Features Archive - Page 4
Global warming is abruptly redrawing parts of Antarctica’s coastline, as ice shelves collapse into the sea. Join oceanographers Bruce Huber and Debra Tillinger of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and an interdisciplinary cast of scientists with the LARISSA project as they sail on the ice-breaking research ship Nathaniel B. Palmer to investigate what is happening on land, sea and ice.
The ice sheet that drains into West Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea is about the size of Texas and two miles thick. Home to two of Antarctica’s five biggest glaciers–Pine Island and Thwaites–this region holds enough ice to raise global sea level 1.2 meters. Understanding how the ice changed from the last ice age to today will help us predict future sea level rise. Join Lamont-Doherty marine geologist Frank Nitsche on his voyage aboard the Swedish ice-breaking ship, the Oden.
In December of 2009, nearly a dozen earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater rattled the southeast African nation of Malawi, killing four, injuring hundreds, and making thousands homeless. The region had been calm for decades, so the earthquakes caught everyone by surprise. But aftershocks continue, and more quakes can be expected. Seismologists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory traveled to Malawi to help assess the risk. Read about their journey here.
In December 2009, world leaders convened at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Accord, presented at the conclusion, acknowledged the threat of global warming, but many felt the nonbinding agreement would do little to slow the pace of climate change. In this series of essays and interviews, Earth Institute scientists and representatives offer their insights on the conference and its legacy.
The East Pacific Rise is part of the world’s mid-ocean ridge system, where new crust is formed as earth’s tectonic plates spread apart. This produces volcanic eruptions and earthquakes; it also produces circulation of ocean water into the deep crust and back out through high-temperature hydrothermal vents, which are home to exotic life forms that may hold secrets about the origins of life on this planet, and possibly others. Our mission on this cruise was to learn more about how these intriguing environments work.
Climate change has weakened the ice sheets of western Antarctica. In spring 2010, scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory flew over the region on a NASA-led mission called “Ice Bridge” to better understand what’s happening on and below the ice. Their findings may help predict future sea level rise.