climate matters

News from the Columbia Climate Center on the science and impacts of climate change on society as well as environmental public policy analysis.

Blue chromis swim over pavona coral in French Polynesia. Photo: Michele Westmoorland.

Can We Save Coral Reefs?

We are losing coral reefs at an alarming rate and scientists believe that with business as usual they will likely be gone by the end of the century. However, better local management, coupled with new research on coral reef resilience and adaptability, may help buy some time for these indispensable ecosystems.

by |August 17, 2015

Corals and Climate Change

Corals are already facing a host of stressors—from pollution and overfishing to tourism and coastal development—but climate change puts corals at risk from rising temperatures and ocean acidification. The decline of coral reefs will have devastating consequences for the ocean, and for us.

A Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Margie Turrin.

Antarctica’s Retreating Ice

While the ice sheets on West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula are usually the ones to make the news in relation to climate change, recent studies have documented transformations that are taking place on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet as well. On the continent as a whole, large areas of ice have already melted and this trend shows no sign of slowing, meaning the implications for global sea level rise in this century could be more dramatic than earlier projections anticipated.

by |June 30, 2015
Mount Everest

Mt. Everest Not Safe from Climate Change

Climate change has many asking if the days of being able to summit the world’s highest peak are numbered.

by |June 12, 2015
Photo niOS

Scientists Speak Out on Climate: Is Anyone Listening?

In the light of recent varied efforts to focus public attention on the risks of climate change, we asked Earth Institute scientists what they want the public to understand about the issue and how they see their roles.

by |April 9, 2014
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FutureCoast: A Voicemail Vision of Climate-to-Be

Melting glaciers, collapsing sea ice, water supplies under stress, increases in storm frequency, impacts on food supply — are we reading a synopsis of the IPCC report or messages from the future delivered through a software glitch? People around the world are posing this question.

by |March 31, 2014
Alpine Oil Field, Alaska

Diminishing Ice Intensifies Spotlight on Arctic

As the arctic region loses ice in a changing climate, the economic and social tradeoffs are unclear. How will we balance economic, social and environmental functions? The Center on Global Energy Policy and the Consulate General of Canada in New York will examine these questions in a discussion on March 26: “Understanding the Arctic Resource Challenge: Canada and U.S. Perspectives.”

by |March 10, 2014
pfirman icetracker

Explore the Arctic Ocean With ‘IceTracker’

This week, we are launching a test of “IceTracker”—a tool that allows users to see the trajectories of Arctic sea ice forward or backward from any day between 1981 and 2012, as well as sea-ice speed, air temperature, water depth and the age of the sea ice.

by |December 10, 2013
Photo: Environmental Protection Agency, United States Government

Obama’s Climate Legacy Depends on EPA’s Gina McCarthy

Due to Congressional gridlock over greenhouse gas regulations, Obama will need the help of new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to pass crucial carbon emission standards.

by |August 8, 2013
The Puclaro Reservoir is at around 10% of it's peak in 2009, indicated by lines on the mountain in the background. The dam is in the distance. Without the reservoir, farmers, mines and other water users have lost one of their key buffers against drought. Francesco Fiondella

Managing Water in a Dry Land

Since 2010, the Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society along with UNESCO and their colleagues in Chile have been working with Elqui’s water authority to help them use seasonal forecasts as way to better allocate water and prepare for droughts.

by |June 17, 2013