Columbia Climate News
Amelia Wolf in the California field she used to study what effect diversity loss would have on the remaining plants.New Research Shows a Decline in Plant Diversity Could Affect Entire Ecosystems
Gardeners and nature lovers have noticed that plants are flowering earlier every year—a phenomenon generally attributed to climate change. New findings by Columbia researchers, however, are among the first to show that a decline in biodiversity may also play a role, magnifying the impact of climate change not just when plants flower, but on entire ecosystems.
Photo by Eileen BarrosoColumbia Unveils New Campus Sustainability Plan
Building on Columbia’s longstanding commitment to addressing climate change, the University’s Trustees have voted to support a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI) to divest from companies deriving more than 35% of their revenue from thermal coal production and to participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Climate Change Program.
Associate Professor Kate Orff’s Oyster-tecture is a plan to bring oysters, which filter water and form reefs that can buffer against storm surges, back to New York Harbor. The project, expected to be completed by 2019, will create bays to host finfish, shellfish and lobsters while reducing erosion. It will also serve as an environmental education site. Courtesy of Kate OrffUrban Design Program Focuses on Climate Change and Social Justice As cities worldwide attempt to redefine the relationship between urban ecology and design in response to a changing climate, landscape architect Kate Orff is approaching her work as a synthesis of art, science, nature, climate and community.
President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, at podium, visits Columbia University's research vessel the Langseth with Karen Poniachik (left), Director of the Santiago Global Center.Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Visits Columbia Research Ship
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet visited the R/V Marcus G. Langseth on Jan. 9 when it docked at the port city of Valparaiso, touring the ship—which is operated by Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory--on its months-long voyage to map the occurrences of earthquakes and tsunamis in the region.
Photo by Eileen BarrosoBusiness School Economist Studies How Human Activity Affects the Environment
Geoffrey Heal studied physics and economics as an undergraduate, but has always cared deeply about the environment. “I’ve been interested in nature all my life,” he says. “As a kid I was buying binoculars and going bird watching and buying a little camera and taking pictures of birds and things like that.”
Scientists have found evidence in a chunk of bedrock drilled from nearly two miles below the summit of the Greenland ice sheet that the sheet nearly disappeared for an extended time in the last million years or so. The finding casts doubt on assumptions that Greenland has been relatively stable during the recent geological past, and implies that global warming could tip it into decline more precipitously than previously thought. Such a decline could cause rapid sea-level rise.
Along the walls of Oceanographer Canyon, fish dart in and out of colorful anemone gardens and sea creatures send up plumes of sand and mud as they burrow. Bill Ryan, an oceanographer at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, studied these scenes through the windows of a mini research submarine in 1978 as he became one of the few people to explore the seafloor canyons that President Barack Obama (CC’83) designated a national monument in September.
Columbia oceanographer and paleoclimatologist Peter B. de Menocal, was appointed Dean of Science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He was also named as Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor, a newly established chair funded by Con Edison.
Kartik Chandran, associate professor of earth and environmental engineering, is an authority on environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment and sanitation. He has been collaborating with research groups in Brazil focused on energy-efficient wastewater treatment.
Chandran has been collaborating with research groups in Brazil focused on facilitating energy efficient wastewater treatment there. Through this approach, sewage treatment plants can discharge better water quality to receiving water bodies such as Guanabara Bay, where sailing events for the 2016 Olympic Games will be held. Additionally, such improvements to water quality can be achieved while emitting lower amounts of greenhouse gases.
Patrick Kinney and Madeleine ThomsonExperts Discuss Impact of Climate Change on Health
In 2009, The Lancet, one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals in the world, declared climate change to be the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century. Seven years later, it still is.
Peter deMenocal, founding director of The Center for Climate and Life. Photo by Eileen Barroso.New Center for Climate and Life to Bring Latest Science to Business and Finance Worlds
The Center for Climate and Life, a new research initiative based at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will focus on how climate change affects our access to such basic resources as food, water, shelter and energy.
This NASA image shows the global rise of sea surface temperatures.Columbia Scientists Expect Record El Niño
Massive fires in Indonesia. A typhoon in the Philippines. Forecasts of flooding in Kenya, drought in Brazil and torrential rains in bone-dry Southern California.
These disasters are separated by thousands of miles and on different continents, but they have a common cause—the climate phenomenon known as El Niño.
Atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel is author of the new book Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future. A native New Yorker, Sobel was at the center of the historic 2012 storm in more ways than one. As an expert in extreme weather and its relation to climate, he began explaining to media and the public what might be brewing before the even storm even storm hit the New York metropolitan area
Atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel is author of the new book Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future. A professor at Columbia University’s Engineering School and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Sobel is an expert in extreme weather and its relation to climate.
On Monday, June 2, President Obama will announce proposed federal rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants–possibly a landmark in U.S. climate policy. It is uncertain how far the rule will go, and the announcement is being closely watched around the world. To be administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the rule is considered potentially important not only because power plants create some 40% of U.S. emissions; it could also help set the stage for other nations, many of them waiting for the United States to take the first serious steps at reductions, to also finally take action.
By Lauren Ghelardini and Hayley Martinez