Earth Sciences

yellowstone caldera in blue, green, and yellow

What Is a Supervolcano, and Should You Really Be Worried About the One at Yellowstone?

Despite recent media reports, there’s no imminent threat, says Columbia geologist Einat Lev.

by |October 16, 2017
core repository at lamont-doherty

Ancient Humans Left Africa to Escape Drying Climate, Says Study

Ancient humans migrated out of Africa to escape a drying climate, says a new study—a finding that contradicts previous suggestions that ancient people were able to leave because a then-wet climate allowed them to cross the generally arid Horn of Africa and Middle East.

by |October 5, 2017
A researcher climbs a deposit left by massive volcanism in what is now Siberia 252 million years ago. The eruptions may have led to catastrophic environmental changes, says a new study. (Courtesy Linda Elkins-Tanton)

Study Bolsters Volcanic Theory of Ancient Extinction

A team of scientists has found new evidence to bolster the idea that the Permian Extinction, which occurred 252 million years ago, was caused by massive volcanic eruptions in what is now Siberia.

by |October 4, 2017
In the chilly 24-hour daylight of a spring night, Lamont-Doherty climatologist William D’Andrea surveys Borgpollen, an inland bay on the island of Vestvagoya. Connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a series of passages, the bay once was home to Vikings and their seagoing ships. Some of the islands’ best crop and grazing land is in surrounding hills and valleys, but it was often marginal, depending on weather.

Photo Essay: Climate Change, Sea Level and the Vikings

A thousand years ago, powerful Viking chieftans flourished in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, above the Arctic Circle. In an environment frequently hovering on the edge of survivability, small shifts in climate or sea level could mean life or death. People had to constantly adapt, making their living from the land and the sea as best they could.

by |September 26, 2017
Out on the water, D’Andrea (right) and William & Mary student Moussa Dia assemble a mechanism that they will use to take a core of the bottom.

What the Vikings Can Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

The rise of the Vikings was not a sudden event, but part of a long continuum of human development in the harsh conditions of northern Scandinavia. How did the Vikings make a living over the long term, and what might have influenced their brief florescence? Today, their experiences may provide a kind of object lesson on how changing climate can affect civilizations.

by |September 26, 2017
ocean currents near antarctica

‘Pangeo’ Project Will Improve Access to Climate Data

The better climate models become, the harder it is to use them. One team of researchers is working to fix that.

by |September 13, 2017
Team members taking a short ice core to study properties of sediment coming from the East Antarctic ice sheet. (Photo: Mike Kaplan)

East Antarctic Ice Sheet Should Remain Stable Even if the West Melts

A new look inside the ice sheet validates predictions that it probably won’t melt as quickly as its neighbor—good news, since East Antarctica contains enough water to raise sea levels by 200 feet.

by |August 18, 2017
ross ice shelf

Antarctic Ice-Mapping Project Will Fly for the Last Time in October

With its mission complete, the Rosetta-Ice Project will give scientists an unprecedented look at the Ross Ice Shelf and how it’s changing with the climate.

by |August 18, 2017
shelter

How Will Climate Change Impact Shelter?

In this video, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory researchers Robin Bell, Radley Horton, and Adam Sobel explain their research and how it can help improve adaptation practices and make our homes, livelihoods, and the systems we rely on more resilient to extreme weather and sea level rise.

by |August 14, 2017
frozen-nyc-anthony-quintano-cc-by-20-690x454

Analyzing Winter Storm Risk and Resilience in a Changing Climate

A new study analyzing storm intensity and impacts in the New York metro area aims to inform how communities can better prepare for winter storms and enhance resiliency as the effects of climate change exacerbate hazards.

by |August 8, 2017