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EcosystemsUpcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2023 and Beyond

Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2023 and Beyond

Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2023 and Beyond

Field researchers with the Columbia Climate School are studying the dynamics of the planet on every continent and each ocean, from big cities to the poles. Projects range from climate to basic geology, natural hazards, pollution, recent sustainable technologies and more. Depending on logistics and safety aspects, journalists are invited to affix expeditions or otherwise cover.

Expeditions are in rough chronological order, divided into NEW YORK CITY/U.S. NORTHEAST; WIDER UNITED STATES; and INTERNATIONAL. Unless otherwise stated, projects originate with our Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. This list shall be kept updated; check back periodically. Contact: senior science editor Kevin Krajick kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu, 917-361-7766.


WILD CITY | Surveys of urban wildlife, Latest York City | ONGOING
Even though it is essentially the most densely populated U.S. city, Latest York is home to many wild animals including foxes and raccoons, together with recent additions equivalent to coyotes and river otters. With expanding green spaces, populations are probably growing. Grad students are censusing these creatures and investigating patterns of movement and dispersal in parks, cemeteries, community gardens and other areas. Headed by epidemiologist Maria Diuk-Wasser, one a part of the team is deploying camera traps in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island’s Nassau County. One other team is physically trapping animals to sample them for diseases and vectors equivalent to ticks, and tag them with GPS monitors to trace their movements. A part of the aim is to reduce opposed animal-human interactions including the spread of diseases.  Story on the project

NYC’S ANCIENT TREES | Sampling timbers from old buildings | ONGOING
Many Latest York structures in-built the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are framed inside with massive timbers—in lots of cases, now the only real remnants of eastern old-growth forests erased to assist create the metropolis. Tree-ring scientists Caroline Leland and Mukund Palat Rao are salvaging these rare artifacts from the various demolitions of old buildings done every 12 months to check past climates. Some tree rings record yearly weather conditions going back to the 1500s—data available nowhere else. The scientists are working with skilled salvagers to acquire recent specimens. Story on the project

PRECARIOUS BOULDERS | Geological fieldwork to detect past earthquakes | Harriman State Park, N.Y. | SUMMER 2023
Recent research suggests that earthquake risk to the Latest York City metro area is bigger than previously thought—but nobody knows the utmost size of past earthquakes. To increase the record into prehistoric time, geologist William Menke and students are specializing in huge boulders which were precariously perched on the bedrock surface of exurban Harriman State Park because the end of the last ice age, and calculating the minimum forces that will be needed to tip them over. In the event that they are still standing, the hypothesis goes, an earthquake of that magnitude has not occurred up to now 20,000 years. Story on the project | Earthquake Risk to NY Greater Than Thought

LYME THREAT | Studies of human/tick contacts, Latest York City | SUMMER 2023
In the primary such effort in an urban green space, researchers are carrying out a multidisciplinary project to map where and the way city residents are being exposed to Lyme disease–carrying ticks. Researchers are tracking movements of tick-carrying deer via radio tags, surveying parks and nearby private yards for ticks, and characterizing which landscape features encourage tick presence. Citizen volunteers are using a smartphone app to trace their very own movements. Led by epidemiologist Maria Diuk-Wasser. Project webpage

SEASIDE METHUSELAHS | Tree-ring sampling, coastal NY/NJ and further south |  SUMMER/FALL 2023
Only a couple of small stands of seaside old-growth forest have survived along the U.S. East Coast, and these are under lethal threat from salt water infiltrating from climate-driven rising seas and powerful storms. Paleoclimatologist Nicole Davi is sampling rings from these trees, some dating to the mid-1700s, and installing instruments on some to record physiological reactions to weather in real time. The project goals to chart the region’s weather history, and project future effects of climate change. Work at Long Island’s Montauk Downs State Park and Fire Island National Park, and Latest Jersey’s Sandy Hook peninsula, Cattus Island, Lighthouse Center and Jakes Landing. Story and slideshow on Sandy Hook’s forest

GOTHAM GREENHOUSE | Tracking Latest York’s emissions by land and air | MAY-AUGUST 2023 AND ONGOING
To raised understand the precise sources of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, atmospheric scientist Róisín Commane and colleagues are measuring carbon dioxide, methane and other gases in and around Latest York City. On the bottom, they’ll sample air from a van containing a mobile lab to quantify emissions from landfills, wastewater plants and natural-gas leaks. Within the air, they’ll fly drones, and instruments on aircraft supplied by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to sample air at each high and really low altitudes.  Article on the portable lab | Article on the NYC project | Article on NYC greenery and CO2

