Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Alamo dropped, mission complete! An image of the shadow of the LC130 as it flies across the Ross Ice Shelf.   (Photo by Fabio)

The ‘Bird’ Has Flown!

The ‘bird’ has flown! Voices are raised in celebratory cheers from the southernmost continent to across the U.S. Our first ALAMO float is deployed! Now we can begin to answer some of the big questions on this mysterious ice/ocean interface.

by |December 2, 2016
When frozen land thaws, the loss of ice in the soil creates landscapes that can be easily eroded. “This study suggests that similar processes occurred during past warming events with important implications for the land-to-ocean permafrost carbon fluxes,” says lead author Tommaso Tesi. Illustration: Tesi, et al. 2016

When Permafrost Melts, What Happens to All That Stored Carbon?

A new study documents evidence of a massive release of carbon from Siberian permafrost as temperatures rose at the end of the last ice age.

by |December 2, 2016
The first of six ALAMO floats parachutes into the Ross Sea off Antarctica to begin profiling the water. Their mission is to check for areas where warmer than normal water could put the Ross Ice Shelf at risk. Photo: Tej Dhakal/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Antarctica Has a New Explorer in the Water Near a Key Ice Shelf

The first of six ALAMO floats parachuted into the Ross Sea off Antarctica to begin profiling the water in a check for areas where warmer than normal water could put the Ross Ice Shelf at risk.

by |December 2, 2016
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AGU 2016: Key Events From the Earth Institute

Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute will present important findings at this year’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest gathering of earth and space scientists.

by |November 29, 2016
The Antarctic Peninsula looks almost like a painting in this photo as the sun settles low on the horizon. (Photo M. Turrin)

‘Ghost Ice Shelves’ and the Third Antarctic Ice Sheet

The Antarctica Peninsula has been referred to as Antarctica’s third ice sheet. Following behind the East and West Antarctic ice sheet in size, one might be inclined to minimize its importance in the effects of melting Antarctic ice, on changes in sea level and other impacts, but that would be an imprudent mistake. The peninsula is Antarctica’s most northern spit of land; like a crooked finger it stretches out beckoning towards the southern tip of South America and her warmer climate.

by |November 24, 2016
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Photo Essay: Where the Trees Meet the Tundra

Due to warming climate and increasing human exploitation, far northern forests and the tundra beyond are undergoing rapid changes. In northern Alaska, scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions are studying the responses of trees at the very edge of their range.

by |November 16, 2016
Near the arctic circle in northern Alaska, forests begin giving way to tundra. as cold air, frozen soils and lack of sunlight squeeze out trees. Researchers are investigating how warming climate may affect the ecology of this boundary. (All photos: Kevin Krajick) CLICK TO VIEW A SLIDESHOW

Where Trees Meet Tundra, Decoding Signals of Climate Change

In northern Alaska’s Brooks Range, the earth as most of us know it comes to an end. The northern tree line-a boundary that circles all of earth’s northern landmasses for more than 8,300 miles, and forms the planet’s biggest ecological transition zone–runs through here. Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying how climate may change it, and the tundra beyond.

by |November 16, 2016
The Liona seamount.

A Front Row Seat on the Ocean Floor

Ocean scientists are, in their hearts, explorers. Our group aboard the R/V Atlantis may be more infected with the exploration bug than most. The first goal of our expedition makes that clear: We aim to map regions of the seafloor never before seen by human eyes.

by |November 15, 2016
The Antarctic Peninsula has elevation rising 8000 ft. with ice covering the tops of the mountains in thick layers. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Domino Effect

Ice shelves can behave like dominos. When they are lined up and the first one collapses it can cause a rippling effect like dominos. We have seen this with the Larsen Ice Shelves. Named in series, the Larsen A, B and C shelves extended along the northeastern edge of the West Antarctic Peninsula, and covered a large swath of coastline as recently as twenty years ago.

by |November 14, 2016
Pine Island Ice Shelf

A First Meeting with an Old Friend

If you have studied the impacts of climate on Antarctica you have encountered Pine Island Glacier. Tucked in at an angle under the West Antarctic Peninsula handle, this seemingly innocuous glacier has been making headlines for years as one of the fastest flowing ice stream glaciers on Earth.

by |November 10, 2016