In Southern California, a strong El Niño usually signals rain. Given that California is now in the throes of a severe drought, it seems like that should be a good thing, even if it comes with risk of floods. But the reality of climate is more complex and counter-intuitive than it first appears.
Researchers from eight universities, including Columbia University, are using tree ring and glacier analysis to reconstruct the climate history of the Missouri River Basin in order to give policymakers and water managers better decision-making tools to manage the river.
New research from the Columbia Water Center suggests that many more places in the United States are at risk of drought-induced water stress than is commonly thought, including dense metropolitan regions such as New York City and Washington, D.C.
“Will it take another Dustbowl for Americans to start paying attention to water issues?” asked Water Center Director Upmanu Lall. Or will it be the chance to create the “iPhone technology” of water? Whether the impetus is crisis or opportunity, according to Lall, the time to act is now.
Global companies with long supply chains could do a much better job of managing climate disaster risk, according to a recently published study from the Columbia Water Center.
Five hundred utilities in the U.S. provide drinking water with unsafe levels of arsenic, the Environmental Protection Agency says. But how many people are getting too much arsenic in their water is much less clear, according to a study conducted in part by the Columbia Water Center.
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.
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.
Earth Institute students evaluated Kentucky’s physical, economic and cultural resources to identify ways to move the economy toward a more sustainable future—and to make recommendations for how the state’s community and technical college system could help.
Students from the Earth Institute’s Sustainability Management and Environmental Science and Policy master’s programs once again demonstrated the broad range of applications for interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable development in their Spring 2014 team capstone projects. The projects provided analysis and recommendations to a range of clients on diverse, real-world sustainability challenges.