David Funkhouser

I'm a writer and content manager for the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Before coming to Columbia, I spent 35 years writing, editing and managing at various newspapers around New England, most recently serving as environmental reporter for The Hartford Courant.

Recent Posts

Putnam studies glaciers around the world, part of an effort to understand past climate change and the potential impacts of warming today.

In High Sierras, Remnants of Ice Age Tell a Tale of Future Climate

Aaron Putnam’s research in the California Sierras is part of an effort to study glaciers around the world—in Europe’s Alps, the Himalayas, Mongolia, Patagonia, New Zealand. He’s working on an important piece of the worldwide climate puzzle that can help us understand what’s ahead in a warming world.

by |February 14, 2017
Horses near Lake Dali, in Inner Monglia. Photo: Yonaton Goldsmith

Shifting Monsoon Altered Early Cultures in China, Study Says

The annual summer monsoon that drops rain onto East Asia has shifted dramatically, at times moving northward by as much as 400 km and doubling rainfall in that northern reach. The monsoon’s changes over the past 10,000 years likely altered the course of early human cultures in China, say the authors of a new study.

by |February 6, 2017
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Project Aims to Map World’s Oceans by 2030

More than 85 percent of the ocean floor remains unmapped, leaving us in the dark about much of the earth’s topography. A global, non-profit effort will try to remedy that, and influence everything from climate research and weather prediction to mineral resource exploration and fisheries.

by |February 2, 2017
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‘Tail Risk’: A Chat with Scientist Radley Horton

We’re talking to experts around the Earth Institute what they’re working on, what they would like people to know about it, and what inspired them to go into their field.

by |January 24, 2017
GIS temp mean 2016 Capture

2016 Sets Another Record for Warmth

The news doesn’t come as a surprise to scientists and others who’ve been watching, but marks a milestone nonetheless: 2016 was the warmest year on record, dating back to the start of modern record keeping in 1880.

by |January 18, 2017
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Looking at Climate from All the Angles

The Earth Institute digs into the past, tracks the present and models the future of climate. We explore the broader issues surrounding climate change, seek ways to apply our knowledge to real solutions, and nurture collaboration among faculty and researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, law, public health, engineering, architecture and urban planning.

by |December 16, 2016
Richard Plunz will talk about the newly revised edition of his "History of Housing in New York City" Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of the City of New York. For details and to register, visit the museum’s website.

Housing in New York City: Updating the History

“Beyond doubt the large question facing New York housing production today has to do with a market that can not provide for the half of our households that are low income.”

by |October 17, 2016
Looking across the Ed Koch (Queensborough) Bridge, June 6, 2011. Photo: Chris Goldberg / Creative Commons

Study Warns of Surge in Heat-Related Deaths in New York City

A new study projects that as many as 3,331 people a year could be dying from the heat during New York City summers by 2080 as a result of the warming climate. That compares to 638 heat-related deaths on average between 2000 and 2006.

by |June 29, 2016
arsenic video snip

Get the Facts: Arsenic in New Jersey Well Water

A new initiative aims to help homeowners in New Jersey cope with arsenic contamination in private wells—a problem that has only come to light in recent years, and about which many homeowners are still unaware.

by |June 16, 2016
From the bridge of the R/V/ Falkor, looking out at Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai. Photo: Colleen Peters

From Top to Bottom: Scientists Map a New Island Volcano

One of the earth’s newest islands exploded into view from the bottom of the southwest Pacific Ocean in January 2015, and scientists sailing around the volcano this spring have created a detailed map of its topography.

by |May 4, 2016