Glaciers in one part of West Antarctica are melting at triple the rate of a decade ago and have become the most significant contributor to sea level rise in that region, a new study says. The study found that the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica have shrunk by an average of 83 gigatons a year for two decades—the equivalent of the weight of Mount Everest every two years.
Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute will present important talks at the Dec. 15-19 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Here is a journalists’ guide in rough chronological order.
By burning fossil fuels for heating, electricity, transportation and other purposes, humans add CO2 to the atmosphere. Yet, by comparing ways in which the Earth’s temperature, CO2 concentration, sea level and ice sheets have changed in the past, we are able to learn valuable lessons about the climate system of today and tomorrow.
This fall, the photographs of Sebastião Salgado provide the springboard for an ambitious program of panel discussions, lectures and film screenings addressing the urgent issue of climate change, at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
President Obama this week announced a set of actions designed to help populations here and abroad develop better resilience against drought, sea level rise and other consequences of a changing climate. At The Earth Institute, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society has been working on these issues for years — making regular climate forecasts, insuring farmers against bad weather, and using data to better anticipate outbreaks of disease, manage water resources and improve forest management, among other programs.
Climate scientist William D’Andrea of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory asked young scientists attending a symposium last October, “What do you wish everyone knew about climate change?” He turned the responses into this video, which covers the topic pretty well.
Through an ancient looking-glass,
Perhaps you’d see more H2 gas,
And if with denser gas collided,
Greater greenhouse warmth provided.
Geochemists Alexander van Geen and Jacob Mey helped coauthor a recent paper in the leading journal Science showing that warming climate in the future may not degrade oxygen supplies in some parts of the oceans as previously thought.
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.