Antarctica

Image: MIDAS Project

One of Largest Icebergs Ever Breaks off Antarctica

One of the largest icebergs ever – roughly the size of Delaware – just broke off of Antarctica, according to scientists who have been observing the area for years. While it’s not unusual for ice shelves to calve, many in the climate community fear that the breaking of Larsen C may be a signal of other events to come.

by |July 12, 2017
Researchers have found the remains of an ancient lakebed off the edge of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, on what is now the seafloor. Such lakes lying today under the ice sheet may speed the flow of glaciers. (M. Turrin/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

Meltwater Lakes Existed Under Antarctic Ice in Ancient Times

In recent years, scientists have discovered hundreds of lakes lying hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Now a team of researchers has found the remains of at least one sub-ice lake that existed when the ice was far more extensive, in sediments on the Antarctic continental shelf.

by |June 1, 2017
The "Ice Pod" instrument array deployed off the side of a military cargo plane over Antarctica. Photo: Winnie Chu/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Lamont Scientists Are Focus of NY Times Multimedia Series

This past winter, reporters from the New York Times went along for the ride with scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory as they flew their mission of discovery over Antarctica.

by |May 22, 2017
Scientists have discovered that seasonally flowing streams fringe much of Antarctica’s ice. Each red ‘X’ represents a separate drainage. Up to now, such features were thought to exist mainly on the far northerly Antarctic Peninsula (upper left). Their widespread presence signals that the ice may be more vulnerable to melting than previously thought. (Adapted from Kingslake et al., Nature 2017)

Water Is Streaming Across Antarctica

In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level.

by |April 19, 2017
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Kirsty Tinto: Mapping on and under Antarctica’s Ice

Kirsty Tinto flies aboard a specially equipped airplane in very cold places to study ice sheets and ice shelves. She’s an associate research scientist in the polar geophysics group at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

by |April 3, 2017
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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2017 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and other subjects with direct applications to the challenges facing humanity.

by |March 6, 2017
Coauthor Pierre Dutrieux with an instrument that detects fluctuations in ocean water, Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, Jan. 31, 2017. A similar instrument was used to show why fresh water from melting ice shelves settles far below the surface instead of rising. (Courtesy Pierre Dutrieux/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Scientists Say They Now Know Why Antarctic Meltwater Stays Below Ocean Surface

Up to now, it has been a mystery why much of the fresh water resulting from the melting of Antarctic ice shelves ends up in the depths instead of floating above saltier, denser ocean waters. Scientists working along one major ice shelf believe they have found the answer.

by |February 2, 2017
Scientists launch a Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS) from the R/V Gould off the West Antarctic Peninsula. When towed behind a research vessel, the system’s nets collect plankton while sensors provide real-time information about the physical properties of the seawater. Photo: Naomi Shelton/LDEO

Antarctic Scientists Honor Obama by Collecting Climate Data

Researchers studying the West Antarctic Peninsula marine ecosystem will recognize President Obama’s efforts to combat global warming by collecting climate data at an oceanographic station they named for the 44th president.

by |January 19, 2017
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Looking at Climate from All the Angles

The Earth Institute digs into the past, tracks the present and models the future of climate. We explore the broader issues surrounding climate change, seek ways to apply our knowledge to real solutions, and nurture collaboration among faculty and researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, law, public health, engineering, architecture and urban planning.

by |December 16, 2016
Photo: Fabio

The ‘Bird’ Has Flown!

The ‘bird’ has flown! Voices are raised in celebratory cheers from the southernmost continent to across the U.S. Our first ALAMO float is deployed! Now we can begin to answer some of the big questions on this mysterious ice/ocean interface.

by |December 2, 2016