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map of India

Genetic Analysis of Asian Elephants in India Reveals Some Surprises

Researchers have discovered that one of the few remaining populations of Asian elephants in India is actually two genetically distinct groups. This could have far-reaching implications in conservation plans for the endangered elephants as well as other species on the Subcontinent.
india residents headload water

Scaling Up Services in Rural India

Nirupam Bajpai, director of The Earth Institute's South Asia program, presented four reports to the Prime Minister of India, following a year of intensive assessment by Earth Institute experts on drinking water, electricity, primary health, and primary education.
Shriver award

Jeffrey D. Sachs Honored by the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

More than 650 guests gathered in Chicago at the Seventh Annual Sargent Shriver Awards Dinner on December 1, 2005 to honor Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, for his leadership in the fight against extreme poverty.
Jeff Sachs and President of Ireland

Second GROCC Meets Amid Changing World

More than 200 participants from nearly 150 corporations and other institutions from around the world met November 14 and 15 at Columbia University for the second session of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC). With 2005 on pace to becoming the warmest year on record, as well as the most active for hurricanes, and with world leaders preparing for critical negotiations on climate policy in Montreal in December, the Earth's climate was on everyone's mind.
Environmental students

Environmental Science Students Dive Into Data Collection Experience

A pile of garbage from World War II and the Little Red Light House were two highlights of Hudson River trips made this fall by students in Barnard College's Environmental Science program. The trips, which allowed students from three Environmental Science classes to gain hands-on research experience on the Hudson this September and October, were funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Earth Institute Partners with Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science to Promote Faculty Diversity

The Earth Institute and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) have joined together to ensure that a rich, diverse faculty becomes a mainstay of research and education at Columbia University. The new diversity initiative represents another step in what has become one of Columbia’s highest priorities: the integration of women and men from a range of backgrounds into all aspects of academic life.
rendering of gowanus canal

Urban Design Lab to Help Promote Sustainability and Environmental Justice in New York City

New Earth Institute center will provide practical assistance to community groups working to improve and develop their neighborhoods
On November 16, former New York City mayor and Columbia professor David Dinkins joined members of The Earth Institute in inaugurating a new, interdisciplinary Urban Design Lab. The Earth Institute's newest center is intended to make the resources of the University more readily available to residents of the city.

Wealth & Giving Forum Inspires Spirit of Giving to Fight Malaria in Africa

Last spring, the Wealth & Giving Forum convened a weekend-long retreat that inspired the group’s members to contribute more than $2 million to help The Earth Institute at Columbia University advance the fight against malaria in Africa.

Earth Institute Researchers Present Their Work at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

Scientists from The Earth Institute will arrive in San Francisco this week to attend the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), an annual gathering of more than 11,000 researchers from around the world who study the Earth and other planets.
aerial shot of flooding in New Orleans

Soviet Union Conducted 130 Nuclear Tests in Remote Arctic Location, Study Says

The Soviet Union conducted 130 underwater, atmospheric and underground nuclear tests in a remote archipelago above the Arctic Circle over a period of 35 years, according to a comprehensive study done by scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Finding Water in Koraro, Ethiopia

Forget flushingtoliets or running faucets. In Koraro, Ethiopia, residents walk hours for a gallon or two of precious water. As part of the Millennium Villages Project, engineering expert Upmanu Lall is exploring how to create water sources for this drought-plagued village. go to audio slideshow

Landfill Disposal May Pose Greater Health Risks Than WTE Treatment, Student Research Shows

Disposing of waste via landfills increases health risks 30-fold, compared with using waste-to-energy treatment — which generates electricity by burning waste — for disposal. This is according to a study conducted by a student in the Masters in Public Health (MPH) program at the Mailman School at Columbia University.
greenland melt

Answers About the Earth's Energy Imbalance by James E. Hansen, Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Answers to typical questions about the Earth's energy imbalance and its implications provided by James E. Hansen, director, NASA's Goddard Insittute for Space Studies. Hansen was lead author on a paper published by Science on this topic.
iri logo

