State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

drought10

  • The Implications of Snowcover on Climate: A Conversation with Stefan Sobolowski (Part 1)

    Stefan Sobolowski says he has always had a passion for water, weather and climate—a passion he attributes to lifetime of skiing, hiking, snowboarding, and playing in oceans. Here, Stefan discusses his research on the effects of continental snowcover on climate and why one cold winter in the United States doesn’t mean that there is no…

  • The Economist: Special Report on Water, a primer for the water crisis

    The Economist has released a Special Report on Water, dated May 22nd, 2010, written by John Grimond. The 18 page report contains 9 short but substantial articles giving an overview of global water issues.

  • The Desert Margins – vulnerable to desertification, but not hopeless

    Most people are aware that vegetative cover, such as trees or other shade producing plants, helps to keep moisture in the soil, especially in the driest climates. Not all plants have the same effect, though.

  • A Truce in the California Water Wars

    Nationally, the California Water Wars have been something people have been following for months.  As discussed by Water Center expert Tanya Heikkila in her September blog post “California’s other crisis,”  the state’s reservoirs had been significantly depleted and fights had been breaking out all over the state about who deserved water the most – farmers,…

  • California’s other crisis

    The “Golden” State doesn’t seem so golden these days. LA’s recent wildfires and Sacramento’s recent budget crises have left a dark cloud hanging over the state. Compounding the state’s financial woes and charred image is a problem potentially even more challenging: drought. Since 2000, the state’s reservoirs have been depleted and current climate change projections…

  • Punjab: A tale of prosperity and decline

    The state of Punjab, located in the northwest part of the country, is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjab produces 20% of the nation’s wheat, 11% of its rice, and 11% of its cotton, from only 1.5% of its geographical area.  Punjab is in trouble, however; groundwater is rapidly decreasing. Water levels have dropped…

  • East African Drought Linked to Climate Change?

    When African finance and environmental ministers met last month to discuss climate-related challenges to the Millennium Development Goals, East African rains were on the agenda. Millions of Kenyans currently face food shortages as a result of successive failed rains, and periodic droughts cost the region 5-8% of GDP. A look at the climatology reveals that…

  • Drought and Fire Continue to Threaten Koalas and Humans in Australia

    By now, most people are familiar with the above image from the recent devastating wildfires in Australia. But while the rapid internet proliferation of this example of interspecies camaraderie mimicked the spread of the fire itself, there was no happy ending for many victims in Australia’s Victoria state on February 7th. The death toll has…

  • Low-cost water management in Ethiopia

    Water capture and storage for irrigation has been an ongoing theme of research in Columbia’s earth and environmental engineering department, but Professor Upmanu Lall has recently taken things a step further. With funding from the Pulitzer family, Lall challenged a group of students in his senior engineering course to design a low-cost system of water…

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

  • The Implications of Snowcover on Climate: A Conversation with Stefan Sobolowski (Part 1)

    Stefan Sobolowski says he has always had a passion for water, weather and climate—a passion he attributes to lifetime of skiing, hiking, snowboarding, and playing in oceans. Here, Stefan discusses his research on the effects of continental snowcover on climate and why one cold winter in the United States doesn’t mean that there is no…

  • The Economist: Special Report on Water, a primer for the water crisis

    The Economist has released a Special Report on Water, dated May 22nd, 2010, written by John Grimond. The 18 page report contains 9 short but substantial articles giving an overview of global water issues.

  • The Desert Margins – vulnerable to desertification, but not hopeless

    Most people are aware that vegetative cover, such as trees or other shade producing plants, helps to keep moisture in the soil, especially in the driest climates. Not all plants have the same effect, though.

  • A Truce in the California Water Wars

    Nationally, the California Water Wars have been something people have been following for months.  As discussed by Water Center expert Tanya Heikkila in her September blog post “California’s other crisis,”  the state’s reservoirs had been significantly depleted and fights had been breaking out all over the state about who deserved water the most – farmers,…

  • California’s other crisis

    The “Golden” State doesn’t seem so golden these days. LA’s recent wildfires and Sacramento’s recent budget crises have left a dark cloud hanging over the state. Compounding the state’s financial woes and charred image is a problem potentially even more challenging: drought. Since 2000, the state’s reservoirs have been depleted and current climate change projections…

  • Punjab: A tale of prosperity and decline

    The state of Punjab, located in the northwest part of the country, is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjab produces 20% of the nation’s wheat, 11% of its rice, and 11% of its cotton, from only 1.5% of its geographical area.  Punjab is in trouble, however; groundwater is rapidly decreasing. Water levels have dropped…

  • East African Drought Linked to Climate Change?

    When African finance and environmental ministers met last month to discuss climate-related challenges to the Millennium Development Goals, East African rains were on the agenda. Millions of Kenyans currently face food shortages as a result of successive failed rains, and periodic droughts cost the region 5-8% of GDP. A look at the climatology reveals that…

  • Drought and Fire Continue to Threaten Koalas and Humans in Australia

    By now, most people are familiar with the above image from the recent devastating wildfires in Australia. But while the rapid internet proliferation of this example of interspecies camaraderie mimicked the spread of the fire itself, there was no happy ending for many victims in Australia’s Victoria state on February 7th. The death toll has…

  • Low-cost water management in Ethiopia

    Water capture and storage for irrigation has been an ongoing theme of research in Columbia’s earth and environmental engineering department, but Professor Upmanu Lall has recently taken things a step further. With funding from the Pulitzer family, Lall challenged a group of students in his senior engineering course to design a low-cost system of water…