Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Scientists have discovered that seasonally flowing streams fringe much of Antarctica’s ice. Each red ‘X’ represents a separate drainage. Up to now, such features were thought to exist mainly on the far northerly Antarctic Peninsula (upper left). Their widespread presence signals that the ice may be more vulnerable to melting than previously thought. (Adapted from Kingslake et al., Nature 2017)

Water Is Streaming Across Antarctica

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.

by |April 19, 2017
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Webcast Today: Rich and Poor, and the Essence of El Niño

How does El Niño work, and how does it affect our climate, food supplies and water availability? The two men whose scientific work has been key to solving these puzzles will be honored Wednesday with the Vetlesen Prize, marking a major achievement in Earth sciences. And this afternoon, they’ll have something to say about it in a webcast lecture.

by |April 18, 2017
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Our Economy Depends on Earth Observation and Scientific Research

If we are to continue to grow our economy without destroying the planet’s basic systems that sustain human life, we need to learn a great deal more about our planet and the impact of human activities on natural systems.

by |April 17, 2017
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Pratigya Polissar Sees Landscapes Changing Through a Microscope

The word fossils typically conjures images of T-Rexes and trilobites. Pratigya Polissar thinks micro: A paleoclimatologist, he digs into old sediments and studies molecular fossils—the microscopic remains of plants and animals that can tell us a lot about what was living in a particular time period.

by |April 17, 2017
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Kirsty Tinto: Mapping on and under Antarctica’s Ice

Kirsty Tinto flies aboard a specially equipped airplane in very cold places to study ice sheets and ice shelves. She’s an associate research scientist in the polar geophysics group at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

by |April 3, 2017
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Park Williams Discovers History and Science in a Tree Ring

Park Williams studies trees and climate, in particular the causes of drought and the effects of climate change on forests. In this latest in a series of Earth Institute videos, we spoke to him about what he does, what’s important about it, and how his interest in history and environmental science blended into a career.

by |March 24, 2017
Yael Kiro

Work on Dead Sea Geology Earns Yael Kiro an Award

Yael Kiro, an associate research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has received the 2017 Professor Rafi Freund Award from the Israel Geological Society for work published on the ancient climate history of the Dead Sea.

by |March 23, 2017
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The Science of Carbon Dioxide and Climate

The vast majority of scientists around the world agree that our climate is changing at a faster rate than ever recorded in human history because of our use of fuels such as coal and oil, so-called fossil fuels. The conclusion rests on basic physics known since the early 1800s, when physical scientists first recognized that carbon dioxide, then a recently discovered gas, could act as a sort of greenhouse, preventing heat introduced by the sun from escaping back into space – the “greenhouse effect.”

by |March 10, 2017
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Women Leaders Tackle the Urban Climate Challenge

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, will join dozens of other leaders in government, business and the non-profit world at the Women4Climate conference at Columbia University on March 15.

by |March 8, 2017
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory / Photo: Marco Tedesco. The summer season over the Greenland ice sheet is characterized by surface melting, creating a texture of patterns with supraglacial lakes and streams, crevasses and canyons. Over the past decades, melting has been increasing in Greenland, hence increasing its contribution to sea level rise. In this project, we specifically study how meltwater drains and how albedo (e.g., how ‘bright’ the surface is) modulates melting.

Earth Institute Photography Exhibit Opens at Low Memorial Library

A new photography exhibit in the Rotunda at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library highlights the variety and global reach of the Earth Institute’s mission

by |March 6, 2017