State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Park Williams Discovers History and Science in a Tree Ring


Park Williams studies trees and climate, in particular the causes of drought and the effects of climate change on forests. An assistant research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, he travels all over—across the western United States, to the Ozark Mountains, to Ethiopia—and drills into trees to discover their past. Using tree rings and other data, he maps out past climate and the trees’ responses. Some of his recent work helped establish a strong connection between warming climate and the increase in wildfires out West.

In this latest in a series of Earth Institute videos, we spoke to him about what he does, what’s important about it, and how his interest in history and environmental science blended into a career. For more in the series, look here.

Video by the Columbia News Video Team.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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