drought

Oglala National Grassland, Nebraska. Photo: Brian Kell

Grasslands More Sensitive to Dryness than Rainfall, Study Says

A new study shows that dryness of the atmosphere affects U.S. grassland productivity more than rainfall does. The findings could have important implications for predicting how plants will respond to warming climate conditions.

by |March 9, 2017
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Rising Temperatures Load the Dice for Megadrought Risk

As the American Southwest grows hotter, the risk of severe, long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90 percent this century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, a new study from scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says. Aggressively reducing emissions can cut that risk.

by |October 5, 2016
The 2003 Simi Valley Fire ravages a mountainside in Southern California's Simi Valley. Image: U.S. Air Force/Senior Master Sgt. Dennis W. Goff

Drought and Fire Activity: What’s Climate Change Got to Do with It?

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientist Park Williams, recipient of a Center for Climate and Life Fellowship, is investigating the influence of climate change on droughts and wildfires.

by |August 18, 2016
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Learning from El Niño as La Niña Odds Rise

Although El Niño is weakening, its ramifications continue to be felt around the world. Drought and resulting food insecurity is one of the major implications for southeast Asia, eastern and southern Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Sixty million are in need of emergency relief today, according to the United Nations.

by |April 28, 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.

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Syria’s Drought Likely Its Most Severe in More than 900 Years

“If climate change is having an impact and is making droughts worse, then we should see this in the record over several centuries—and we do,” said the study’s author, Benjamin Cook.

by |March 1, 2016
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What Does El Niño Mean, in 3.4 Seconds

Scientists at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society took a moment from their work (a very brief moment) to answer the question, “What does El Niño mean?”

by |January 15, 2016
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Honduran Farmers Help Design Insurance Against Climate Risks

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society and local Honduran partners have been working to identify and implement farmer-driven, development-focused climate risk solutions. Through interactive exercises, grain farmers have worked together with the team of experts since 2014 to design and tailor index insurance in the pilot region of El Paraíso, Honduras. This video tells the story.

by |December 21, 2015
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The Changing Climate of Security

In the November Democratic presidential primary debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders said that the greatest threat to national security was climate change. But is there actually a link between national security and climate change, and if so, what is it?

by |December 9, 2015
Lake Elsinore, where changing pollen levels in the sediment indicate a series of mega droughts gripped the region thousands of years ago. Photo by Jim Sneddon/CC-BY-2.0

Ancient Pollen Points to Mega-Droughts in California Thousands of Years Ago

Ancient pollen spores that were in the air when mammoths roamed Southern California are providing new insights into historic droughts in the region, including how a series of mega droughts 25,500 to 27,500 years ago changed the ecological landscape.

by |September 22, 2015