News Archive

2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001


Scientists Urge Revised Policies to Address Arsenic Problem in Bangladesh

An international group of scientists are suggesting new priorities for the next government of Bangladesh to advance the country's fight against naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater.

Mapping Socioeconomic Data Reveals Trends

Maps of U.S. Census data reveal trends in 35 categories such as housing density, linguistically isolated households, motor vehicle use, and education level.
angat reservoir in Philippines

In Philippines, El Niño Means Drought

Casey Brown arrived in Manila in early November on the heels of a "super typhoon" that clocked 125-mile-per-hour winds. But for Manila, home to more than 10 million people, it is drought -- not typhoons -- that has led to rising tensions between urban dwellers and farmers who work just outside the city.
New Orleans flooded by Katrina

What's in an Isotope? Quite a Lot

A new technique developed by researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory now allows scientists to use an isotope of manganese that is not abundant on Earth to understand the record of millions of years of changes to the Earth’s surface.
New Orleans flooded by Katrina

Accounting for Katrina's Dead

A new project seeks to compile an online list of all Gulf Coast residents who died as a result of direct and indirect effects of the storm, calling on those who were there to contribute information.
sauri residents

Gates Foundation Awards $15 Million to Support Science-Based Effort to End Poverty in Africa

The Earth Institute at Columbia University today announced that it has received $15 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to advance scientific research and efforts to slash poverty, disease and hunger in Africa. The grant supports The Earth Institute at Columbia University, which is currently working in 10 African countries to battle the complex challenges of poverty with proven scientific interventions and policy recommendations at the local and national levels.

Edmund G. Phelps, Seminal Figure in Modern Economics, Wins Nobel Prize

Edmund Phelps, a seminal figure in modern economics, has won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. Phelps is head of the Center on Capitalism & Society at Columbia University, now within the Earth Institute, which conducts and promotes research on capitalism. He is McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia.

Alaskans Feel the Heat of Global Warming

A new study shows that four out of five Alaskans believe global warming is happening and is a serious threat to the state. The statewide survey involved telephone interviews with more than 1,000 Alaskan adults, and was conducted early this summer.
map of new york city

Lamont-Doherty Breaks Ground on New Geochemistry Building

The building will replace the existing geochemistry building, which dates from the early 1950's and can no longer support the kinds of leading-edge research needed to answer the most pressing questions about Earth and its climate. The new building is made possible by an $18 million gift from Gary Comer.
poverty map

New 'Poverty Atlas' Shows Where the Poor Live

"The revolutionary advances in poverty mapping have made it possible to be precise about things we used to only generalize about," says Marc Levy, Associate Director for Science Applications at CIESIN. "Connections between poverty and climatic conditions, soil fertility, exposure to natural disasters, access to transportation networks, and other important drivers, are beginning to come into sharp relief."
global temperatures

New Study Finds World Temperatures Approaching Ancient Levels

A new study led by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a part of The Earth Institute, finds that the world's temperature is reaching a level that has not been seen in thousands of years.
map of new york city

Earth Institute to Advise New York City on Sustainability, Mayor Announces

As part of a new initiative, The Earth Institute will provide New York City with scientific research and advice on environmental and climate change-related issues.
parking lot graphic

Holey Asphalt: New Lamont Parking Lot will Help Reduce Runoff

Rain washing off of a conventional, impervious asphalt surface can carry oil, grit and other unwanted materials into local sewers or surrounding water bodies. But this new parking lot will capture nearly every single drop of water that hits it.
Anise Khadem Nwachuku in Mozambique

Profile: World Citizen Finds Academic Home in Columbia Ph.D. Program

"My earliest memories are of living in post-invasion Grenada," said Anisa Khadem Nwachuku, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in sustainable development from Columbia University.

Honda Prize Awarded to Innovation Research Pioneer Richard R. Nelson

Nelson will be the 27th laureate of the prize, honoring his pioneering research in the field of economics of innovation.

Hurricane Katrina: Don't Blame Nature

It has been one year since hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans and a sizeable stretch of the Gulf Coast. What made that event a disaster, however, happened well before the storm actually came ashore.
shahid naeem

Video: How Much is Nature Worth?

