“Drought affects the economy, water supply, lifestyle, and agricultural productivity. The downstream consequences on humans that are facing these threats, including loss of jobs and daily lifestyle challenges, become overwhelming.”
The climate over the tropical Pacific is in an extreme state at the moment. That explains some of the extreme anomalies affecting the United States right now. It also gives us a window through which we can glimpse how even more dramatic and long-term climates of the distant past might have worked.
Because we know little about hurricane behavior during periods when Earth was warmer or colder than at present, it’s challenging to construct models to predict future trends in hurricane activity as Earth’s climate changes. To remedy this problem, researchers have been working to reconstruct records of hurricane strikes in the past.
The Bahamas might be a vacation destination for most people. But for us, they represent an excellent site to study several different questions about past, present and future climates.
On May 27, 2015, NOAA officially announced a likely below-normal Atlantic Hurricane season is coming up. The range for the possible numbers of major hurricanes is 0-2. What are the reasons behind it? How precise are these numbers?
Atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel is author of the new book “Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future.” Sobel was one of the first researchers to explain to media and the public what might be brewing, before the storm hit. In the aftermath, he looked closely at the factors driving the storm’s unusual ferocity, and how these played against human weaknesses. The book offers a primer on what drives storm systems, and what we know (and don’t) about their relation to warming climate. Sobel also looks into future weather, urban infrastructure and the politics of global climate change. He recently discussed some of his insights.
The jury is still out on how tropical storms will change as climate warms, but rising sea levels will almost certainly place more coastal property at risk of flooding, says a team of scientists writing in the journal Nature.
A new youth development and disaster recovery program, which grew out of research on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, will debut in five Gulf Coast high schools. The project will bring together teens to create and share resources to help communities recover from disasters.
Earth Institute scientists across many disciplines are playing key roles in helping New York move forward following Hurricane Sandy. Many were already advising the city about the potential effects of sea-level rise, storm surge, climate change and related issues before the storm hit, For better or worse, their predictions were vindicated, and they now continue efforts to help make infrastructure and population more resilient and sustainable.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Columbia University convened a forum featuring faculty researchers from The Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Mailman School of Public Health, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of International and Public Affairs. This university-wide conversation, co-sponsored by The Earth Institute, Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, and World Leaders Forum, brought together just a few of the many Columbia researchers whose interdisciplinary work is adding to our understanding of the risks facing coastal communities, including New York City and its suburbs.