Twice humans have witnessed the wasting of snow and ice from Peru’s tallest volcano, Nevado Coropuna—In the waning of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago, and today, as industrial carbon dioxide in the air raises temperatures again. As in the past, Coropuna’s retreating glaciers figure prominently in the lives of people below. In an ongoing project, scientists at Columba University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and partner institutions are reconstructing the ebb and flow of ice on Coropuna since the last ice age to understand how the tropics influence the global climate system, how ice-loss and a warmer climate will impact farming in the region, and what adaptation measures might help people survive in this hotter, drier world.
Lamont-Doherty scientist Hugh Ducklow is featured in a documentary due out next summer on climate change and the West Antarctic Peninsula. Catch a preview in this newly-released trailer.
The scientific publisher Elsevier and a data archiving facility at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are offering $5,000 and a trophy to the person with the best example of how data-preservation techniques are being used to advance new discoveries in the earth sciences.
A video profile of the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository—the world’s largest collection of deep sea sediments, some as old as 100 million years. The 19,000 cores, largely collected by Lamont’s own research vessels, are a central resource for the global scientific community, which uses them for studies of earth’s past and current environment, especially in regard to climate change.
A new method for detecting big landslides is allowing scientists to understand the dynamics of these elusive events almost instantly, without traipsing to remote mountains or scrambling up rugged peaks months, or even years, later. In a recent study in the journal Science, Göran Ekström and Colin Stark, geophysicists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, have catalogued the 29 largest landslides since 1980 using satellite images and recordings from a global network of seismic instruments. A third of the avalanches are documented now for the first time.
As earth’s climate warms, scientists have tried to understand why the poles are heating up two to three times faster than the rest of the planet. Airborne dust, it turns out, may play a key role.
Some 40 million people depend on the Colorado River Basin for water but warmer weather from rising greenhouse gas levels and a growing population may signal water shortages ahead.
In the spectacular collapse of ice sheets as the last ice age ended about 18,000 years ago scientists hope to find clues for what regions may grow drier from human caused global warming. In a talk Thursday at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting, Aaron Putnam, a postdoctoral scholar at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, painted a picture of earth’s dramatic transformation as seen in climate records extracted from ancient cave formations, ice cores, lake shorelines and glacial moraines.
Glaciers advance in colder temperatures, but sometimes a big rock avalanche can also make a glacier grow, new research results presented at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting suggests.
Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, may hold at least 100 billion tons of ice in permanently shaded craters near its north pole, NASA scientists announced Thursday. The findings come as NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft nears its second year of orbit around Mercury. MESSENGER’s lead investigator, Sean Solomon, is director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.