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.
During Hurricane Sandy the seas rose a record 14-feet in lower Manhattan. Water flooded city streets, subways, tunnels and even sewage treatment plants. It is unclear how much sewage may have been released as plants lost power or were forced to divert untreated wastewater into the Hudson River. Four days after Sandy, the environmental group [...]
For much of the last decade, Klaus Jacob warned of New York’s vulnerability to severe flooding in a major storm. Four days after the storm that crippled New York and New Jersey and swamped his own home along the Hudson River, Jacob reflected on Sandy’s lessons and what comes next.
“The Observatory has remained a powerhouse in Earth science research and a very special place. The scientists here are true explorers—creative and fiercely independent.”
A city effort to clean-up polluted Newtown Creek by aerating the water to boost oxygen levels is having an unintended effect: it is releasing sewage bacteria and other particles into the air above the site, researchers say in a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The researchers found bacteria types in the air consistent with the sewage and oil pollution in the creek. The study is one of the first to establish a link between water pollution and air-quality, raising new questions about the health risks posed by dirty water.