Features Archive - State of the Planet

You Asked

Got a burning question about climate change? “You Asked” is a series where Earth Institute experts tackle reader questions on science and sustainability. To submit a question, drop a comment below, message us on Instagram, or email us here.

Tracking Climate Change in the Páramos

For more than 10 years, adjunct researcher Daniel Ruiz Carrascal from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society has been studying Colombia’s páramos. This unique mountaintop ecosystem is important in terms of biodiversity and water supply, but is particularly threatened by climate change; the páramos are warming nearly as fast as the Arctic, and… read more

Taking a sample from a moraine boulder for cosmogenic surface exposure dating during the 2011-2012 Antarctic field season near Conrow Glacier, Wright Valley. (Photo: Jen Lamp)

Landscape Evolution in the McMurdo Dry Valleys

From November 2018 to February 2019, our team is studying how rocks alter and erode in one of the most extreme environments on the planet—Antarctica. The project is called Landscape evolution in the McMurdo Dry Valleys: Erosion rates and real-time monitoring of rock breakdown in a hyperarid, subzero environment, and it is funded by the… read more

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade is a new series that brings you inside the labs of Earth Institute scientists. Learn about the equipment scientists are using, and discover how those tools are used in their research.

Helicopter in Greenland

The Future of Snow on Ice

What if the warming Arctic climate were to result in more snow? Could decreasing sea ice cover actually drive more evaporation of newly exposed Arctic ocean water into the atmosphere? And could that increased moisture in the air fall on the ice sheet as snow? If yes, will this stabilize the Greenland Ice Sheet, stopping… read more

Understanding Ecosystems off the Hawaiian Islands

Biological oceanographer Sonya Dyhrman’s team is embarking on a research cruise off Hawaii as part of the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE) on the R/V Kilo Moana. Gwenn Hennon and Matthew Harke will be at sea for nearly three weeks with logistical support from Sheean Haley back on shore. The cruise will be… read more

The Paris Climate Agreement

Learn more about the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the science behind climate change, and what the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the agreement means for the future.

Cruising to an OASIS

Bridgit Boulahanis, a graduate student at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, joined a team of 18 scientists from across the United States on an expedition to the eastern Pacific Ocean. Their mission: to investigate a chain of submarine volcanoes, or seamounts, along the East Pacific Rise. The OASIS (Off Axis Seamounts Investigation at Siqueros) team will be… read more

Break in Ice Shelf

Tracking Antarctica’s Ice Shelves

Lamont’s polar scientists are back in Antarctica on missions to study the continent’s ice. Ice shelves like the Ross Ice Shelf reach out over the ocean from the massive ice sheet covering the continent, and researchers are exploring how changes in climate will affect them. Flying over the ice and using remote sensing equipment, they… read more

The AUV Sentry discovered an area of seafloor where methane is bubbling up, similar to the earlier photo. The data will be used to plan the team's next dive with scientists inside a submersible. Photo: NOAA

The Future of Deep Science

Bridgit Boulahanis, a marine geophysics graduate student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, joins a team of early career scientists on their way to becoming chief scientists in a training cruise focused on seafloor exploration. They’ll be getting their first experiences working with submersibles as they dive into projects ranging from cephalopod collection to acoustic… read more