Category: Earth Sciences

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.

Was Hurricane Sandy the 100-Year Event?

by | 5.20.2015 at 11:26am
Hurricane Sandy

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

Distilling Art from the Figures of Science

by | 5.18.2015 at 11:01am
monsoon graphic crop

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.

Study Reveals Microbes’ Hidden Role in Fertilizing Oceans

by | 5.14.2015 at 2:12pm
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)

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.

Bad Ozone Days in Western U.S. Linked to Pacific Weather

by | 5.12.2015 at 8:58am
La Nina illo jp2

A new study shows that ozone pollution in the western United States can be increased by La Niña, a natural weather cycle at the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The finding is the first to show that the La Nina-El Nino cycles directly affects pollution.

Smooth Sailing Back to Tasmania

by | 5.1.2015 at 10:12am
Antarctica, NBP1503 science team

After a surprisingly smooth crossing of the Southern Ocean, with favorable winds we arrived back in Hobart, Tasmania. The weather maps show that we just got ahead of another big storm system.

Taking a 4,000-Meter-Deep Profile of Antarctic Waters

by | 4.27.2015 at 10:47am
NB Palmer, West Antarctica, CTD system

In addition to understanding potential pathways for “warmer” circumpolar deep water to reach the ice shelf, we are also measuring what the structure and properties of the water column are and determining if there is already warmer water on or near the continental shelf that could already interact with the glaciers of East Antarctica today.

Lamont-Doherty to Manage U.S. Ocean Drilling Program

by | 4.27.2015 at 10:41am
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (left) listens as Carl Brenner, director of the new office,  explains it scope.

Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has signed a $35 million, five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. National Science Foundation to manage scientific support services for U.S. scientists studying the world’s ocean floors.

Goddard Institute to Aid Search for Life on Distant Worlds

by | 4.22.2015 at 10:40am
Courtesy NASA

Despite its name, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has in recent years concentrated on planet Earth–mainly, its widely used computer models used by scientists around the world to measure and predict the impact of greenhouse gases on climate. This week NASA announced that the Earth Institute-affiliated center will also play a leading role in a new initiative to search for life on other planets.