State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

drought9

  • The Role of Drought in the Horn of Africa Famine

    The Role of Drought in the Horn of Africa Famine

    Let’s get this out of the way. The current famine in the Horn of Africa isn’t caused by drought. Rather, a complex mix of societal and political factors created a dangerous situation. The worst drought in 60 years (pdf) is what pushed that situation over the edge into a humanitarian crisis. However, just as these…

  • The Year of Drought and Flood

    The Year of Drought and Flood

    It seems that this year the world is experiencing a crisis of both too little water and too much. And while these crises often occur simultaneously in different regions, they also happen in the same places as short, fierce bursts of rain punctuate long dry spells.

  • Somali Drought; Harbinger of Hard Times

    Somali Drought; Harbinger of Hard Times

    For all its problems, Southern California has been a wonderful home for a lot of people over the past 100 or so years. It has nice beaches, good roads, plenty of places to eat, and, for now, a reliable supply of drinking water. Now imagine the L.A. riots had spread across the entire region, plunging…

  • Climate Forecasting: Oceans, Droughts, Climate Change and Other Tools of the Trade

    Climate Forecasting: Oceans, Droughts, Climate Change and Other Tools of the Trade

    At the International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s monthly climate briefing, talk often focuses on the role that El Niño or La Niña play in driving global climate. With the collapse of La Niña last month, though, IRI’s forecasters now have to rely on different tools to offer forecasts for the coming year. That’s…

  • How China Is Dealing With Its Water Crisis

    How China Is Dealing With Its Water Crisis

    Recently I traveled to Southeast Yunnan in China to see the spectacular Yuan Yang rice terraces, flooded and ready for spring planting. Rice is a very water-hungry crop and China is the world’s largest producer of rice and grain. Yet China is facing a perilous water crisis.

  • Scary Water Study from the NRDC

    Scary Water Study from the NRDC

    A fascinating and frightening recent study from the National Resources Defense Council unveiled serious threats to water sustainability in the United States over the coming decades. In an era of rapidly unfolding climate change, the Council’s research found that more than 1,100 counties, or one third of all counties in the lower 48 states, face…

  • Who owns the Nile?

    Who owns the Nile? Nine countries want to have a say in answering that question, and they don’t agree. The great river moves through Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so they all may claim her as at least partly their own.

  • The Permaculture Approach to Water

    Permaculture has many facets, but one of the most exciting is its approach to water. Permaculture designers believe that through intelligent landscape design, it is frequently possible to go beyond conservation of water to actually recharge groundwater supplies.

  • Water, Another Crisis for Iraq

    In a place like Iraq, our attention is on the big issues, and we might forget that life also goes on for regular people. They need to grow crops and wash dishes and make tea. For many people in the country, those mundane things can be every bit as big an issue. If you don’t…

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 Role of Drought in the Horn of Africa Famine

    The Role of Drought in the Horn of Africa Famine

    Let’s get this out of the way. The current famine in the Horn of Africa isn’t caused by drought. Rather, a complex mix of societal and political factors created a dangerous situation. The worst drought in 60 years (pdf) is what pushed that situation over the edge into a humanitarian crisis. However, just as these…

  • The Year of Drought and Flood

    The Year of Drought and Flood

    It seems that this year the world is experiencing a crisis of both too little water and too much. And while these crises often occur simultaneously in different regions, they also happen in the same places as short, fierce bursts of rain punctuate long dry spells.

  • Somali Drought; Harbinger of Hard Times

    Somali Drought; Harbinger of Hard Times

    For all its problems, Southern California has been a wonderful home for a lot of people over the past 100 or so years. It has nice beaches, good roads, plenty of places to eat, and, for now, a reliable supply of drinking water. Now imagine the L.A. riots had spread across the entire region, plunging…

  • Climate Forecasting: Oceans, Droughts, Climate Change and Other Tools of the Trade

    Climate Forecasting: Oceans, Droughts, Climate Change and Other Tools of the Trade

    At the International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s monthly climate briefing, talk often focuses on the role that El Niño or La Niña play in driving global climate. With the collapse of La Niña last month, though, IRI’s forecasters now have to rely on different tools to offer forecasts for the coming year. That’s…

  • How China Is Dealing With Its Water Crisis

    How China Is Dealing With Its Water Crisis

    Recently I traveled to Southeast Yunnan in China to see the spectacular Yuan Yang rice terraces, flooded and ready for spring planting. Rice is a very water-hungry crop and China is the world’s largest producer of rice and grain. Yet China is facing a perilous water crisis.

  • Scary Water Study from the NRDC

    Scary Water Study from the NRDC

    A fascinating and frightening recent study from the National Resources Defense Council unveiled serious threats to water sustainability in the United States over the coming decades. In an era of rapidly unfolding climate change, the Council’s research found that more than 1,100 counties, or one third of all counties in the lower 48 states, face…

  • Who owns the Nile?

    Who owns the Nile? Nine countries want to have a say in answering that question, and they don’t agree. The great river moves through Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so they all may claim her as at least partly their own.

  • The Permaculture Approach to Water

    Permaculture has many facets, but one of the most exciting is its approach to water. Permaculture designers believe that through intelligent landscape design, it is frequently possible to go beyond conservation of water to actually recharge groundwater supplies.

  • Water, Another Crisis for Iraq

    In a place like Iraq, our attention is on the big issues, and we might forget that life also goes on for regular people. They need to grow crops and wash dishes and make tea. For many people in the country, those mundane things can be every bit as big an issue. If you don’t…