What if biodiversity were to disappear and we counted on the conventional utilities and services providers to take over?
marie tharp

Remembered: Marie Tharp, Pioneering Mapmaker of the Ocean Floor

Marie Tharp, a pathbreaking oceanographic cartographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, co-creator of the first global map of the ocean floor and co-discoverer of the central rift valley that runs through the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, died August 23, 2006 in Nyack Hospital.
report cover

New Report Assesses Foreign Direct Investment in 82 Countries to 2010

The volume examines various factors that suggest a new boom in FDI flows, as well as a number of factors that suggest a backlash against FDI may be in the making.
students learn about restoration ecology

Learning How the 'Unnatural' Becomes Natural Through Restoration Ecology

Many of New York City's natural respites are not natural at all, making this an ideal place to study restoration ecology.
Eun Soo Lim

Columbia Student Advises Community on How to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Eun Soo Lim, a graduate student in the Climate and Society program, will present an action plan to a Washington city council with practical ways the government and the community at large can cut fuel and electricity consumption.
ice core

Cosmic Dust in Ice Cores Sheds Light on Earth's Past Climate

Each year nearly 40,000 tons of cosmic dust fall to Earth from outer space. Now, the first successful chronological study of extraterrestrial dust in Antarctic ice has shown that this amount has remained largely constant over the past 30,000 years, a finding that could help efforts to understand the Earth's past climate.
Jeffrey Sachs and President Grimsson of Iceland

It's 2025. Where Do Most People Live?

Over the next 19 years, the Earth's population of 6.5 billion is projected to increase by 1-2 billion. An innovative new map shows where they might live.
improved cookstove in Sauri, Kenya

Report #4: Lessons Learned, Locally

The goal of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is to help Sauri, and several other villages in sub-Saharan Africa, develop economically. The hard question, and where my master’s project fits in, is: Can development happen in a way that is sustainable for the environment? read his reports from the field
improved cookstove in Sauri, Kenya

Building a Better Cookstove in Mayange, Rwanda

In areas throughout the world, prolonged inhalation of indoor smoke leads to illness and disability for many, as well as more than 1 million deaths per year. Earth Institute Fellow Susan Doll is working with local partners in Mayange, Rwanda, a Millennium Village, to help find a better way to cook meals that are easier on the health of villagers and the environment. View slideshow
Jeffrey Sachs and President Grimsson of Iceland

Study Shows Lack of National Consensus on Teaching K-12 Students Human-Environmental Impacts

More states mandate that science educators teach students about society's impacts on the environment than ways the environment impacts society.
sauri resident

Report From the Field: I'm Not Here to Eat Your Birds!

Less than 100 years ago western Kenya, including Sauri, was part of a jungle. Today nearly all of western Kenya's original rainforest has been cleared for agriculture. Journalism student Justin Nobel's research in Sauri aims to determine what type of avian diversity this modified landscape supports.
Jeffrey Sachs and President Grimsson of Iceland

The Earth Institute and the University of Iceland Sign Agreement to Promote Research Cooperation and Academic Exchange

The Earth Institute and the University of Iceland signed an agreement on June 13, 2006, setting the stage for future cooperation on global climate change, sustainable development and technological responses to climate change.
aftermath of earthquake in Indonesia

Oceanographer Dwi Susanto Provides a View from his Earthquake Stricken Hometown in Indonesia

On Saturday morning May 27, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale struck the Indonesian island of Java. As of June 6, the death toll according to the Indonesian government had surpassed 5,800 people, with 3,000 from Bantul Regency (District), and close to 38,000 injured. The worst-hit areas in the regency are Imogiri and Jetis, where my parents live.
glacial moraine surrounding Lake Pukaki in southern New Zealand

New Study of Glacial Retreat Shows that Much of the World Emerged from Last Ice Age at Nearly the Same Time

A new study appearing in the upcoming issue of the journal Science suggests that, except for regions of the North Atlantic, most of the Earth began warming at the same time roughly 17,500 years ago.
 whydah bird

Report From the Field: The Enchanting Tale of the Whydah Bird Tail

According to local folklore, a salve of dried, crushed pygmy kingfisher applied to the back of a teething child's neck will allow the child to sleep; and roasted cardinal woodpecker fed to a sick cow will make it produce milk. A swallow entering the home of a barren woman will help her conceive, and anyone who kills the friendly African pied wagtail be visited in the night by the bird's kin, who will then burn the person's house down.
President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Nirupam Bajpai, director of the South Asia Program

Working with Rural Communities in India: Q & A with Nirupam Bajpai

>Nirupam Bajpai is leading a team of Earth Institute experts along with faculty from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to help scale-up the provision of essential services such as health care and education, among others, in some of the most underserved areas of India.
Weaver Birds

Report From the Field: Hedgerows in Sauri are a Birder's (and a Graduate Student's) Paradise

Justin Nobel, a first-year Earth and Environmental Science Journalism student, is spending his summer studying the diversity and ecological importance of birds in Sauri, Kenya. Read his reports from the field.
G. Michael Purdy

G. Michael Purdy Awarded 2006 Maurice Ewing Medal

Honor by the American Geophysical Union recognizes more than 30-year commitment as a researcher, administrator and innovator in the earth sciences G. Michael Purdy, director of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was recently named as the recipient of the 2006 Maurice Ewing Medal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). According to the AGU, the award recognizes his "significant and original contributions to our understanding of oceanic crustal structure and as a developer of new geophysical instrumentation for use in the deep sea."
Deatail of coastal zone graphic for Vietnam

Researchers Assess Risks Associated with Living in Low-Lying Coastal Areas

A recently published study by researchers from The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the International Institute for Environment and Development suggests that as much as 10 percent of the world's population is vulnerable to sea-level rise.

