Hurricane Sandy

Was Hurricane Sandy the 100-Year Event?

Recent research suggests that Sandy may have been much more likely than previously believed.

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Distilling Art from the Figures of Science

Any researcher can attest to the fact that a scientific figure is worth more than a thousand words. Rarely do we take a step back to consider the inherent artistry in the figures created to convey the science.

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In order to understand how phosphorus moves through the oceans, researchers did shipboard experiments with Trichodesmium, a type of bacteria that forms visible colonies. The test tube is about the diameter of a U.S. quarter. (Carly Buchwald, WHOI)

Study Reveals Microbes’ Hidden Role in Fertilizing Oceans

Surprisingly little has been known about how phosphorous, an essential nutrient, cycles through the oceans. A new study has broken through some of this mystery, by showing the hidden role that the oceans’ tiniest creatures play.

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Underground, carbon dioxide disperses through volcanic basalt, and solidifies into a substance similar to limestone. A geologist shows off a core taken from the injection zone.

In a Melting Iceland, Drilling Deep to Stem Climate Change

Iceland is pioneering a new technology to deal with climate change. Its Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, the world’s largest, hosts arguably the world’s most advanced program to capture and lock away globe-warming carbon dioxide.

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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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STARS Sustainability Summit: Ramping up Sustainability at Columbia

by | 5.28.2015 at 4:42pm
presentation

Columbia University received a gold star rating as part of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. In May 2015, the Office of Environmental Stewardship convened a meeting of the first ever Sustainability Summit, to take action on sustainability planning at Columbia University and build a roadmap for the next three years as the University prepares for the next STARS submission.

Forecast Sees a Stronger El Niño

by | 5.28.2015 at 10:58am
elnino barnston video snip

El Niño is back, and it looks like it will be getting stronger. While it’s difficult to predict the impact precisely, El Niño can alter patterns of drought and rainfall around the world.

The Road to Make It Work

by | 5.27.2015 at 2:10pm
Negotiations_Group

Students throughout Columbia University were notified of a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend a student simulation in anticipation of the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Paris. Two words jumped out at me immediately: climate and Paris.

H. James Simpson; Tracked Pollutants in the Hudson and Far Beyond

by | 5.26.2015 at 2:32pm
Simpson-H-James crop

H. James Simpson, a geochemist who pioneered important studies of water pollutants in the Hudson River and abroad, died May 10. He had been affiliated with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for 50 years. The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said his family; he was 72.

World’s Oldest Unused Stone Tools Found (So They Say)

by | 5.26.2015 at 11:28am
Unattributed picture of the apparent find, from the Onion.

Last week, it was announced that scientists had found the world’s oldest stone tools, in Kenya, dated at 3.3 million years. The precise dating of the tools was made possible by Chris Lepre and Dennis Kent of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who used periodic reversals in earth’s magnetic field to nail the timing. Now, in a related study, a separate team says they have discovered the world’s oldest stone tools that were never used–an apparent revelation about early human leisure time.

Meet the Students Studying Trans-Boundary Sustainability Issues in the Middle East

by | 5.20.2015 at 4:54pm
ISRAELview of Jerusalem

This summer, nine Columbia University students and nine students from Tel Aviv University will take part in a fieldwork course focused on environmental sustainability in the Middle East.

Global Warming’s ‘Missing’ Heat: It May Be in the Indian Ocean

by | 5.20.2015 at 12:00pm
Increases in westward-blowing winds over the Pacific Ocean are thought to be pushing great masses of water--and heat--through the Indonesian straits, into the Indian Ocean.

Since the late 1990s, global warming has stabilized, even as greenhouse gases have risen. That defies simple models that say the temperature should keep going up. Many scientists think much of the heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases is being soaked up and stored by the oceans–at least for now. A team of oceanographers now says they know where it went.