The most important lessons drawn from geology are that the earth’s climate can change radically, and rapidly. We can’t say precisely at what CO2 level we’re in danger of melting Antarctica, but that threshold could be reached in 150-300 years, if CO2 levels keep rising at the current rate.
NASA has named Gavin A. Schmidt to head its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), an affiliate of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
Currently serving as deputy director, Schmidt takes over from long-time director James E. Hansen, who retired last year to open a separate climate science and advocacy center at the Earth Institute.
Scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are trying to determine how high sea levels may rise in the future by studying the shorelines of the past. Led by a team of researchers including Lamont climate scientist and marine geologist Maureen Raymo, the goal of Pliomax is to increase the accuracy of global sea level estimates for the Pliocene era, which occurred about 3 million years ago.
“The high-resolution records that we’re getting and the high-resolution models we’re able to make now are sort of moving the questions a little bit closer into human, understandable time frames.”
Climate scientist Radley Horton, one of the lead authors of the National Climate Assessment report released this week, will answer your questions in an “ask me anything” session on Redditt on Friday starting at 11 a.m.
“Right now, we’re living in a world of a Pliocene atmosphere,” scientist Maureen Raymo of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory tells the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. “But the whole rest of the climate system — the oceans are trying to catch-up, the ice sheets are waning, and everything is trying to catch up to this Pliocene atmosphere.”
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.
People have tried to cast climate change as an environmental issue, a social justice issue and a development issue. Madeleine Thomson of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society argues climate change can be understood much better if we consider it an issue of global public health.
Earth Institute field researchers study the planet on every continent and ocean. Projects are aimed at understanding the fundamental dynamics of climate, geology, ecology, human history and more. Here is a partial list of upcoming expeditions.