North America

Recent winters have had extreme temperature differences in the U.S., with the East facing bitter cold spells and the West exceptionally warm and dry. Photo: Anthony Quintano/CC-BY-2.0

Extreme-Weather Winters Becoming More Common in U.S., Study Shows

This past July was Earth’s hottest month since record keeping began, but warming isn’t the only danger climate change holds in store. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the simultaneous occurrence of extremely cold winter days in the Eastern United States and extremely warm winter days in the Western U.S., according to a new study.

by |September 1, 2016
North Am symposium on CC adaptation FP

Symposium this Week on Climate and Adaptation

This week climate scientists from the United States and Europe will join with officials from government and international agencies at Columbia to share knowledge about climate change and strategies for adaptation in North America and the Caribbean.

by |August 15, 2016
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Global Philanthropy and Inequality

Recent trends now point towards global philanthropy becoming the new norm. Global philanthropy aims to reduce inequality in developing countries through many forms. But inequities persist, and different manifestations of global philanthropy will be challenged to increase impact and achieve a demonstrable shift in areas such as poverty, health, access to opportunity, and beyond.

by |May 17, 2016
philanthropy

Philanthropy and Inequality

In the field of philanthropy, foundations have been confronted with how to address structural racism and various forms of systemic inequities. How can foundations play a greater role in reducing racial disparities, promoting criminal justice reform, and tackling any range of manifestations of inequality?

by |April 12, 2016
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Anchor Institutions and their Significance to Community and Economic Development

Partnerships between anchor institutions and local organizations and businesses are vital to solving problems in localities and regions. Through engagement, investment and collaboration, anchor institutions can continue to play a crucial role in providing significant social and economic development opportunities to the communities in which they operate.

by |March 8, 2016
In 1980s and 1990s, prospecting teams worked their way northward through remote terrains, including the Canadian Rockies, where this crew member was landed by helicopter.  (Courtesy Paul Derkson)

Photo Essay: The Mystery of North American Diamonds

People have been finding loose diamonds across the United States and Canada since the early 1800s, but for the most part, no one knows where they came from. It was not until the 1990s that geologists tracked down the first commercial deposits, on the remote tundra of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Yaakov Weiss, a geochemist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is investigating the origins of these rich diamond mines.

by |August 24, 2015
drinking water

How Much Arsenic is Too Little?

Five hundred utilities in the U.S. provide drinking water with unsafe levels of arsenic, the Environmental Protection Agency says. But how many people are getting too much arsenic in their water is much less clear, according to a study conducted in part by the Columbia Water Center.

by |August 29, 2014
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US Groundwater Declines More Widespread Than Commonly Thought

Groundwater levels are dropping across a much wider swath of the United States than is generally discussed, according to a new report, suggesting that the nation’s long-term pattern of groundwater use is broadly unsustainable.

by |March 17, 2014
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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2014 and Beyond

Earth Institute field researchers study the planet on every continent and ocean. Projects are aimed at understanding the fundamental dynamics of climate, geology, ecology, human history and more. Here is a partial list of upcoming expeditions.

by |February 25, 2014
NOAA-NASA top 10 warm years

2013 Ranks in Top 10 Warmest Years

Last year was one of the warmest on record, according to analyses of global temperature data by NASA and NOAA. Both federal agencies placed 2013 among the top 10 warmest years since records began in 1880, continuing a longer-term trend of global warming.

by |January 22, 2014