WATERS UNDER PRESSURE |Mapping threatened habitats, Long Island Sound | JUNE 13-16, AUG 7-18, SEPT 6-12, 2023 and ONGOING
Oceanographers Frank Nitsche and Cecilia McHugh are a part of a project to finely map the bathymetry and bottom habitats of Long Island Sound. Under intense pressure from surrounding land, it’s stressed by pollutants including excess nutrients that cause harmful algal blooms and low oxygen levels. This summer they’ll dredge up sediment samples. Meanwhile, Joaquim Goes and colleagues are investigating algae specifically. After recent studies involving satellite imagery and extensive water sampling, they at the moment are developing an information and decision system for managing these blooms. Mapping project web pages  |  Article on the algae project 

ANCIENT MARSHES | Wetland coring, Latest York, Latest Jersey, Latest England| SPRING-FALL 2023 AND ONGOING
Drilling cores as deep as 25 feet, ecologist Dorothy Peteet studies the scant remnants of the U.S. East Coast’s once vast wetlands. She is participating in a large-scale NASA project to know how much carbon is stored in coastal marshes, and the way much is perhaps washed away and put back into the air through ongoing sea-level rise. Sites include Latest York City’s Pelham Bay Park, a patch near JFK Airport, and sites in Long Island and Rhode Island. Further inland, she is studying prehistoric weather and environment using sediment cores from deep lake bottoms, marshes and bogs in Latest Jersey which have remained undisturbed for the last 15,000-plus years. Article on Peteet’s work

WATERSHED MOMENT | Studies of past climate, Catskill Mountains | SPRING/SUMMER 2023
The Latest York/Latest Jersey watershed, comprising the region that drains into Latest York harbor, includes wide swaths of the Catskill Mountains, whose reservoirs serve 9 million people. As a part of an investigation of socioeconomic aspects that expose some populations to poor drinking water, paleoclimatologist William D’Andrea will take cores from Catskills lakes, ponds and bogs to check how past climate changes affected water flow over hundreds of years. Concurrently, dendrochronologist Nicole Davi will take cores from old Catskills trees to check climate swings in closer detail over tons of of years.

TINY PLASTICS | Studies of microplastics, Latest York area waters|TBD
Vast quantities of microplastics are entering Latest York area waters. Using newly developed technology, oceanographer Joaquim Goes and geochemists Beizhan Yan have been mapping their abundance and sources. At the identical time, an area high-school teacher and her students have been using Lamont labs to check local fish and other organisms for the presence of absorbed plastics; they’ve found large amounts of the stuff inside many creatures. Article on the project | Article on microbeads

COMING CLEAN|Technology to filter microplastics from washing machines, Latest York City | ONGOING 2023-2025
Tiny plastic fibers are polluting air and waters the world over, and up to date research shows a significant source is the washing of garments. Geochemist Beizhan Yan says a single three-pound load sends tons of of hundreds of particles into sewers. Municipal waste-treatment systems aren’t set as much as cope with them, so Yan and colleagues are going straight to the source: development of filtration systems to remove them from home and industrial washing machines. After lab work, they’ll test equipment at Columbia-owned dorms and/or apartment buildings. They’re working with manufacturer Whirlpool and a firm that that recycles microfibers into recent products. A part of a wider regional initiative on microplastics. Latest grants will address microplastics

ICE, EARTHLY AND EXTRATERRESTRIAL| High-pressure lab experiments, Palisades, N.Y. and Latest York City | ONGOING
Lamont geophysicists Christine McCarthy and Rob Skarbek study conditions inside and under Earth’s glaciers, and the subsurfaces of other planetary bodies including our solar system’s icy moons. In a single set of experiments, McCarthy and team are testing the sturdiness of fiber-optic tethers designed to deliver data from under the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. In one other, they’re recreating the conditions on the rocky beds of glaciers, to know how glaciers move and the way climate change may affect them. McCarthy on her background and the physics of ice |  McCarthy’s TED-style talk on icy moons

TURNING CO2 TO STONE| High-pressure lab experiments, Palisades, N.Y.| ONGOING
Geophysicist Jacob Tielke is performing high-pressure lab experiments on rocks as a part of a project to inject excess CO2 underground and switch it into stone. These experiments are related to work in natural rock formations in Oman and several other U.S. states on processes that may very well be harnessed and greatly sped as much as sequester large amounts of carbon. Video, photo essay, story on the Oman project | Story on the experiments

