Seafloor Volcano Pulses May Alter Climate

Vast ranges of volcanoes hidden under the oceans are presumed by scientists to be the gentle giants of the planet, oozing lava at slow, steady rates along mid-ocean ridges. But a study by marine geophysicist Maya Tolstoy shows that they flare up on strikingly regular cycles, ranging from two weeks to 100,000 years—and, that they erupt almost exclusively during the first six months of each year. The pulses—apparently tied to short- and long-term changes in earth’s orbit, and to sea levels—may help trigger natural climate swings. The findings suggest that models of Earth’s natural climate dynamics, and by extension human-influenced climate change, may have to be adjusted.

Did Climate Change Help Spark The Syrian War?

A new study by Lamont climate scientists says a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing manmade climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising. The drought, the worst ever recorded in the region, destroyed agriculture in the breadbasket region of northern Syria, driving dispossessed farmers to cities, where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011. The conflict has since evolved into a complex multinational war that has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced millions.

Guide to Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork

This year, Lamont scientists will lead and participate in more than 70 research expeditions around the world, on every continent and in every ocean. Their efforts will generate new insights about the origin and evolution of Earth in fields as diverse as seismology, biogeochemistry and oceanography. Explore our guide to our upcoming fieldwork and discover where our scientists are headed and what they plan to study.

Our Experts in the News 

Nature: Mercury Seen as Never Before
L.A. Times: Jawbone of Early Human Puts Evolution in a Whole New Light
The New Yorker: A Thirsty, Violent World
NBC News: Eco-Drones Aid Researchers in Fight to Save the Environment
Scientific American: U.S. Droughts Will Be the Worst in 1,000 Years
Make A Gift
Your support helps to revolutionize the ways that Earth science research is conducted, taught and understood.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory seeks fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. Our scientists study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean, providing a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humanity.