State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


AGU Honors Scientists from Lamont-Doherty

Robin Bell
Robin Bell, in Antarctica

A half-dozen Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists were to be honored by the American Geophysical Union at its annual fall conference in San Francisco tonight in various ways:

Robin Bell, Edward Cook and Maureen Raymo were among the 60 scientists named 2011 fellows of the AGU. Bell is a leader in polar studies in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Her work with colleagues from several nations in Antarctica uncovered vast lakes beneath the continent’s ice sheet, mapped the ice-buried Gamburtsev Mountains and unraveled the mystery of the origin and evolution of the huge mountain range. The research also discovered another unusual phenomenon: the refreezing of subglacial water onto the bottom of the ice sheet.

Ed Cook
Ed Cook

Cook, a co-founder and director of the Tree Ring Lab at Lamont, has helped lead the effort to map histories of drought going back 2,000 years in some areas. The work by Cook and colleagues to catalog tree ring samples taken from tens of thousands of trees helped produce the first “drought atlases” for North America and Asia. The results give climate modelers reams of valuable data to help fine-tune their understanding of major global climate patterns, such as the Asian monsoons.

Maureen Raymo
Maureen Raymo

Raymo, who came to Lamont this year, was honored “for leading paleooceanography and paleoclimatology in numerous, comparably important directions.” She studies the history and causes of climate change in the Earth’s past. Raymo joined Lamont this summer from Boston University and now oversees the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository, the world’s largest collection of seafloor sediments.

The first-ever $25,000 Climate Communications Prize was given to Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which is affiliated with the Earth Institute.

Gavin Schmidt
Gavin Schmidt

Schmidt, who helped start RealClimate, an influential blog on climate topics aimed at both scientists and the public, often finds himself in the middle of the often contentious public discussion over climate.

Tiffany Shaw and Arlene Fiore were honored for early-career achievement in the atmospheric sciences. Shaw, a physicist, uses computer models and mathematical equations to study the basic dynamics of the atmosphere and climate. Fiore is an atmospheric chemist studying the interplay between climate change and air pollution levels. Shaw came to Lamont-Doherty last fall from New York University and has joint appointments with Columbia’s Earth & Environmental Sciences and Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics departments. Her award, the James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award, comes with a $1,000 prize

Fiore is a lead author for the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fifth assessment report. She arrived at Lamont-Doherty this fall, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. Her research has focused on ground level ozone pollution and the effects of methane emissions on air quality and climate, and how reduced methane emissions may provide economic and health benefits. The AGU presented her with the James B. Macelwane Medal. She won the Holton Junior Scientist Award in 2005.

Tiffany Shaw
Tiffany Shaw
Arlene Fiore
Arlene Fiore
Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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