The IRI Becomes The International Research Institute for Climate and Society

In October 2005, the Trustees of Columbia University changed the name of the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction to better reflect the work of the Institute. By providing practical advancements that enable better management of climate related risks and opportunities in the present, Columbia’s IRI creates solutions that will help to increase adaptability to long term climate change.
cellphone training in Rwanda

In Rwanda, Clever Use of Technology Helps a Little Go a Long Way, and Faster

In a country that made headlines for a brutal genocide that left an estimated 800,000 dead, Rwanda now counts itself among several African nations battling with another devastating enemy: AIDS. But a clever new project called "TRACnet" will help deliver life-saving drugs to patients faster.

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

A new study released this week in the online edition of Science suggests that tree diversity in tropical forests plays a crucial role in determining how much carbon these natural storehouses are able to hold, as well as their ability to provide other important ecosystem services such as preventing erosion.
satellite photo

Reducing the Impact of Mother Nature

During live Q&A, expert in natural disasters explains ways to mitigate damage
Is the worsening of hurricanes due to global warming? And how can we reduce the impact of natural disasters? The answer to these and other questions came from the director of the Center for Hazards and Risk Research during a "live chat" sponsored by VIIP Virtual Forum on October 13, 2005.
Alessandra Giannini

Audio Slideshow: How a Scientist Linked the Sahel Drought to Oceans

Many scientists suspected poor land use caused the Sahel droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. But scientist Alessandra Giannini found the more likely culprit was the global oceans. view slideshow
Students helping with the Hudson Estuary Project

More Than 1,000 to Get Their Feet Wet in Hudson Estuary Project

For many residents of New York City and upstate communities, the Hudson River is such a constant presence that it can sometimes fade into the background of daily life. On Wednesday, October 12, however, Earth Institute researchers will contribute to the efforts of volunteers and students from Troy to Brooklyn in putting the Hudson front-and-center by capturing a scientific "snapshot" of the river's estuary.
Richard Seager

Devastating Droughts in the American West Not Isolated Events

Only in recent years have scientists begun to unravel the causes of persistent droughts in the west. Richard Seager, a senior scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will visit the New York Academy of Science on October 18 to discuss the history of drought and its consequences.

Emerging Scientists Set Sights on Fixing World's Problems

In 2002, Christian Webersik spent months on and off in war-torn Somalia, conducting interviews with both the elite and the layperson for his research on the link between armed conflict and natural resources. Research areas like this are the realm of a new group of emerging scientists who arrived at Columbia this September as Earth Institute Fellows.
Fabrice de Clerck

How an Ecologist Moved to the Center of Sustainable Development

Projects like the Millennium Villages Project are putting ecologists, particularly agroforestry specialists, to critical use in combatting hunger and poverty by helping entire villages to have more robust crops and healthier soils.
Cyclone Hazard Risk Map

Mapping the Risks of Hurricane Disasters

The Natural Disaster Hotspots report released earlier this year showed that the U.S. Gulf Coast is among the world's most at-risk regions in terms of human mortality and economic loss due to storms like Katrina and Rita.
green sea turtle

Scientists Confirm Earth's Inner Core Rotating Faster Than Rest of Planet

Scientists have ended a nine-year debate over whether the Earth's inner core is undergoing changes that can be detected on a human timescale. Their work, which appears in the August 26 issue of the journal Science, measured differences in the time it took seismic waves generated by nearly identical earthquakes up to 35 years apart to travel through the Earth's inner core. Watch an animation that describes this research.
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volcano erupting

Study Reconciles Long-Standing Contradiction of Deep-Earth Dynamics

New databases give researchers a look into processes inside the Earth's mantle
“For thirty years scientists have been debating whether there is a layer in the mantle that has remained unchanged since the formation of the Earth," said Cornelia Class, Doherty Associate Research Scientist. "The new on-line databases made it possible for the first time to reevaluate the geochemical arguments."
Seismic reflection image

Deep Magmatic Plumbing of Mid-Ocean Ridges Revealed

Some of the highest quality images ever taken of the Earth's lower crust reveal that the upper and lower crust form in two distinctly different ways.
Two boys in Burkina Faso

How to Change the World by 2015: The Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals are the world's agreed-upon targets to eradicate the extreme poverty, hunger and disease that kills millions of people each year in the poorest parts of the world. The Earth Institute's nine MDG audio slideshows examine the complex dimensions of extreme poverty, and explain why the eight Millennium Development Goals are a way for the international community to achieve a better world in our lifetime.

