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.
An interdisciplinary team of scientists has discovered that, contrary to general scientific belief, iron in nondissolved particle form can stimulate phytoplankton growth, and that the chemical form that particulate iron takes is critical to ocean photosynthesis.
In the last week, calving events at Lake Palcacocha in the Peruvian Andes released masses of ice from a glacier on Mount Pucaranra, showing the weakness of the existing infrastructure designed to protect the region from floods.
In recent years, scientists have discovered hundreds of lakes lying hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Now a team of researchers has found the remains of at least one sub-ice lake that existed when the ice was far more extensive, in sediments on the Antarctic continental shelf.
Glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates and some have disappeared altogether. The melting of glaciers will affect drinking water supplies, water needed to grow food and supply energy, as well as global sea levels.
In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level.
On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and other subjects with direct applications to the challenges facing humanity.
Declassified spy satellite images are beginning to provide the first consistent look at how glaciers across the Himalayas are changing and what future water supplies might look like for millions of people.
Twenty-three million years ago, the Antarctic Ice Sheet began to shrink, going from an expanse larger than today’s to one about half its modern size. Ancient fossilized leaves retrieved from a lake bed in New Zealand now show for the first time that carbon dioxide levels increased dramatically over a relatively short period of time as the ice sheet began to deteriorate.
On Oct. 5, several small mountain countries with glaciers—Austria, Bolivia, and Nepal—undertook an important step in advancing global action on climate change. They helped the Paris Climate Agreement reach the threshold to enter into force and become legally binding.