The Smoking Gun of Plate Tectonics

Fifty years ago, a graduate student named Walter Pitman made a discovery that would change the way we see our planet. It was late at night, and Pitman was reviewing charts of ship data that had just come off the computer. What Pitman saw in those lines presented to the public on April 20, 1966  was the smoking gun that confirmed the theory of seafloor spreading and set the stage for our understanding of plate tectonics.

Surfers Team Up with Scientists to Support the Ocean

The World Surf League is giving new meaning to the phrase "never turn your back on the ocean" it's launching an innovative philanthropy and partnership with Lamont's Center for Climate and Life dedicated to supporting ocean research and education at a critical time. Hear from scientists about what this kind of support means.

Global Warming Pushes Wines Into Uncharted Terroir

In much of France and Switzerland, the best wine years are traditionally those with abundant spring rains followed by an exceptionally hot summer and late-season drought. A new study from Ben Cook shows that warming climate has largely removed the drought factor from the early-harvest equation. It's the latest sign that global warming is affecting agriculture.

New Data Lower Estimates of Carbon Released by Plants

Plants breathe, and when it gets hotter they breathe harder, releasing carbon dioxide. But it turns out that there are limits to just how much more CO2 they might release, and that the rates of increase slow in an easily predictable way as temperatures rise, not just in one region but around the world, a new study from Kevin Griffin finds. 

Seismology’s Top U.S. Award Goes to a Pioneer in Rock Mechanics

Christopher Scholz has been breaking ground in earthquake science and expanding our knowledge of faults and how rocks behave under stress for nearly 50 years. For his pioneering work in rock mechanics, Scholz is being honored today by the Seismological Society of America with its top award, the Harry Fielding Reid Medal.

Accounting for Volcanoes Using Tools of Economics

When Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it spewed so much dust and sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, their cooling effect disrupted agriculture and led to "the year without a summer.” A new statistical method developed by Jason Smerdon and colleagues is helping scientists estimate the climate impact of past eruptions through time.

In the News 

The New Yorker: The End of Ice  Mike Kaplan & Aaron Putnam

The Desert Sun: What Loss of Snowpack Means for Water Supplies Justin Mankin

BBC: This Is How Far Sea Level Could Rise Thanks to Climate Change  Maureen Raymo & Anders Levermann

Washington Post: Not Just Antarctica — Why Greenland Could Melt Faster than Expected  Marco Tedesco

Fox News: Tracking Earthquakes in the New York Area Jim Gaherty

Catch Up with Our Scientists 

Zeroing in on Life Around a Hydrothermal Vent   Vicki Ferrini

Even in a Warming World, It Will Still Snow Somewhere   Adam Sobel

A Migration Mystery   Natalie Boelman

'Popping Rocks' and Robots   Elise Rumpf

Upcoming Events 

Earth Day  Join our scientists for an Earth Day Fair at St. Thomas Aquinas College on April 22

Earth Science Colloquium  Tiffany Shaw returns to Lamont-Doherty to give the colloquium on April 22

Northern Valley Earth Day Fair  Our scientists plan presentations at the Earth Day celebration in Cresskill on April 23

World Science Festival  Join Margie Turrin for the Great Fish Count, part of the World Science Festival on June 4
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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.