Climate Science

Introducing the Sustainability Science Program

The Earth Institute’s Newest Sustainability Program Begins in January 2018

Sustainability Science graduates will have the scientific know-how to help organizations improve their environmental performance.

by |August 31, 2017
A new study projects the spread of the destructive southern pine beetle through much of the northern United States and southern Canada. Darker colors here represent infestations in successively later decades. (Lesk et al., 2017)

Climate May Quickly Drive Forest-Eating Beetles North, Says Study

Over the next few decades, global warming-related rises in winter temperatures could significantly extend the range of the southern pine beetle, one of the world’s most aggressive tree-killing insects, through much of the northern United States and southern Canada, says a new study.

by |August 28, 2017
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Hannah Nissan: Forecasting Climate to Help Save Lives

Hannah Nissan, a postdoctoral research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, studies how better climate forecasting might help reduce the number of deaths from heat waves and improve agriculture and child nutrition.

by |July 24, 2017
Gwenn Hennon demonstrates experiment aboard the RV Kilo Moana

Eavesdropping on the Ocean’s Mighty Microorganisms

Now, nearing the end of our three-week cruise of the North Pacific off Hawaii, we are working to understand how these tiny bacteria connect and communicate with one another.

by |July 13, 2017
Due to warming climate, some aircraft may soon have a hard time getting off the ground in the heat of the day. Here, a jet takes off from the Canary Islands. (Bruno Gelger, via flickr)

Surging Heat May Limit Aircraft Takeoffs Globally

Rising temperatures due to global warming will make it harder for many aircraft around the world to take off in coming decades, says a new study. During the hottest parts of the day, 10 to 30 percent of fully loaded planes may have to remove some fuel, cargo or passengers, or else wait for cooler hours to fly.

by |July 13, 2017
Africa's Sahel region could suddenly get far more rainfall as global warming proceeds, says a new study. Here, farmers in Mali, one of the countries potentially affected, harvest okra. (Francesco Fiondella/International Research Institute for Climate and Society)

Warming Climate Could Abruptly Increase Rain in Africa’s Sahel

Climate change could turn one of Africa’s driest regions wet, according to a new study. Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change in the Sahel, a region long characterized by aridity and political instability. In the study, just published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, the authors detected a self-amplifying… read more

by |July 5, 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
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Christine McCarthy: A Cheerleader for the Physics of Ice

Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, scrunches blocks of ice between hunks of rock to study how ice behaves under pressure. Her work provides an important piece of the puzzle of how glaciers move, what makes them speed up, and how they are contributing to sea level rise as the climate warms.

by |June 26, 2017
The Gulf Stream

Could Climate Change Shut Down the Gulf Stream?

In the 2004 disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow,”, global warming accelerated the melting of polar ice, disrupting circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean and triggering violent changes in the weather. Could climate change shut down the Gulf Stream?

by |June 6, 2017