State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Larissa

  • Jaunt to Nearby Island Becomes Four-Day Epic

    Going to Antarctica involves a whole lot of paperwork. Before I left, I filled out an extensive medical history, was tested for every disease imaginable, gave my pants size, shoe size, hat size, until I had only one form remaining. That was the waiver acknowledging that working in Antarctica is inherently dangerous and that by…

  • A Quiet Crackling Below the Ice

    As a child, I believed that I could hear the ocean in a seashell. Now when I think about the sounds of the sea, I imagine the roar of waves crashing on the beach. But from the vantage point of a ship with noisy engines, the water seems silent. In 1490, Leonardo da Vinci observed,…

  • What’s Making West Antarctica Melt?

    The view from the Palmer is so blindingly white today that the eye cannot tell where the ice ends and the clouds begin. In this unusually icy Antarctic summer, it seems strange to contemplate melting ice. But glaciers, here and in Greenland, are melting faster than they are growing. We know that ice sheets have…

  • Rough seas bring unexpected rewards

    Working in Antarctica is always a challenge but this trip has had more than the usual setbacks. After working feverishly in Punta Arenas to prepare our ship, we had to wait two days for some essential cargo to arrive. Not long after pushing off, we encountered rough weather in the Drake Passage, a region notorious…

  • Adelie penguins

    The nice folks up on the bridge always give us a call when they see wildlife. Then we all grab our cameras and rush out to our favorite spots to try and photograph whatever creatures have come to visit. I’m no biologist, but seeing so many beautiful animals has made me curious. So I’ve been…

  • Girls on Ice

    While I’ve been staying on the ship, Erin Pettit has been flying off by helicopter to study glaciers. She has a really cool job, and I wish she would take me with her on some of her adventures. But it turns out that she wants to take you! Erin runs a program called Girls on…

  • A Change in Plans

    In 1914, Ernest Shackleton wrote “Pack-ice might be described as a gigantic  and interminable jigsaw-puzzle devised by nature.” Shackleton was a great Antarctic explorer. He wanted to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica, but his expedition ran into unexpectedly icy conditions. He is famous now, not for achieving his goal, but for…

  • Scientists on Ice

    I don’t want to give you the idea that science is all fun and games. We work hard! But I have to admit that today has been pretty spectacular. The morning was spent watching the helicopters take off and land for an ice reconnaissance mission. Since the ship is fully iced in, we got to…

  • Hola, Amigos!

    People are very friendly at sea. Still, Ted Scambos spends an awful lot of time talking about his amigos. But it turns out that these are no ordinary friends – they’re Automated Meteorology-Ice-Geophysics Observing Stations. The area that we’ll be visiting used to be a huge ice shelf, called Larsen B. It collapsed 2002, losing…

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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

  • Jaunt to Nearby Island Becomes Four-Day Epic

    Going to Antarctica involves a whole lot of paperwork. Before I left, I filled out an extensive medical history, was tested for every disease imaginable, gave my pants size, shoe size, hat size, until I had only one form remaining. That was the waiver acknowledging that working in Antarctica is inherently dangerous and that by…

  • A Quiet Crackling Below the Ice

    As a child, I believed that I could hear the ocean in a seashell. Now when I think about the sounds of the sea, I imagine the roar of waves crashing on the beach. But from the vantage point of a ship with noisy engines, the water seems silent. In 1490, Leonardo da Vinci observed,…

  • What’s Making West Antarctica Melt?

    The view from the Palmer is so blindingly white today that the eye cannot tell where the ice ends and the clouds begin. In this unusually icy Antarctic summer, it seems strange to contemplate melting ice. But glaciers, here and in Greenland, are melting faster than they are growing. We know that ice sheets have…

  • Rough seas bring unexpected rewards

    Working in Antarctica is always a challenge but this trip has had more than the usual setbacks. After working feverishly in Punta Arenas to prepare our ship, we had to wait two days for some essential cargo to arrive. Not long after pushing off, we encountered rough weather in the Drake Passage, a region notorious…

  • Adelie penguins

    The nice folks up on the bridge always give us a call when they see wildlife. Then we all grab our cameras and rush out to our favorite spots to try and photograph whatever creatures have come to visit. I’m no biologist, but seeing so many beautiful animals has made me curious. So I’ve been…

  • Girls on Ice

    While I’ve been staying on the ship, Erin Pettit has been flying off by helicopter to study glaciers. She has a really cool job, and I wish she would take me with her on some of her adventures. But it turns out that she wants to take you! Erin runs a program called Girls on…

  • A Change in Plans

    In 1914, Ernest Shackleton wrote “Pack-ice might be described as a gigantic  and interminable jigsaw-puzzle devised by nature.” Shackleton was a great Antarctic explorer. He wanted to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica, but his expedition ran into unexpectedly icy conditions. He is famous now, not for achieving his goal, but for…

  • Scientists on Ice

    I don’t want to give you the idea that science is all fun and games. We work hard! But I have to admit that today has been pretty spectacular. The morning was spent watching the helicopters take off and land for an ice reconnaissance mission. Since the ship is fully iced in, we got to…

  • Hola, Amigos!

    People are very friendly at sea. Still, Ted Scambos spends an awful lot of time talking about his amigos. But it turns out that these are no ordinary friends – they’re Automated Meteorology-Ice-Geophysics Observing Stations. The area that we’ll be visiting used to be a huge ice shelf, called Larsen B. It collapsed 2002, losing…