DIARY OF A TREE | Real-time forest monitoring, Hudson Valley | ONGOING
Biologist Kevin Griffin has assembled a network of advanced instruments within the Latest York suburbs to watch physiological functions of trees, and transmit the information in real time to the lab. He has some 60 trees wired within the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island, revealing how they reply to day by day weather shifts, which can suggest how they’ll reply to long-term changing climate. Griffin and colleagues even have a live rooftop webcam atop a constructing at suburban Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory that images the realm cover every quarter-hour, geared toward assessing how seasonal rhythms of trees and vegetation reply to climate change. The webcam is viewable in real time. Article on the webcam |Camera livestream|Earth Institute article on the research |Latest Yorker article

CLIMATE JUSTICE | Coastal resilience studies with community groups, Latest York/Latest Jersey metro area | ONGOING
By 2050, sea levels around Latest York may rise by as much as two feet over 2000 levels; storm surges and flash flooding will almost actually increase. These problems will especially affect low-income communities, which cluster in low-lying areas. Researchers will interview a big selection of individuals from potentially affected communities to make sure that they’re included in planning for solutions equivalent to sea partitions, street-level green spaces and wetland restoration. A project of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development. Leaders: environmental attorney and educator Paul Gallay and international development expert Jacqueline Klopp. Resilient Coastal Communities Project pages | Story on the project

RESURRECTED SPRINGS | Studies of 1800s spas, Northeast states | SUMMER 2023 OR 2024
Many industrial warm springs popular within the nineteenth century have been left to decay or been demolished; locations of some have been lost. Working with local historians, geologists Dallas Abbott and Bill Menke are looking for sites in Latest England and Latest York state to check subterranean conditions, and the way they might be evolving. They are going to compare century-old temperature readings with recent ones to guage whether possible subtle rises could indicate if climate change has affected underground waters.

PRESERVING NEW YORK’S WATER SUPPLY| Creating management plans for landowners|ONGOING
Latest York City collects and transports surface water from 2,000 square miles of land in three upstate watersheds—areas vulnerable to pollution, and now, climate change. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project will help authorities provide you with management practices to forestall polluting runoff within the face of fixing precipitation and land-use patterns. The project is designed to each protect the water supply and support the viability of farming within the affected areas. Article on the project


CARBON-EATING ROCKS | Geologic mapping and sampling, Vermont, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California | SUMMER 2023/2024
Scattered through the US, scientists have found unusual rocks thrust up from the deep earth that react rapidly with carbon dioxide—and with the proper technology, is perhaps harnessed to remove it from the air. Geologist Peter Kelemen and colleagues will visit sites to refine the maps and take away samples for laboratory testing by geochemist Christine McCarthy and others. Sites are clustered in and around coastal mountain ranges, with the best concentrations in California, Oregon and Washington, plus parts of Appalachia. Geologists Map U.S. Rocks to Soak CO2 From Air

TSUNAMI RISK? | Ocean research off North Carolina | MAY 9-JUNE 10, 2023
Marine scientists have known for years about deposits left by past giant seafloor landslides down the continental slope off the Cape Hatteras region of North Carolina. If such a slide happened today, it could hit coastal communities with a tsunami, and wipe out seafloor infrastructure. But what causes these events, and the way often and the way recently they’ve occurred is a largely mystery. A team will deploy geophysical instruments and take sediment cores to higher map the deposits, currently known to cover some 16,000 square kilometers, and determine their origins. The research vessel Marcus Langseth will return to shore briefly on June 3 to drop off/pick up crew members, then proceed on. Co-chief scientists include Anne Bécel and Celine Grall. Marcus Langseth web pages

TRIASSIC TRIP | Geologic mapping, fossil hunting, Pennsylvania, Virginia | MAY 10-15, 2023 and ONGOING
The 200-million-year-old rocks spanning parts of southern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia could yield key insights into natural planetary climate cycles and the evolution of dinosaurs, which arose around this time. Geologist Paul Olsen and colleagues are examining these rocks using distant sensing, paleomagnetism and old-fashioned foot travel. This spring, they’ll explore creek-bed exposures in Virginia just southwest of Washington. Later within the 12 months they might proceed to other locales. Planetary cycles’ effects on climate 

