Climate

Asian elephants, like these in Sri Lanka, are sensitive to temperature. A new study explores the impact of warming on populations in the tropics. Photo: Amila Tennakoon, CC-BY-2.0

An Ecological Traffic Jam in the Warming Tropics?

The tropics are already hot, and they’re getting hotter as global temperatures rise. A new study offers a glimpse into how seriously a couple more degrees could disrupt the region’s ecological map.

by |June 9, 2016
Maureen Raymo

Maureen Raymo Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Maureen Raymo, a marine geologist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory whose name is connected with key theories about how ice ages wax and wane and how sea levels change, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors awarded to scientists in the United States.

by |May 3, 2016
The crew and scientists of Expedition 361. Photo: Tim Fulton/IODP

Almost Home, with Another 7 Million Years of Climate History

Science at sea isn’t easy, but the benefits are huge, writes Sidney Hemming in her final post from a two-month expedition that collected millions of years of climate history in the deep-sea sediment from off southern Africa.

by |March 25, 2016
Expedition 361’s nannofossil experts with their specialties: Top, left to right: Margit Simon, Thiago Pereira dos Santos, Luna Brentegani and Deborah Tangunan. Bottom left to right: Dick Norris and Jason Coenen. All associated with a fossil of their speciality (not quite to scale…). Illustration by Deborah Tangunan

Finding Microfossils off Southern Africa

Expedition 361’s newest sediment cores brought up spectacular foraminifera—translucent, glassy and “very pretty” throughout the ocean sediment.

by |March 19, 2016
Natural coastal features like wetlands and sand dunes may be able to adjust somewhat to sea-level rise. (Kevin Krajick)

Where Will Sea-Level Rise Hurt the Most?

A study out yesterday says that the lives of up to 13 million people in the United States may be disrupted by sea-level rise in the next century. But another study says that while much hard infrastructure like houses, piers, seawalls and roads may have to be kissed goodbye, some 70 percent of natural landforms along the Northeast Coast may be able to adjust themselves, and not suffer inundation.

by |March 15, 2016
In a soaking rain, Pederson eyeballs a plot through an angle gauge, a forester’s tool for estimating forest density and species composition.

Photo Essay: High in the Hills, Climate May Challenge Forests

Forests in the south-central United States are some of the country’s most productive and diverse. They also sit in a warming “hole”—an area where the progressive rise in temperature affecting most of the continent hasn’t yet taken hold. A team from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is studying how these forests might shift—or even disappear—when climate change does catch up with them, as expected.

by |March 15, 2016
Williams extracts a core from a massive red oak. Specimens up to 400 years old can be found in isolated spots, but it is the last 80-some years the scientists are mainly after. Those are the years covered by modern instrumental record, and the rings can be closely correlated with those to paint a picture of how trees have fared under known conditions year to year. This will allow the team to project how they are likely to react under future scenarios.

How Will Shifting Climate Change U.S. Forests?

One foggy spring morning just after a hard rain, Park Williams was tromping through the woods deep in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. Toiling down a steep slope, he supposedly was keeping a simultaneous eye out for rattlesnakes, copperheads, poison ivy and big old trees. Williams seemed mostly focused on the trees, though; attention to the other stuff was just slowing him down. Williams studies how forests react to changes in climate, and the Ozarks’ deeply dissected hills and hollers—what some might refer to as typical hillbilly country—are a kind of ground zero for this.

by |March 15, 2016
Scientists crowd around the stratigraphic correlators' screens. Co-chief scientists Sidney Hemming and Ian Hall are on the right. Photo: Tim Fulton/IODP

Mozambique Core Brings Up 7 Million Years of Climate History

With calm seas, the JOIDES Resolution’s latest sediment core comes up with what appears to be a fantastic, cyclic climate signal that is continuous back 7 million years, writes Sidney Hemming.

by |March 11, 2016

Attributing Extreme Weather to Causes—Including Climate Change

New research and more powerful computer models are advancing scientists’ ability to tease apart the forces that can worsen extreme weather. In a new report, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences that includes Columbia’s Adam Sobel assesses the young field of attribution studies.

Group photo2

Competition Challenges Students to Limit Global Warming

Can the global community devise a solution to save the planet from the worst impacts of global climate change? How about doing it in seven hours?

by |March 4, 2016