Water shortages in Northeast Linked to Human Activity

With the summer approaching, new research has shown that recent water emergencies in the Northeast have resulted from more than just dry weather. Instead, researchers from The Earth Institute at Columbia University found droughts had more direct, human causes. The result is a condition known as demand-driven drought that may catch more water managers and residents off-guard in coming years.
earth day

Earth: Utilities Included

Earth's been a terrific home thanks to all those plants, animals, and microorganisms, conveniently referred to as biodiversity. But what if they stopped working? Or maybe worse — what if they sent us a bill?

Tough Environmental Policy Question? Bring in the MPAs

One hundred million personal computers were disposed of in 2004, and they are not benign — computers contain hazardous materials harmful to human health and the environment, and no policy exists to manage this e-waste. Is anyone working on this problem? The MPA's are.

Movement to End Poverty Goes Urban in Africa

The Earth Institute at Columbia University, in partnership with the Columbia University Program on International Investment, and with support from the UN Millennium Project, is launching the Millennium Cities Initiative, which aims to fast-track the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in some of the poorest cities in the world.

Could Reducing Global Dimming Mean a Hotter, Dryer World?

Despite concerns over global warming, scientists have discovered something that may have actually limited the impact of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in recent years by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth.
tuberculosis testing in Rwanda

Despite Complexities, Test for TB Could Increase Rapid Diagnoses in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa shoulders 27 percent of the 8 million new annual tuberculosis cases. Yanis Ben Amor, an Earth Institute Fellow, is working to improve the situation by bringing a rapid and more sensitive diagnostic to the hardest hit areas of Africa.
malaria bed net

Breaking the Bottlenecks to Fighting Malaria in Africa

Despite comprehensive national malaria control plans, a complex process of fund transfers, tenders and approvals and a shortage of key anti-malarial commodities can lead to delays of months or years long. Led by the Earth Institute, "Breaking the Bottlenecks" is a groundbreaking initiative to help ensure the smooth and fast transport of anti-malarial commodities and accelerate anti-malarial efforts in 10 African countries.

Does Access to Public Transportation Increase Property Values?

Student researcher Ramon Munoz-Raskin, an urban planning graduate student at Columbia University, analyzes whether the implementation of a bus rapid transit system (BRT) has effects on residential property values. In other words: If your property falls within the proximity of a mass transit solution, is it worth more?
Scott Kaufman

Earth Institute, Recycling Company Partnership Offers Win-Win Solutions

The Earth Engineering Center (EEC) at the Earth Institute has helped to launch a company that uses an innovative rewards system to increase household recycling. The company, RecycleBank, operates under the belief that recycling rates go up when people are paid to recycle.
Map of seismic events in Greenland

Glacial Earthquakes Point to Rising Temperatures in Greenland

Seismologists at Columbia University and Harvard University have found a new indicator that the Earth is warming: "glacial earthquakes" caused when the rivers of ice lurch unexpectedly and produce tremblors. Glacial earthquakes in Greenland, the researchers found, have more than doubled in number since 2002.

Study Offers Preview of Ice Sheet Melting, Rapid Climate Changes

The behavior of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet at the end of the last Ice Age may preview loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet due to global warming.

Reining in Carbon Dioxide Levels Imperative but Possible

Affordable solutions exist to the problem of rising carbon dioxide levels, writes Jeffrey D. Sachs and Klaus Lackner in a new Brookings Institute publication.

BBC interview with Jeffrey D. Sachs on fighting malaria

"My hope is that by 2008 we have comprehensive malaria control in place across rural Africa." Interview broadcast on BBC's "Focus on Africa," January 29, 2006

Climate Forecasting Systems Help Predict Malaria Risk in Africa

A recent study published in Nature shows that climate forecasts can help predict malaria epidemics many months in advance.
antarctic lake

Two New Lakes Found Beneath Antarctic Ice Sheet

Lake Vostok may be the best-known and largest subglacial lake in the world, but it is not alone down there. Scientists have identified more than 145 other lakes trapped under ice.
chagas disease

Infectious Diseases Thrive as Human Population Grows

Humans have provoked a lot of wobbling in the global food web, and one result is the explosion of infectious diseases.
india residents headload water

Researchers Confirm Role of Massive Flood in Climate Change

At the end of the last Ice Age and the beginning of the current warming period, two ancient lakes catastrophically emptied into the North Atlantic, causing parts of the world to cool. Now climate modelers have reproduced the climate changes caused by this massive freshwater pulse that happened 8,000 years ago.