Amid Storms of Debate, Columbia Climate Change Experts Stay Focused on the Science

November 16, 2015
Climate Change NASA Glacier Melting Columbia University

The image above depicts the effects climate change has had on Alaska's Muir Glacier. The photo on the left was taken on Aug 13, 1941 by William O. Field. The photo on the right was taken by Bruce F. Molnia on Aug 31, 2004.

Some 40 years ago a Columbia professor coined the phrase “global warming.” Wallace Broecker (CC’53, GSAS’58), the Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, published an article titled "Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” in a 1975 issue of Science magazine.

Today the University’s leadership in climate research remains at the forefront of scientific debate, solidifying a tradition that dates back to the early days of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the 1950s to Columbia's Earth Institute, which was established in 1995 and now encompasses 30 research centers around the University. Amid the questions, concerns and politics swirling about the topic, Columbia researchers remain firmly focused on the science.

Hundreds of researchers across Columbia’s schools and campuses study various aspects of climate. They include professors from the engineering and law schools to the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of International and Public Affairs.

“Columbia is keenly committed to engaging and supporting its faculty—and the local and global community—in counteracting the short- and long-term threats to our planet’s environmental resiliency,” said G. Michael Purdy, Columbia’s executive vice president for research and a professor of earth and environmental sciences.