Features Archive - Page 2 of 6 - State of the Planet

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

Environmental Sustainability in the Middle East

Students from Columbia University and Tel Aviv University travel to Jordan and Israel to learn about how the two countries are cooperating on environmental issues and managing shared natural resources. The trip is part of a course on regional environmental sustainability in the Middle East, a collaboration between Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of… read more

When Oceans Leak

Location: Off Southern Africa Team: Sidney Hemming and Allison Franzese Purpose: Ocean currents and climate Start Date: Jan. 30 – March 30, 2016 The Indian Ocean’s warm, salty water has been leaking into the Atlantic, spinning off giant eddies with the help of the twisting Agulhas Current. Studies suggest that in the past, this warm-water… read more

Sampling the Barren Sea

Location: South Pacific Ocean Team: Frankie Pavia and Sebastian Vivancos Purpose: ocean chemistry and biology Date: Dec. 17, 2015 – Jan. 28, 2016 The barrenness of life and other particulate material in the clear waters of the central South Pacific allows light to penetrate more deeply than anywhere else. Columbia graduate students Frankie Pavia and… read more

Decoding the Mysteries of the Ross Ice Shelf

Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf covers an area the size of France and measures a few hundred meters thick above the water. It plays a critical role in stabilizing the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and scientists are concerned about its future in a warming world. In the field, a team of scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory,… read more

The 2015 Paris Climate Summit

The nations of the world meet in Paris starting Nov. 30 to discuss how to confront climate change. The goal: Keep global temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average. Many scientists feel that is already impossible. But the United States, China and many other nations have committed to trying. The Earth Institute… read more

TRACES of Change in the Arctic

The U.S. GEOTRACES program in the Arctic Ocean is part of a multi-nation effort to study marine trace elements. Studying these elements can help us understand the biogeochemical responses to rapid climate change. Lamont-Doherty geochemist Tim Kenna is aboard the research vessel Healy.

Wide Ocean, Tiny Creatures

Scientists from a number of research institutions are participating in an expedition aboard the R/V L’Atalante to study how microorganisms in the South Pacific Ocean influence the carbon cycle. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory graduate student Kyle Frischkorn is among them; his goal is to assess how the microorganism Trichodesmium and other microbes interact, and the resulting physiological and biogeochemical impacts these processes have on marine ecosystems.

Greenland Thaw

Measuring Change

Greenland’s ice sheets are shrinking faster than ever, responsible for about a quarter of sea-level rise globally. Alison Glacier on Greenland’s northwestern coast is one place where ice flow to the sea has sped up. From a tiny hunting and fishing village in the Upernavik Islands, scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will take ocean measurements to understand why Alison is surging to the sea faster than nearby glaciers. They will also work with villagers to continue data collection when they’re gone.

Sculpting Tropical Peaks

Many tropical mountains have the same shape—steep, rugged slopes capped by wide, flat summits. Were these landscapes shaped by tectonic forces from below? Or by intense glacial erosion from above? Graduate student Maxwell Cunningham and scientist Mike Kaplan are collecting glacial debris from Costa Rica’s 12,000-foot Cerro Chirripó to test their idea that mountain glaciers carved Chirripó’s peak into the shape we see today, similar to beveled summits in Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.