Graduate Students Gain Practical Skills in Environmental Policy and Management

There was little rest this summer for students in Columbia’s Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy, who spent the last few months sharpening their knowledge of management and policy issues through the Workshop in Applied Earth Systems Management. Fifty-eight Masters’ candidates gathered in five project teams to design a detailed operational plan for addressing important public policy issues affecting the environment.

Environmental Thesis Project: Green Roofs Could Help NYC Sewage System

Using a computer model she built herself, Debra Tillinger, an environmental science major, came up with a prediction as to how much better New York City’s sewage system would function if plant-covered roofs throughout the city slowed the flow of rainwater to the sewers.
green sea turtle

Researcher Finds Unexpected Result: Perspective

Report From the Field -- Part 5
Joe Spring returns from his research trip to French Frigate Shoals with a few lessons learned.
pedro sanchez and farmers

Ghanaian Villages Making Their Way Out of Poverty

Through programs such as a child nutrition program, immunizations, community farming, and a bank created and led by women, a group of Ghanaian villages outside Accra are making their way out of poverty and "will achieve the Millennium Development Goals," said Jeffrey D. Sachs during his visit there on July 10th.  
green sea turtle

The Trashman Cometh

Report From the Field -- Part 4
Joe Spring reports that a significant amount of trash —bottles, bottle caps, lighters, and even a working can of Cheez Whiz — has washed up on the shore of this remote Pacific island. Where does it come from?  
earthquake graph

The Sound of a Distant Rumble

Researchers Track Underwater Noise Generated by December 26 Earthquake
When the sea floor off the coast of Sumatra split on the morning of December 26, 2004, it took days to measure the full extent of the rupture. Recently, researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed recordings of the underwater sound produced by the magnitude 9.3 earthquake, opening new avenues in seismologic research.

Listen to the December 26th earthquake (mp3) audio graphic 

Gerard Bond

Gerard Bond, a Gifted and Tenacious Scientist, Passes Away at 65

Gerard Clark Bond, a respected and beloved geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and resident of Pearl River, New York passed away on Wednesday June 29. He was 65. "Gerard was one of Lamont's legendary researchers," said Michael Purdy, Director of Lamont-Doherty. "He was a great geologist whose most recent work on variations in solar radiation contributed to our fundamental understanding of changes in the Earth's climate system. He will be sorely missed by the scientific community, by Lamont and, most of all, by his family.
green sea turtle

Eat, Be Eaten or Get Out of the Way

Report From the Field -- Part 3
Joe Spring reports from East Island, a border world where animals of sea, sand and sky collide.
students and headmistress at bar sauri primary school

Cassini Spacecraft Reveals Lake-Like Feature on Titan

Scientists are fascinated by a dark, lake-like feature recently observed on Saturn's moon Titan. NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured a series of images showing a marking, darker than anything else around it.
students and headmistress at bar sauri primary school

Sweating the Science

You can tellit's summer when the mercury hits 90, the trees at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory finally leaf out, and the shuttle bus is packed with new faces. It's June and the summer interns have arrived on campus, bringing with them an infectious enthusiasm for science and a rapid-fire barrage of tough, probing questions.
sri lankans

Reconstruction and An Opportunity for Sustainable Development

Report From the Field
While visiting Sri Lanka to study the tsunami damage, four Earth Institute Fellows find the reconstruction processoffers many opportunities for advancing the goals of sustainable development and improving the lives of the poor beyond simply restoringpre-tsunami conditions.

Audio: Jeffrey D. Sachs and the G-8

In this hour-long interview with journalists, Jeffrey D. Sachs discusses opportunities for the July G-8 Summit and implications for tackling poverty and disease in Africa and worldwide. "If there were a time and way for the G-8 to put the world on a safer course, this is surely it," says Sachs.

