State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Pratigya Polissar Sees Landscapes Changing Through a Microscope

The word fossils typically conjures images of T-Rexes and trilobites. Pratigya Polissar thinks micro: A paleoclimatologist, he digs into old sediments and studies molecular fossils—the microscopic remains of plants and animals that can tell us a lot about what was living in a particular time period. His work has helped uncover the shifting pattern of the East Asian monsoon and its possible impacts on early Chinese societies, and the past record of drier times in America’s Pacific Northwest. And by looking back to what was thriving during a very warm period long ago, he’s looking into our future, as well.

In the latest in our video series about Earth Institute researchers, Polissar, Lamont associate research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, talks about his work, and what inspired him to go into his field. See more in the series here.

Video production by the Columbia News video team.

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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