Scientists aboard the U.S. research vessel Laurence M. Gould held their own presidential inaugural celebration, 10,000 miles from Washington, off the coast of Antarctica. Stopped in desolate, icy seas for three days to do climate-change research, they dubbed their temporary study area Ocean Station Obama. "The project scientists have decided to dedicate the station to President Obama and his administration to recognize their vital interest in the problem of climate change," said Columbia oceanographer Douglas Martinson.
On January 14, Earth Institute staff arrived in Potou, Senegal, with donors Walter and Shirley Wang to celebrate the opening of the first extension of a water piping network that will provide safe water to 13,500 people across 63 villages. The piping network, one of six planned sites in sub-Saharan Africa, was supported by the Wang's company, JM Eagle, the government of Senegal and UNDP. The opening was also attended by several Senegalese government officials, Millennium Development Goals Centre West staff, and the people of Potou.
The ldlife Conservation Society, the Energy Department of the New York City Housing Authority, Gateway National Recreation Area, the National Audubon Society, EarthAction and the Alliance for Renewable Energy are all clients for the spring workshop in the M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy program. Under the guidance of Columbia faculty, students will analyze real-world policy and management problems facing their clients.
Antarctica is getting warmer. Though scientists already knew fast-collapsing ice shelves on the continent’s northerly peninsula were the result of rapid warming, evidence on the far vaster interior was unclear, and some thought the interior might actually be cooling. The new research shows temperatures are rising almost everywhere, at about the same average pace as the rest of the world, consistent with rising levels of greenhouse gases in the air.
Climate researchers have shown that big volcanic eruptions over the past 450 years have temporarily cooled weather in the tropics—but suggest that such effects may have been masked in the 20th century by rising global temperatures. "This study provides some of the first comprehensive information about how the tropical climate system responded to volcanism prior to the instrumental period," said Columbia scientist Rosanne D'Arrigo.
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The Earth Institute at Columbia University is made up of 33 centers and programs where scientists, students and postdoctoral fellows work to mobilize the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable Earth.