With Recovery Comes New Pressure on Resources

Report From the Field -- Part 6
Four Earth Institute Fellowsdoing research in Sri Lanka found thatthe natural environment seems to have withstood the direct force of the tsunami, and the most significant challenges to natural resource management may arise much later.
jeff sachs

With Ethiopia's Health Program Going Strong, Experts Prepare to Measure Impact

A vigorous outreach program in Ethiopia to train, pay and deploy 25,000 young female health care workers is under way. How much impact will this program have in a country where life expectancy is 48 years? slideshow icon View audio slideshow
jeff sachs

Meeting of Global Leaders Aims for Consensus on Addressing Climate Change and World Energy Needs

Senior officials and leading scientists from nearly 100 businesses and business organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions came together on May 11 and 12 for the first in a series of meetings to discuss how to address the challenges posed by climate change.

Earth Institute Receives First Endowed Fund for Earth Clinic

The Countess Moira Charitable Foundation granteda $350,000 endowment to The Earth Institute for projects that help put countries on the path to sustainable development.
piece of dust

Mud Records New York History

Buried far beneath the cattails and blackbirds of marshes in the lower Hudson Valley isevidence of a 500-year drought, the passing of the Little Ice Age, and impacts of European settlers.

Center for Research on Environmental Decisions Launched

A new center to investigate individual and group decision making under climate uncertainty and environmental risk has been created with a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $5.9 million. The Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED), based at Columbia University, celebrated its official launch in a ceremony at Low Library on Wednesday, May 4.
piece of dust

Earth Institute Receives $2.4 Million Grant to Study Urban Land Use and Transportation in Developing Countries

New Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) plans first project in Ruiru, Kenya
The Earth Institute at Columbia University has been awarded a five-year $2.4 million grant by the Volvo Foundation to establish a new Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD). The center, under the direction of Elliott Sclar, Professor of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, will focus on the utilization of land use and transportation planning to create physically and socially sustainable cities in developing countries.
two women

Scientists Confirm Earth's Energy Is Out Of Balance

Using satellites, data from buoys and computer models to study the Earth's oceans, scientists have concluded that more energy is being absorbed from the Sun than is emitted back to space, throwing the Earth's energy "out of balance" and warming the planet.
two women

Girl Power Science

On Saturday, April 30, approximately 40 girls in middle school and high school from the Lower East Side will travel to Lamont-Doherty's sprawling green campus in Palisades, New York, to meet with some of the nation’s top researchers and learn about critical topics in science not normally covered in the classroom.
piece of dust

Written in Dust

Many scientists fight a never-ending battle against dust in their laboratory. Lamont-Doherty researcher Gisela Winckler, however, can’t get enough. Before you send her what’s under your bed, though, she’s only interested in a very special kind of dust — the kind that rains down on the Earth from outer space.
ocean conveyor belt graphic

Sea Level More Variable Than Previously Thought

Scientists using a new method of dating fossil coral reefs have uncovered evidence that sea level is capable of changing by as much as 30 meters in just a few thousand years — more quickly and more dramatically than previously believed. The study, carried out by geochemists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, appears in the April 15 issue ofScience.

China Must Confront Growing Environmental Challenges, Concludes Panel of Experts

One of the world’s most populous countries, China has reduced the number of people living in extreme poverty by as much as 60 percent and is now a leader in global trade and annual growth. Coupled with these successes, however, are challenges that pose significant threats not only to China’s economic, political and social stability, but also to the health and well-being of the international community.
ocean conveyor belt graphic

Study Offers Alternative View on How Faults Form in the Ocean's Depths

Scientists have long held the belief that the fracturing of the Earth's brittle outer shell into faults along the deep ocean's mountainous landscape occurs only during long periods when no magma has intruded. Challenging this predominant theory, findings from a completed study show how differences in mid-ocean ridge magma-induced activity produce distinctly different types of ocean floor faulting.
ocean conveyor belt graphic

Ice Age Ocean Circulation Reacted To, Did Not Cause, Climate Change at Glacial Boundaries

New tracer demonstrates carbon cycle changes preceded thermohaline changes
Scientists from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) have provided new evidence that ocean circulation changes lagged behind, and were not the cause of, major climate changes at the beginning and end of the last ice age, according to a study published in the March 2005 issue of Science magazine.

