News from the Columbia Climate School

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Building Resilience: Post-Sandy Resources for Journalists

sandy ny skyline
(Karen Peterson/flickr Creative Commons)

(Updated Oct. 13, 2017)  Earth Institute scientists across many disciplines are playing key roles in helping New York move forward following Hurricane Sandy. Many were already advising the city about the potential effects of sea-level rise, storm surge, climate change and related issues before the storm hit, For better or worse, their predictions were vindicated, and they now continue efforts to help make infrastructure and population more resilient and sustainable. Researchers include experts in the physics of extreme weather; impacts of climate change; disaster response; transportation infrastructure; and the sociological, cultural, legal and political aspects of climate and natural catastrophes. Below is a partial list of researchers, from our centers including Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Center for Climate Systems Research, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the Center for Climate Change Law, the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, and the newly joined National Center for Disaster Preparedness. Journalists may contact researchers directly, or call press officers listed at bottom. Many articles by and about the scientists, and their previous media appearances, are at our Hurricane Sandy blog. Much media is also on our In the Media (Big City) page.

Roger N. Anderson
Research scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Anderson is an expert on the New York area power grid. He is a consultant for the electric company Con Edison, in its ongoing efforts to design “smart” grids that use computing power to minimize overloads. He is a strong advocate of burying power lines underground and taking other steps to head off power outages.
Home page
Article by Anderson on power transmission
Article on “microgrids”
Contact:,   713 398-7430, 212-870-2271

Tony Barnston
Chief forecaster, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). Barnston is an expert on cyclical factors that drive large-scale weather systems over months and years, as well as in the short term. These include phenomena such as the El Nino/La Nina oscillation over the Pacific Ocean, and similar systems over the Atlantic. The IRI’s forecasts are used globally to anticipate extreme weather of various kinds, and help societies adapt to extreme weather.

Home page

Contact::, 845 680 4447

Steven Cohen


Executive director, The Earth Institute. Cohen is a prolific writer and commentator on urban infrastructure and resilience, environment, climate change and related political and cultural issues. He heads the Earth Institute’s educational programs focusing on sustainable business and government practice. A native New Yorker, he previously served with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Huffington Post blog

Contact:, 212-854-4445. Assistant: Courtney Small   212-854-4445, 347- 417-4155

George Deodatis

Professor, Columbia Engineering School

Sea level, climate and storm surge effects on transport, urban infrastructure; storm barriers, other long-term engineering solutions

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NY State report on response to climate change

Contact:  212-854-9728

Michael Gerrard

Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School. Gerrard is a leading expert in environmental law–particularly in regard to climate change, and the effects of rising sea level on coastal and island areas. Recently, he and colleagues have focused on the legal implications of natural disasters, and how governments can address issues such as buying out owners in flood-afflicted areas.


Home page

Contact:, 212-854-3287

Lisa Goddard

Director, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). The IRI’s forecasts are used globally to anticipate extreme weather of various kinds, and help societies adapt to extreme weather. Goddard is expert on medium-term climate forecasting, the effects of weather,climate and sea level on infrastructure, and physical adaptations to shifting climate. She is a member of the National Academy of Science’s Climate Research Committee.

Home page

Contact:, 845-6

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.