect weather patterns around the globe. But what exactly is an El Niño event, how strong do forecasters think it’s likely to be, and just how will it affect our weather?

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For a Wind-Powered City, Heat Pumps Are Key

Replacing conventional building boilers with electric heat pumps in New York City buildings could substantially increase the viability of renewable energy use in the city, according to a recent study from researchers from the Earth Institute’s Sustainable Engineering Lab.

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The Amazon rainforest. Photo: CIFOR

Making Progress on Deforestation

In 2005, Brazil was losing more forest each year than any other country. Today, Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 70 percent. Seventeen countries across four continents have also shown progress in reducing tropical deforestation. But there is still a long way to go.

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Study: Reforming the Port Authority and the MTA

Earth Institute students took a hard look into financial and administrative problems plaguing the MTA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and came up with suggestions for more sustainable financing and more efficient operations.

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Aerial view of the Jonah natural gas field in Wyoming. Photo: Peter Aengst

The Fracking Facts

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural gas, has become a hot button issue across the U.S. But let’s try to look objectively at its benefits and risks.

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When North Itself Wanders

by | 7.25.2014 at 9:00am
Earth's magnetic field lines are almost vertical near the poles. The dancing lights of the aurora borealis are the result of interactions Earth's magnetic field, atmosphere, and energetic particles from the sun. Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

    I love thinking about why my compass points north. The deep, molten-metal motions, rising And falling … gargantuan currents of iron Conceiving vast magnetic fields, revealed In my hand, by a tiny, quivering red needle. Even more deliciously disturbing: The field has been changing; the north pole is wan-der-ing Towards Siberia, of all [...]

New Indian Government Takes Promising Steps on Agiculture, Water and Climate

by | 7.23.2014 at 9:43am
Cabinet Secretariat of India. Image Source: Wikipedia.

This is a guest post by Romit Sen and Kamal Vatta, Centers for International Projects Trust (CIPT). Riding high on a populist mandate but facing growing concerns of a slowdown in the economy and a rising fiscal deficit, last week Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the new Indian government’s first annual budget, attempting a delicate [...]

Pedal Power: The Earth Institute and Climate Ride

by | 7.22.2014 at 10:07am

Once again this year the Earth Institute is a beneficiary of Climate Ride, the national bike ride to raise charitable donations for and awareness about sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes. Participants can select the Earth Institute as a grant recipient when riding in any 2014 Climate Ride event, and anyone can support one or [...]

View From an Iceberg

by | 7.21.2014 at 12:13pm | 1 Comment

The science goal for today is to complete 8 CTD casts. We load into our vessel, a Poca 500GR. We have discussed a 6 to 8 hour window of boat time with Gabriel the captain and Magnus our navigator and stocked up on 40 liters of benzene.

A meeting for the Kullorsuaq Community

by | 7.19.2014 at 8:58pm

It seems that many of the local fishermen have gone to hunt Narwal further north but there are several good prospects for boats that Søren will scout further as several of the fishermen are sleeping as the fishing is better right now at night. With 24 hours of daylight day or night fishing doesn’t really seem to matter.

MPA Alum Serves as EDF Climate Fellow

by | 7.18.2014 at 3:25pm

MPA in Environmental Science and Policy alum, Olin Berger (’14) is putting his degree to use this summer as a member of the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps in Chicago, Illinois. Olin is working to analyze energy efficiency projects for high rise office buildings in downtown Chicago.

10 reasons why policy makers should take direct air capture seriously

by | 7.18.2014 at 1:02pm
Klaus Lackner's "artificial tree"

Despite the fact that the impacts of manmade climate change are already being felt and that failure to mitigate these effects by lessening fossil fuel CO2 emissions could result in dire consequences, policies enacted to reduce these emissions have been grossly insufficient. While there is no one silver bullet to “solve” climate change, many technologically [...]