tree rings Archives - State of the Planet

Accounting for Volcanoes Using Tools of Economics

Climate scientists teamed up with an econometrics expert to develop an innovative new method for picking out past volcanic eruptions in temperature reconstructions going back millennia and gauging their impact on the climate.

Syria’s Drought Likely Its Most Severe in More than 900 Years

“If climate change is having an impact and is making droughts worse, then we should see this in the record over several centuries—and we do,” said the study’s author, Benjamin Cook.

by |March 1, 2016

Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2016 and Beyond

  On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards and ecology, and their practical applications to modern problems. Below, a list of expeditions in rough chronological order. Work in and around New York City and the U.S. Northeast is listed separately toward bottom. Unless otherwise stated, projects originate with… read more

by |February 2, 2016

A New Global Team Tracks Temperature Change Through Time

A new international consortium of scientists is bringing the history of temperature fluctuations across the entire Northern Hemisphere to life.

by |January 28, 2016
Scientists documented the first annual tree rings in a native species on Hawai'i in māmane found on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Photo: Scot Nelson/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Tree Rings on Hawai’i Could Hold New Knowledge About El Niño

Annual tree rings are a rare find in the tropical islands of the eastern Pacific. The new discovery of trees with annual rings on a Hawaiian volcano could provide new climate data from a part of the world where much of the variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation originates.

by |August 21, 2015

Learning from a River’s History to Prepare for the Future

Researchers from eight universities, including Columbia University, are using tree ring and glacier analysis to reconstruct the climate history of the Missouri River Basin in order to give policymakers and water managers better decision-making tools to manage the river.

by |August 17, 2015

World Trade Center Ship Traced to Colonial-Era Philadelphia

Four years ago this month, archeologists monitoring the excavation of the former World Trade Center site uncovered a ghostly surprise: the bones of an ancient sailing ship. In a new study, scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that an old growth forest in the Philadelphia area supplied the white oak used in the ship’s frame, and that the trees were probably cut in 1773 or so—a few years before the bloody war that established America’s independence from Britain.

by |July 28, 2014

The Pluvial Continues… Has the Long Rain Epoch Begun?

Daily comparisons on TV or other media sources are typically based upon recent climate and ignore the past. Dased upon paleo records, the full picture indicates that we are sitting in one of the more unusually wet periods of the last 500 years.

by |September 15, 2013

Climate and Conquest: How Did Genghis Khan Rise?

Eight hundred years ago, relatively small armies of mounted warriors suddenly exploded outward from the cold, arid high-elevation grasslands of Mongolia and reshaped world geography, culture and history in ways that still resound today. How did they do it?

by |May 13, 2013

Out of the Woods

When we walked into the Sheraton in Springfield, Massachusetts we were greeted by none other than a wall full of cross sections from trees perfectly sanded to reveal the rings. “No way” I say. “I forgot the camera!” says Neil. We were just walking into the Northeast Natural History Conference, along with Dario and Jackie from the Tree Ring Lab. When I pictured my freshman year of college last summer, I pictured a lot of things. I did not picture getting to go to a conference to present a poster on my own research.

by |May 6, 2013