Water Archives - State of the Planet

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Columbia Water Center Year in Review

The Columbia Water Center (CWC) is a leader in applying the science of water and climate to solve real world problems. With current events in mind, we worked with our partners to make progress on several key projects.

by |December 29, 2017

In Biblical Land, Searching for Droughts Past and Future

Human-influenced climate warming has already reduced rainfall and increased evaporation in the Mideast, worsening water shortages. Up to now, climate scientists had projected that rainfall could decline another 20 percent by 2100. But the Dead Sea cores suggest that things could become much worse, much faster.

by |October 31, 2017

Photo Essay: The Dead Sea, Living Waters and Megadrought

Thousands of years before Biblical times, during a period when temperatures were unusually high, the lands around the Dead Sea now occupied by Israel, Jordan and surrounding nations suffered megadroughts far worse than any recorded by humans. Warming climate now threatens to return such conditions to this already hard-pressed region.

by |October 31, 2017

New York’s Waterways Are Swimming in Plastic Microbeads

Plastic microbeads, common in soap, toothpaste and other consumer products, are flooding waters. A team from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is doing the first large-scale assessment of their impact on New York’s waterways.

by |August 16, 2017
Gwenn Hennon demonstrates experiment aboard the RV Kilo Moana

Eavesdropping on the Ocean’s Mighty Microorganisms

Now, nearing the end of our three-week cruise of the North Pacific off Hawaii, we are working to understand how these tiny bacteria connect and communicate with one another.

by |July 13, 2017

Challenges for Governments Seeking to Get Most Out of Natural Resources

On March 2, 2017, Tanzania banned all exports of unprocessed gold and copper concentrates. The measure was taken in order to force companies to set up in-country processing of raw materials, with hopes of fostering the development of a smelter in the country.

by |June 29, 2017

Rural America’s Drinking Water Crisis: No Help From Trump Budget

O’Brien is just one of thousands of small communities in the United States that struggle to find the resources to ensure that the water coming out of the tap is safe to drink. The budget proposal by the Trump administration will only make matters worse.

by |June 13, 2017

Cleaning Up New York City’s Waters and Beyond: Q&A with Kartik Chandran

Kartik Chandran, an environmental engineer at Columbia, will discuss some of his urban wastewater treatment projects at a panel discussion Friday following the screening of a new film about Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay.

by |June 7, 2017

How Will Climate Change Impact Water Resources?

Richard Seager and Park Williams, climate scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, discuss how water will be affected by warmer temperatures, and how their research increases understanding of these issues.

by |June 6, 2017

America’s Dam Crisis: Was Oroville Just a Drop in the Bucket?

Columbia Water Center experts argue that dam infrastructure issues must be connected to a broader conversation about America’s water resources.

by |May 31, 2017