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The Amazon River basin as seen by a NASA satellite, showing the impact of surface moisture and rivers on shallow clouds. (NASA)

Vegetation Can Strongly Alter Climate and Weather, Study Finds

A new analysis of global satellite observations shows that vegetation can powerfully alter atmospheric patterns that influence climate and weather.

by |May 30, 2017
Falling sulfur dioxide emissions in the United States are expected to substantially increase rainfall in Africa’s semi-arid Sahel, while bringing slightly more rain to much of the U.S., according to a new study. (Francesco Fiondella/International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Reduced U.S. Air Pollution Will Boost Rainfall in Africa’s Sahel, Says Study

If U.S. sulfur dioxide emissions are cut to zero by 2100, as some researchers have projected they will be, rainfall over Africa’s Sahel region could increase up to 10 percent from 2000 levels, computer simulations suggest.

by |May 22, 2017
With 9 million residents, Mexico City has a huge water demand but many problems providing enough for all of its citizens. Photo: tourist-destinations.com

To Ease Mexico City’s Water Woes, Look up, Study Suggests

For Mexico City’s biggest businesses and its poorest neighborhoods, rainwater harvesting could help address an enormous water crisis plaguing the city, a recent Columbia Water Center study found.

by |May 1, 2017
Heavy smoke blanketed Sumatra and Borneo in September and October 2015, as observed by NASA’s Terra satellite. (NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.)

Rising Temperatures Lead to Increased Fire Risk in Indonesia

A new paper shows that rising temperatures have increased the risk of fires even during non-drought years in Indonesia, possibly making mild fire seasons in the country a thing of the past.

by |May 1, 2017
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Is Electricity Use in the Developing World About to Skyrocket?

Cities in the developing world may soon see dramatic spikes in electricity consumption for heating and cooling, according to a new study led by researchers from the Earth Institute’s Quadracci Sustainable Engineering Lab.

by |May 1, 2017
M Ho snip

Michelle Ho: In a Land of Plenty, Big Water Problems

Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems.

by |May 1, 2017
The recent drought in California is one focus of a Stanford research team's effort to calculate how human-induced climate change influences extreme weather events. Photo: California Department of Water Resources

Testing Links Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change

A new four-step “framework” aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.

by |April 24, 2017
Polissar snip

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
Kelley snip

Colin Kelley: Food and Water Vulnerability in a Changing Climate

Colin Kelley, an associate research scientist with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, studies regional climate in vulnerable areas like the Middle East in order to improve our ability to make forecasts, plan ahead and become more resilient to drought and other climate shifts.

by |April 10, 2017
Tinto snip

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