Arctic

A jellyfish passes directly in front of the camera.

Under the Sea Ice, Behold the Ancient Arctic Jellyfish

A video reveals mature jellyfish under the Arctic sea ice, where they aren’t supposed to be.

by |October 23, 2017
In the chilly 24-hour daylight of a spring night, Lamont-Doherty climatologist William D’Andrea surveys Borgpollen, an inland bay on the island of Vestvagoya. Connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a series of passages, the bay once was home to Vikings and their seagoing ships. Some of the islands’ best crop and grazing land is in surrounding hills and valleys, but it was often marginal, depending on weather.

Photo Essay: Climate Change, Sea Level and the Vikings

A thousand years ago, powerful Viking chieftans flourished in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, above the Arctic Circle. In an environment frequently hovering on the edge of survivability, small shifts in climate or sea level could mean life or death. People had to constantly adapt, making their living from the land and the sea as best they could.

by |September 26, 2017
Out on the water, D’Andrea (right) and William & Mary student Moussa Dia assemble a mechanism that they will use to take a core of the bottom.

What the Vikings Can Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

The rise of the Vikings was not a sudden event, but part of a long continuum of human development in the harsh conditions of northern Scandinavia. How did the Vikings make a living over the long term, and what might have influenced their brief florescence? Today, their experiences may provide a kind of object lesson on how changing climate can affect civilizations.

by |September 26, 2017
Satellite photo of meltwater from Greenland ice sheet. (NASA)

Fueled by Melting Glaciers, Algae Bloom Off Greenland

Iron particles catching a ride on glacial meltwater washed out to sea are likely fueling a recently discovered summer algal bloom off the southern coast of Greenland, according to a new study. Microalgae, also known as phytoplankton, are plant-like marine microorganisms that form the base of the food web in many parts of the ocean…. read more

by |July 5, 2017
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As Climate Stirs Arctic Sea Ice Faster, Pollution Tags Along

A warming climate is not just melting the Arctic’s sea ice; it is stirring the remaining ice faster, increasing the odds that ice-rafted pollution will foul a neighboring country’s waters, says a new study.

by |June 27, 2017
Vikings were here, but thousands of years earlier Stone Age people were, too. D'Andrea's team hikes down to core a small pond next to the remnants of these people's sea-side dwellings.

Coring Arctic Lakes to Study Vikings

Billy D’Andrea, a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory paleoclimatologist and Center for Climate and Life Fellow, is investigating the relationship between environmental change and characteristics of early settlements in Norway’s Lofoten Islands.

by |May 22, 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
Greenland's ice can "darken" in ways we can see and ways we can't. Photo: Marco Tedesco

State of the Arctic: Longer Melting Seasons, Thinning Sea Ice

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and scientists are seeing the effects across ice and ecosystems. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s Marco Tedesco describes the changes underway.

by |December 13, 2016
When frozen land thaws, the loss of ice in the soil creates landscapes that can be easily eroded. “This study suggests that similar processes occurred during past warming events with important implications for the land-to-ocean permafrost carbon fluxes,” says lead author Tommaso Tesi. Illustration: Tesi, et al. 2016

When Permafrost Melts, What Happens to All That Stored Carbon?

A new study documents evidence of a massive release of carbon from Siberian permafrost as temperatures rose at the end of the last ice age.

by |December 2, 2016
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Photo Essay: Where the Trees Meet the Tundra

Due to warming climate and increasing human exploitation, far northern forests and the tundra beyond are undergoing rapid changes. In northern Alaska, scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions are studying the responses of trees at the very edge of their range.

by |November 16, 2016