Category: General Earth Institute

M.S. Professor Looks to Past for Future Drought Mitigation

by | 10.17.2014 at 12:41pm
A dust storm engulfs Stratford, Texas in April of 1935. The drought of 1934 was likely made worse by dust storms triggered by the poor agricultural practices of the time.
Credit: NOAA/George E. Marsh Album

M.S. in Sustainability Management professor Ben Cook often tells his students that the past can provide critical lessons for how we manage sustainability challenges now and in the future. Thus, it is not surprising that Cook, whose research at the Earth Institute’s Lamont-Dougherty Earth Observatory focuses on drought, hydroclimate, and interactions between the land surface and climate system, recently found that the drought of 1934 was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may also be the reason for California’s current drought. Cook, along with fellow climate scientists Richard Seager and Jason Smerdon, focus on the 1934 drought in a study that was featured by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

MPA Program Announces Full Fellowship Opportunity- Apply Now!

by | 10.17.2014 at 12:30pm
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The Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Environmental Science and Policy is pleased to announce the creation of the Dean’s Environmental Science and Policy Fellowship – the first full tuition grant made in the program’s 12-year history. All prospective students who apply to the program by January 15, 2015 will be eligible for the Fellowship, valued at approximately $72,000.

Sun-gazing

by | 10.17.2014 at 11:00am
Dopplergrams from the NASA's space telescope IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) revealing detailed evidence of "twist" between the sun's surface and outer atmosphere. These phenomena may play a role in driving the temperature difference between the sun's surface (~6000 K) and the sun's outer atmosphere (millions of degrees). The reason for this enormous temperature gradient is not fully understood (a puzzle known as the "coronal heating problem"). Image: De Pontieu et al., Science 2014

By Galileo’s careful hand, sunspot details are exquisite,
Through eye of forehead, eye of mind beholds what body can not visit.
If only he could see the sights now rendered from Earth’s outer space,
Ultraviolet sunscapes – Oh, to see his raptured face!

MPA Alum Named to City and State’s 40 Under 40

by | 10.15.2014 at 1:38pm
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Alison Miller, a 2011 alumna of the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program, was recently named one of 2014 City & State’s top 40 under 40 Rising Stars. The media company, devoted to covering New York politics and policies, nominates 40 exceptional individuals each year who are leaving their mark on New York City.

What Do Wildfires Have to Do with Climate Change?

by | 10.13.2014 at 1:11pm
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“Climate change has been making the fire season in the United States longer and on average more intense,” said John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor. And, wildfires are not only intensified by climate change, they also exacerbate it.

Orogenous Zones: How Rock Flows

by | 10.13.2014 at 11:00am
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The architects of Columbia’s modern Northwest Tower, at the corner of Broadway and 120th Street, made good use of some beautiful stones. In their polished and swirling surfaces, they tell a story of the clash of continents and the processes by which mountains are made.

Chemical silence

by | 10.10.2014 at 9:26am
Photo: Elkhorn coral colony near Akumal, Mexico. John Bruno (Science).

What if you couldn’t smell smoke?
Or detect flirty signs from a bloke?
Imagine the cost
Of faculties lost,
Of signals that deafness would cloak …

Reclaiming Butte through New Uses for Reclaimed Areas

by | 10.9.2014 at 11:32am
Students taking a walk along the Missoula Gulch, one of the major waterways in Butte during heavy rainstorms. Missoula Creek was one of the places where gold was first discovered, leading to Butte's founding. The mining industry filled the creek with waste rock and mine tailings, which contain arsenic, lead, sulfur, and other toxins. Through Superfund cleanup investment, a 22" soil cap was laid over the tailings and seeded with grasses. The base of the gulch was reinforced with a concrete culvert to reduce erosion.

This weekend, students from Montana State University in Bozeman and Columbia University in New York gathered to generate ideas to use Butte’s reclaimed Superfund areas as more than vast swaths of grassland, but as places to foster community participation.

Seeing Red: The Great Oxygenation Event

by | 10.6.2014 at 11:00am
David Walker leads students and colleagues on a geology tour of Columbia University.

In Part 4 of the Columbia Geology Tour, David Walker of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory explores the source of the red sandstone of Russell Hall at the Columbia Teachers College on 120th Street.

Lamont-Doherty Director Awarded National Medal of Science

by | 10.3.2014 at 1:47pm
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Sean Solomon, director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and a geophysicist who has spent much of his career studying Earth’s neighboring planets as well as the Earth itself, will receive the National Medal of Science.