Vetlesen Science Prize Celebrated at Columbia Gala

by | 6.30.2015 at 2:23pm
The Vetlessen Prize 6-24-15

Stephen Sparks, one of the world’s foremost experts on volcanoes, received the Vetlesen Prize for his groundbreaking scientific work at a ceremony held June 24 at Columbia University. Two-hundred-fifty people attended the formal gathering in the Low Library Rotunda.

Glacial Earthquakes May Help Forecast Sea-Level Rise

by | 6.25.2015 at 2:21pm
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Glacial earthquakes are produced as massive ice chunks fall off the fronts of advancing glaciers into the ocean. A new study of the quakes’ mechanics may give scientists a way to measure ice loss remotely and refine predictions of sea-level rise.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Hosts New MPA Students

by | 6.23.2015 at 2:14pm
esp class

On Monday, June 22, the newest Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science & Policy (MPA-ESP) candidates spent a beautiful, sunny day touring Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, just a short bus ride away in Palisades, NY. Led by Environmental Chemistry professor Benjamin Bostick and Climatology professor Jason Smerdon, the students were exposed to many different areas of groundbreaking research that the world-class facility has to offer.

Is City Biking Hazardous to Your Health?

by | 6.16.2015 at 4:03pm | 1 Comment
Photo: Marcus Oh

As more and more people take to biking in the city, a new study will look at how much pollution bikers are exposed to, and what effects it might be having on their health.

Viewing Melting Glaciers, Via Microscope and Moving Images

by | 6.11.2015 at 9:55am
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Two women investigating climate change from different perspectives—Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Denise Iris, a multimedia artist from Brooklyn—had a chance to spend several days together recently. In the Rock Mechanics Lab at Lamont, where McCarthy works, and a nearby “cold room” chilled to the climate of an industrial freezer, they exchanged notes on two ways of looking at ice.

Tapping into Earth’s Secret History

by | 6.2.2015 at 11:33am
The state of the Equatorial Pacific has influenced global climate throughout Earth history. Interpretation of past trends can lend insight into the future of our planet. 
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

In a study published last week, Lamont post-doctoral scholar Heather Ford and coauthors used 4 million-year-old fossils from the Pliocene to reconstruct the physical features of the Pacific Ocean that would have shaped the environment during a critical juncture in Earth history.

H. James Simpson; Tracked Pollutants in the Hudson and Far Beyond

by | 5.26.2015 at 2:32pm
Simpson-H-James crop

H. James Simpson, a geochemist who pioneered important studies of water pollutants in the Hudson River and abroad, died May 10. He had been affiliated with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for 50 years. The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said his family; he was 72.

World’s Oldest Unused Stone Tools Found (So They Say)

by | 5.26.2015 at 11:28am
Unattributed picture of the apparent find, from the Onion.

Last week, it was announced that scientists had found the world’s oldest stone tools, in Kenya, dated at 3.3 million years. The precise dating of the tools was made possible by Chris Lepre and Dennis Kent of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who used periodic reversals in earth’s magnetic field to nail the timing. Now, in a related study, a separate team says they have discovered the world’s oldest stone tools that were never used–an apparent revelation about early human leisure time.

Global Warming’s ‘Missing’ Heat: It May Be in the Indian Ocean

by | 5.20.2015 at 12:00pm
Increases in westward-blowing winds over the Pacific Ocean are thought to be pushing great masses of water--and heat--through the Indonesian straits, into the Indian Ocean.

Since the late 1990s, global warming has stabilized, even as greenhouse gases have risen. That defies simple models that say the temperature should keep going up. A team of oceanographers now says they know where the missing heat has gone.

Distilling Art from the Figures of Science

by | 5.18.2015 at 11:01am
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Any researcher can attest to the fact that a scientific figure is worth more than a thousand words. Rarely do we take a step back to consider the inherent artistry in the figures created to convey the science.