State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

evolution2

  • Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.

  • Climate Change Poses Challenges to Plants and Animals

    Climate Change Poses Challenges to Plants and Animals

    Because of climate change, spring, summer, fall and winter in the temperate zones are all arriving on average 1.7 days earlier than they ever have before. The changing climate with its more extreme weather is affecting many plant and animal species, disturbing their habitat and disrupting ecosystem functioning. How will plants and animals deal with…

  • Lobsters of the Land

    Lobsters of the Land

    Life arose from the sea, so they say, And Earth’s family tree is still branching today. Our view of the old structure way down below: Mysterious, shrouded, a faded tableau.

  • Unexpected Sisters

    Unexpected Sisters

    An ancient island’s trove of treasure: Madagascan fauna Tenrec, fossa, lemur, hippo, dugong, bat, iguana. A giant bird – O, wondrous beast! – a half a ton, and tall, Laid foot-long eggs, had beefy legs, and did not fly at all.

  • Amid a Fossil Bonanza, Drilling Deep into Pre-Dinosaurian Rocks

    Amid a Fossil Bonanza, Drilling Deep into Pre-Dinosaurian Rocks

    On a high ridge in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, paleontologist Paul Olsen sits on the fallen trunk of a 215-million-year-old tree, now turned to stone. The tree once loomed 70 or 80 feet above a riverine landscape teeming with fish, turtles, giant crocodilians and tiny, early species of dinosaurs.

  • Photo Essay: Unearthing the Lost World Below a Petrified Forest

    Photo Essay: Unearthing the Lost World Below a Petrified Forest

    In Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, researchers are scouring the fossil-rich surface and drilling deep into ancient rocks to learn what happened during the late Triassic, some 201 million to 235 million years ago.

  • The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

    The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

    The creation of the narrow isthmus that joins North and South America changed not just the world map, but the circulation of oceans, the course of biologic evolution, and probably global climate. Scientists try to decipher the story behind its formation.

  • Photo Essay: Exploring the Rocks That Join the Americas

    Photo Essay: Exploring the Rocks That Join the Americas

    The formation of the slender land bridge that joins South America and North America was a pivotal event in earth’s history. At its narrowest along the isthmus of Panama, it changed not just the world map, but the circulation of oceans, the course of biologic evolution, and global climate. Cornelia Class, a geochemist at Columbia…

  • Latimeria Chalumnae

    Latimeria Chalumnae

    One in a series of poems based on science news, written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

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

  • Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Seeking Humanity’s Roots

    Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.

  • Climate Change Poses Challenges to Plants and Animals

    Climate Change Poses Challenges to Plants and Animals

    Because of climate change, spring, summer, fall and winter in the temperate zones are all arriving on average 1.7 days earlier than they ever have before. The changing climate with its more extreme weather is affecting many plant and animal species, disturbing their habitat and disrupting ecosystem functioning. How will plants and animals deal with…

  • Lobsters of the Land

    Lobsters of the Land

    Life arose from the sea, so they say, And Earth’s family tree is still branching today. Our view of the old structure way down below: Mysterious, shrouded, a faded tableau.

  • Unexpected Sisters

    Unexpected Sisters

    An ancient island’s trove of treasure: Madagascan fauna Tenrec, fossa, lemur, hippo, dugong, bat, iguana. A giant bird – O, wondrous beast! – a half a ton, and tall, Laid foot-long eggs, had beefy legs, and did not fly at all.

  • Amid a Fossil Bonanza, Drilling Deep into Pre-Dinosaurian Rocks

    Amid a Fossil Bonanza, Drilling Deep into Pre-Dinosaurian Rocks

    On a high ridge in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, paleontologist Paul Olsen sits on the fallen trunk of a 215-million-year-old tree, now turned to stone. The tree once loomed 70 or 80 feet above a riverine landscape teeming with fish, turtles, giant crocodilians and tiny, early species of dinosaurs.

  • Photo Essay: Unearthing the Lost World Below a Petrified Forest

    Photo Essay: Unearthing the Lost World Below a Petrified Forest

    In Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, researchers are scouring the fossil-rich surface and drilling deep into ancient rocks to learn what happened during the late Triassic, some 201 million to 235 million years ago.

  • The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

    The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

    The creation of the narrow isthmus that joins North and South America changed not just the world map, but the circulation of oceans, the course of biologic evolution, and probably global climate. Scientists try to decipher the story behind its formation.

  • Photo Essay: Exploring the Rocks That Join the Americas

    Photo Essay: Exploring the Rocks That Join the Americas

    The formation of the slender land bridge that joins South America and North America was a pivotal event in earth’s history. At its narrowest along the isthmus of Panama, it changed not just the world map, but the circulation of oceans, the course of biologic evolution, and global climate. Cornelia Class, a geochemist at Columbia…

  • Latimeria Chalumnae

    Latimeria Chalumnae

    One in a series of poems based on science news, written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.