A Dollar a Day in Sauri, Kenya

For a closer look at life on "One Dollar a Day," please watch this video:
RealPlayer (8:05) Quicktime (8:05)

For more about the Millennium Villages Project, visit the Millenium Villages website.

Kenyan Village Serves as Test Case in Fight on Poverty

"Led by Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, the project aims to fight poverty in all its aspects — from health and education to agriculture and energy in one focused area — to prove that conditions for millions of people like Ms. Odera and her neighbors can be improved in just five years."
From The New York Times, April 5, 2005

First Marie Tharp Fellowships Awarded

The ADVANCE Program of The Earth Institute at Columbia University has awarded its first Marie Tharp Fellowships to three women scientists whose research includes studies of southern hemisphere atmospheric circulation, thermochronoloogy and tropical resources. The fellows will spend 1-3 months working alongside Earth Institute research scientists, faculty and post-doctoral students.

CERC Helps Environmental Journalists Understand Changing Science

In an effort to inform the public of the ever-greater demand on the world’s natural resources — costs of which run into the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars annually — CERC, the New York Times Foundation and Nurture New York's Nature hosted a week-long intensive program for journalists, presenting tools to interpret and report on sometimes-conflicting scientific information about leading environmental issues.

Damaged Forests Might Be Better Left to Mother Nature’s Devices

Since 1999 Christina Rumbaitis-del Rio, an Earth Institute fellow, has been studying the ability of forests to recover after a natural event, such as a forest fire, and how salvage logging, a practice that clears felled trees, affects the overall resilience of a coniferous forest.

Risk Analysis Reports Over Half of World’s Population Exposed to One or More Major Natural Hazard

s Researchers from Columbia University and The World Bank have published a report entitled, “Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis,” that presents a global view of disaster risks associated with some major natural hazards — drought, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. The report identifies high-risk geographic regions so that development efforts can be better informed and designed to reduce disaster-related losses in the future.
Screenshot of CCIR site

Earth Institute Launches New York Area Climate Change Information Portal

Can local planners use data to prevent disaster?
On Tuesday, March 29, 2005, The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at the Earth Institute at Columbia will launch a new web portal providing comprehensive information on climate change in the New York Metropolitan area.
transit worker

The Growing Urbanization of the World

GRUMP mapping project finds urban areas increasing in surprising ways
The majority of the world’s population will soon live in urban rather than rural areas. Adding a spatial dimension to population estimates, a new study finds that as much as three percentof the Earth’s land area has already been urbanized, which is double previous estimates. This new data collection, known as the Global Rural Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP), has provided the basis for a number of important insights not previously known. This project is led by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), part of the Earth Institute.
sachs book jacket

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

Jeffrey D. Sachs writes a realistic blueprint for worldwide economic success
"Extreme poverty can be ended, not in the time of our grandchildren, but our time." Thus forecasts Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of The Earth Institute, whose twenty-five years of experience observing the world from many vantage points have helped him shed light on the most vital issues facing our planet: the causes of poverty, the role of rich-country policies, and the very real possibilities for a poverty-free future — a goal, he argues, we can reach in a mere 20 years.

Researcher Wades In

Most people hike through forests, but CERC post-doc Robin Sears likes to canoe through them. In South America, parts of the Amazon rainforest can be flooded seasonally with up to 40 feet of water. In her research, Sears stands waste-deep in flooded farm fields studying growth and survival rates of Calycophyllum spruceanum, a fast-growing tree used locally as fuel and building material. Her research on tree and seedling growth rates and survival helps farmers plan for future yields and contributes to the understanding of its natural history.

