Climate

by Michael Shirber, for Astrobiology Magazine Wind and dust conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa can help predict a meningitis epidemic. Determining the role of climate in the spread of certain diseases can assist health officials in “forecasting” epidemics.

In something as tiny as a speck of dust lies the potential to change earth’s climate. When winds blow iron-rich dust off the continents, they give the plant-like algae floating on the surface of the oceans added nutrients to grow faster.

The R/V Polarstern during cruise ANTXXVI/2. Photo: Jürgen Gossler, Alfred-Wegener-Institut

In spring 2010, the research icebreaker Polarstern returned from the South Pacific with a scientific treasure—ocean sediments from a largely unexplored part of the vast, remote ocean that surrounds Antarctica—the Southern Ocean.

Sonya Dyhrman’s interest in marine biology began when she was a child, exploring tidal pools with her grandfather on the coast near her Tacoma.

As a scientist, Sean Solomon has studied Mercury, Venus and Mars. Now he heads Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, whose researchers study planet Earth, from its deepest ocean to its highest peak.

The year since Hurricane Sandy blew ashore in the New York area has been one of rebuilding and searching for how best to prevent the level of destruction and death it brought with it.

A recent slowdown in global warming has led some skeptics to renew their claims that industrial carbon emissions are not causing a century-long rise in Earth’s surface temperatures.

Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, Gavin Schmidt of Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Mike Hulme of University of East Anglia at the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative.

As the average local temperature continues to rise, climate change is a major topic on campus this summer. It is the focus of the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative, an annual interdisciplinary program that uses historical analysis to examine problems in world politics.

When scientists talk about climate change, they usually mean significant changes in the measures of climate over several decades or longer. Climate variability generally refers to seasonal changes over a year or so.

Extreme weather can wreak havoc on cities and their economies. Damage from hurricanes Katrina and Sandy is estimated at more than $150 billion and over $60 billion, respectively.

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