oceans Archives - State of the Planet

water sampling device is lowered off the ship into the ocean

Every (Fifth) Breath We Take: Friends of Phytoplankton and Why They Matter

Tiny microbes called phytoplankton live beneath the ocean’s surface, producing oxygen that is essential to human survival. A new study sheds light on how these all-important diatoms survive and thrive under difficult conditions.

by |August 16, 2018

Photo Essay: How High Could Seas Rise?

Columbia scientists recently visited the Caribbean island of Barbados, whose fossilized coral reefs contain an exquisite record of how the ocean has risen and fallen in the past.

by |May 14, 2018

How High Can Seas Rise? On a Tropical Isle, the Answers Are Not Always Obvious.

To help predict the future of sea level rise, scientists are studying ancient corals on the island of Barbados.

by |May 14, 2018

Ocean Sediments Off Pacific Coast May Feed Tsunami Danger

Tightly packed sediments help the Cascadia Subduction Zone generate large earthquakes, and could boost its ability to trigger a large tsunami.

by |November 20, 2017

Iron Chemistry Matters for Ocean Carbon Uptake

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has discovered that, contrary to general scientific belief, iron in nondissolved particle form can stimulate phytoplankton growth, and that the chemical form that particulate iron takes is critical to ocean photosynthesis.

by |June 23, 2017

Tapping into Ocean Power

The oceans of the world are a vast unexploited source of clean, reliable and predictable renewable energy. Could this energy help replace fossil fuels and be a solution to climate change?

by |February 14, 2017

Project Aims to Map World’s Oceans by 2030

More than 85 percent of the ocean floor remains unmapped, leaving us in the dark about much of the earth’s topography. A global, non-profit effort will try to remedy that, and influence everything from climate research and weather prediction to mineral resource exploration and fisheries.

by |February 2, 2017

How Does the Ocean Drive Weather and Climate Extremes?

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists Ryan Abernathey and Richard Seager are investigating how processes in the ocean create extreme weather and climate conditions over land.

by |August 30, 2016
Stephanie Bush of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (left) and Chiara Borelli of the University of Rochester emerge from the research submarine Alvin after the first dive. Photo: Bridgit Boulahanis

The Magic of Exploring Under the Sea

It’s midnight on the ship, and the labs are filled with scientists busy examining samples. Two of them just got back from a trip to the seafloor, and the excitement is palpable.

by |July 31, 2016
Ocean overturning circulation illustrated. Courtesy of co-author Lynne Talley.

Wind-Blown Antarctic Sea Ice Helps Drive Ocean Circulation

Antarctic sea ice is constantly on the move as powerful winds blow it away from the coast and out toward the open ocean. A new study shows how that ice migration may be more important for the global ocean circulation than anyone realized.

by |June 27, 2016