Ethnobotanist Who Helped Define Field Receives International Award

Michael J. Balick, whose research helped to transform the field of ethnobotany into an internationally recognized academic discipline, has received the 2004 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award for his efforts to promote scientific collaboration within the field of ethnobotany. Balick is adjunct professor at Columbia's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology and Director and Philecology Curator of the Institute of Economic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden.
transit worker

Researching Airborne Metals in Transit Workers’ Bodies

A pilot study gathers baseline information on subway workers’ exposure Working in the subway
several hours each day, subway workers and transit police breathe more subway air than the typical commuter. Subway air has been shown to contain more steel dust than outdoor or other indoor air in New York City. But do transit workers’ bodies harbor elevated levels of these metals? And does this translate into a health concern for the workers?

Contemplating Himalayas, Columbia Scientist Finds His Groove

At the age of 24, Peter Kelemen visited the Himalayas and found himself looking at now-solidified outcrops of the Earth’s mantle containing veins where lavas reacted with solid rock during their ascent to volcanoes on the surface. He asked himself, “How could lava have passed through so much rock and not be fundamentally changed?”
wax model in action

Wax Work

Wax proves a perfect model of the Earth’s crust
Using a tub of wax, geophysicists from Cornell and Columbia University have made a predictive modelfor one of the most important and poorly understood features of plate tectonics.This research links wax models with genuine patterns in the Earth’s crust for the first time. watch movie of wax in action (Quicktime, 2:05) video graphic
Lake Powell half full due to drought

Drought to Persist in North America Due to La Niña

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory experts form climate modeling group to track data
Using observations and models, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists learn that all the major dry and wet events in the American West in the last century and a half were forced by slowing varying tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs).
James Cameron and Maya Tolstoy

The Real Life Aquatic

Director James Cameron’s New IMAX Film Puts Columbia Scientist in the Deep Sea
James Cameron, who has won Academy Awards for Titanic and The Terminator,has a passion for deep-sea science that fueled his most recent work, the science documentary "Aliens of the Deep," which is to be released in IMAX theatres across the country, and features Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientist Maya Tolstoy.

Finland Tops Environmental Scorecard at World Economic Forum

The 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), to be released at the World Economic Forum on January 27, ranks countries on 21 elements of environmental sustainability, and was produced jointly by researchers at Columbia's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and Yale University.

LDEO Marine Seismic Research Contributes to Global Tsunami Detection and Warning System

Marine seismic research will play aninvaluable role in providing the same level of warning currently in the Pacific Ocean to the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. In January 2005 the Bush Administration committed $37.5 million to expand the current global tsunami detection and warning systems.

Early Warning Systems for Malaria and Other Climate-Sensitive Diseases Focus of New Collaborative Center

The new center, directed by the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction's Stephen Connor, a specialist in the geography of infectious diseases, will facilitate improved knowledge and application of seasonal climate forecasts in regions facing high incidences of climate-related diseases such as malaria, dengue and cholera, with malaria alone threatening more than 110 million people living in epidemic prone regions in Africa.

São Tomé and Príncipe Enacts Model Oil Revenue Management Law

A team of experts from the Earth Institute and Hogan & Hartson LLP, working pro bono, assisted São Tomé and Príncipe in its year-long effort to develop and enact a new international standard for transparency and control of oil revenues. "Nothing will be hidden, nothing will be wasted," said São Tomé and Príncipe President Fradique de Menezes.

New Technologies Reduce Exposure of Bangladeshi Villagers to Arsenic in Groundwater

Columbia professor’s statistical tool to help in well-digging
Well diggers in Araihazar, Bangladesh will soon be able to take advantage of a cell phone-based data system, developed at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, to target safe groundwater aquifers for installing new wells that are not tainted with arsenic. Using a new needle-sampler (also developed at the Earth Institute), they will be able to test whether the water is safe during drilling and before a well isinstalled.

Satellite Imagery Helping Tsunami Relief Effort

Satellite images are helping to target relief efforts in regions devastated by the Asian tsunamis of December 26. Maps like the one here are based on vegetation loss, which at this resolution "is the clearest indication of where the damage is", says Christopher Small, a geophysicist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.