State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Spring 2023 Student Research Opportunities

The Climate School is offering three new research assistant opportunities during the Spring 2023 semester. Students from Columbia will be able to serve as research assistants on projects related to climate and sustainable development and the environment with distinguished faculty and researchers at the cutting edge of this burgeoning field. Each research position is described below.

Students who are selected for a position will be expected to participate in the Climate School Student Research Showcase in Spring 2023.

Position title: Effects of flooding and post-flood disaster assistance on equity

Position type: Undergraduate research assistant. While research assistant positions at Columbia are generally awarded to graduate students, the undergraduate research assistant program instead aims to present undergraduates with a unique opportunity to be involved in research at a high level and to gain valuable experience and skills for their future academic and professional careers. The successful applicant will work directly with faculty on projects on a part-time basis.

Who is eligible: Full-time Columbia undergraduate students are eligible to apply. Positions are funded at a rate of $21.50/hour, 8-10 hours a week, February through May 2023 (a maximum of 120 hours). Please note: Barnard students, Teachers College students and graduate students are not eligible for the undergraduate RA program. Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

Department:
Center for Climate Systems Research

Project research objectives: (1) Investigate the effects of flooding on equity. We will compare the change over time in socio-economic outcomes such as incomes, education, and racial composition in areas that were flooded by Hurricane Sandy in New York City to the change in similar areas that were not flooded to investigate how flooding affected outcomes among residents, and neighborhood gentrification or decline. (2) Use variation in post-flood disaster assistance within flood-affected areas to investigate the distribution of assistance and the equity of its effects on livelihoods. (3) If time allows, draft an agent-based model of flood recovery. 

Anticipated tasks: The RA will: conduct a literature review; compile and process data from the American Community Survey; implement propensity score matching to select an appropriate control group of census tracts to compare to tracts that were flooded; implement panel data analysis; help visualize the results and potentially co-author a paper for peer review. If time and skills allow, begin to program an agent-based model based on the empirical results. The RA is needed to help carry out each of the above tasks, which are essential to achieving the objectives.

Skills required: Strong knowledge of econometrics, including panel data methods. Experience with data analysis. Facility with at least one statistical analysis software such as Stata, R, or Matlab. Excellent attention to detail. Some data visualization skills. Excellent organization, time management, and communication skills. Some familiarity with programming agent-based models would be helpful but is not essential.

To apply: Complete the online application available HERE by Wednesday, January 18 at 11:55pm. 

Contact Yana Zeltser (yzeltser@climate.columbia.edu) with questions.

Position title: Sea-surface waves in the proximity of Antarctic ice shelves impacts ice shelf stability

Project description: Antarctic ice shelves are becoming increasingly vulnerable to warming oceans and enhanced basal melting. Enhanced sea ice melting and its large temporal variability causes ocean waves to reach closer to the ice shelves. These waves dampen as they hit the ice shelves thereby transferring their energy to the ice shelves. The stress transferred by the waves have been identified to cause fractures on the ice shelves. In addition, the waves also cause overturning circulation near the ice shelves and bring warmer water closer to the ice shelf bottom. This effect enhances basal melting, which is a significant source of ice shelf mass loss in Antarctica. In this work, the student will use remote sensing data from Sentinel to calculate variability in ocean surface wave heights along the Antarctic Peninsula, and Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector. This is an interdisciplinary project on a very upcoming and important topic. 

The student will gain expertise in handling remote sensing data, as well as understanding of how Antarctic ice shelves interact with sea ice and the surrounding ocean. Quantitative skills and proficiency in Matlab/Python is required. 

Position type: Departmental research assistant

Who is eligible: Full-time Columbia graduate students are eligible to apply. Salary for the position is $3,000 (paid semi-monthly) for a maximum of 140 hours from February through May 2023. Please note that undergraduate and Teachers College students are not eligible. Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

To apply: Complete the online application available HERE by Wednesday, January 18 at 11:55pm.

Contact Cari Shimkus (cshimkus@climate.columbia.edu) with questions.

Position title: Developing an integrated cybernetic infrastructure for archaeological collections from Madagascar

Project description: We seek a departmental research assistant with experience in database construction and computer programming using SQL (or other database languages/programs such as Microsoft Access). The research assistant will be responsible for working with the PI and her lab to construct a database for archaeological collections currently stored in the Olo Be Taloha lab in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Archaeological collections were developed over the past decade through surveys and excavations in southwest Madagascar. Major research questions focus on human-environment interactions and human response to climate change. 

Position type: Departmental research assistant

Who is eligible: Full-time Columbia graduate students are eligible to apply. Salary for the position is $3,000 (paid semi-monthly) for a maximum of 140 hours from February through May 2023. Please note undergraduate and Teachers College students are not eligible. Decisions will be made shortly after the deadline.

To apply: Complete the online application available HERE by Wednesday, January 18 at 11:55pm.

Contact Cari Shimkus (cshimkus@climate.columbia.edu)  with questions.

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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