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
alison miller cropped

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.

Eye on the Storm

by | 10.14.2014 at 10:47am
adam sobel ocean breeze

Atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel is author of the new book “Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future.” Sobel was one of the first researchers to explain to media and the public what might be brewing, before the storm hit. In the aftermath, he looked closely at the factors driving the storm’s unusual ferocity, and how these played against human weaknesses. The book offers a primer on what drives storm systems, and what we know (and don’t) about their relation to warming climate. Sobel also looks into future weather, urban infrastructure and the politics of global climate change. He recently discussed some of his insights.

Warming Streams Have Cascading Impacts in the Amazon

by | 10.13.2014 at 1:50pm
Aerial view of a changing landscape. Photo: Marcia Macedo

To protect a river, you must preserve its headwaters. Agricultural development is warming streams at the headwaters of the Xingu River, in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Rising temperatures have local impacts that could cascade into regional changes, highlighting the importance of responsible land use outside of protected areas.

What Do Wildfires Have to Do with Climate Change?

by | 10.13.2014 at 1:11pm
Deerfire_

“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
Zagros mountains folded_mountain CC

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 …