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.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural gas, has become a hot button issue across the U.S. But let’s try to look objectively at its benefits and risks.
On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce proposed federal rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants–possibly a landmark in U.S. climate policy. It is uncertain how far the rule will go, and the announcement is being closely watched around the world.
Scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are trying to determine how high sea levels may rise in the future by studying the shorelines of the past. Led by a team of researchers including Lamont climate scientist and marine geologist Maureen Raymo, the goal of Pliomax is to increase the accuracy of global sea level estimates for the Pliocene era, which occurred about 3 million years ago.
“The high-resolution records that we’re getting and the high-resolution models we’re able to make now are sort of moving the questions a little bit closer into human, understandable time frames.”
Tiny one-celled organisms called radiolaria are ubiquitous in the oceans, but various species prefer distinct habitats. Thus it aroused considerable intrigue in 2012 when protozoa specialist O. Roger Anderson and colleagues published a study showing that radiolaria normally found near the equator were suddenly floating around in arctic waters above Norway. Was this a sign that global climate change was bringing an invasion of warm-weather plankton?
Climate scientist Radley Horton, one of the lead authors of the National Climate Assessment report released this week, will answer your questions in an “ask me anything” session on Redditt on Friday starting at 11 a.m.
“Right now, we’re living in a world of a Pliocene atmosphere,” scientist Maureen Raymo of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory tells the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. “But the whole rest of the climate system — the oceans are trying to catch-up, the ice sheets are waning, and everything is trying to catch up to this Pliocene atmosphere.”