EXPLOSIVE POTENTIAL | Using aerial geophysics to search out land mines, Pawnee, Okla. | JUNE 12-16, 2023
The war in Ukraine is the newest iteration of a worldwide menace: Many countries are sown with greater than 100 million land mines, grenades and other unexploded munitions, killing hundreds every 12 months, even long after conflicts are over. Detecting them with handheld instruments is slow and dangerous. Now, a team co-led by grad student Jasper Baur is testing ways to much more quickly and cheaply find them with drones. In March, to mimic real-world conditions, they buried about 150 real but disarmed devices of assorted kinds at a University of Oklahoma research facility. In June, they’ll return to check abilities of drones carrying magnetometers, ground-penetrating radar and thermal imaging devices to search out them. Story on the project | Global Explosive Hazard Mitigation

SEA ICE AND HUMANS | Community-run microbial observatory, northwest Alaska | JUNE/SEPT 2023 AND ONGOING
Scientists working in Indigenous areas often fail to include local knowledge. Biological oceanographer Ajit Subramaniam is changing this paradigm within the coastal Chukchi Sea community of Kotzebue, where warming has led to declines in sea ice and blooms of cyanobacteria that might harm ecosystems and human food supplies. Kotzebue residents, who helped design this system, are sampling waters by boat and with autonomous underwater vehicles to higher understand the changes. In June, Subramaniam will moor stationary instruments, and can retrieve them in September.  Article on previous Kotzebue work

CHANGING TUNDRA |Arctic vegetation studies, northern Alaska |JULY-AUG 2023
The Toolik Lake research station, on Alaska’s North Slope, has been the location of continuous ecological research for greater than 45 years, a part of a worldwide network geared toward understanding long-term cycles and changes in nature. Principal investigator at Toolik is plant physiologist Kevin Griffin. He and ecologists Duncan Menge and Shahid Naeem are engaged in a variety of labor on the results of climate change on plants and tundra biodiversity. Much other work is being done by researchers from other institutions. Toolik Station website

FROM SINK TO SOURCE | Measuring natural greenhouse-gas emissions, northern Alaska | AUG-SEPT 2023
The Arctic stores vast amounts of carbon in soil and permafrost—twice as much as within the atmosphere. But with rapid thawing of the bottom, microorganisms look like releasing stored CO2 and methane back to the air. Luke Schiferl and Sarah Ludwig are measuring the flux on Alaska’s North Slope on the bottom, and via instruments on a low-flying aircraft. Flights depart from Deadhorse, Alaska. The planned result’s an improved map of what is occurring on the atmospheric interfaces of tundra, wetlands and small ponds. Project web page 

SOUNDS OF A CHANGING ARCTIC | Bioacoustic/camera wildlife studies, Alaska/Yukon | SUMMERS THRU 2024
Lots of Alaska’s wild tundra areas face future fossil fuel development. Ecologist Natalie Boelman and colleagues are assessing potential effects on wildlife, from caribou to birds. Using sensitive microphones and camera traps at 90 locations, they’re comparing three areas: Alaska’s heavily industrialized Prudhoe Bay; the Arctic Wildlife Refuge; and Canada’s protected Ivvavik National Park. Sensors pick up all the things from bird calls to mosquitoes buzzing, together with human noise. Artificial intelligence will mix the sounds with camera images to research the abundance and activities of animals, and their reactions to disturbance. Boelman hopes to recruit volunteers to assist count animals within the camera images.

ISLAND INDICATORS | Gauging past sea levels, Hawaiian islands | June 3-18, 2023
To enhance forecasts of future sea level rise, scientists are turning to coastlines which have preserved geologic markers of sea levels in past times when the planet warmed rapidly, just like today. Continuing a longtime global project, a team will travel to O’ahu, Molokai, Kauai and Lanai to look at fossil coral reefs, dunes and other deposits that may signify past levels. Focus is on a period about 120,000 years ago, when temperatures were just like those projected for this century, and seas are thought to have risen precipitously. Team members include geodynamicist Jacqueline Austermann, paleoclimatologist William D’Andrea and geologist Maureen Raymo, director of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Story on related research in Barbados

ANCIENT SEAS VS. MODERN | Collection, culture of plankton, Santa Catalina Island, Calif. | JUNE 29-AUG 5, 2023
Oceanographer Bärbel Hönisch has shown that fast-increasing CO2 within the oceans is causing rapid changes with little past precedent. Her knowledge of the past relies on comparisons between shell-building plankton recovered from ancient sediments and their modern cousins—but there are some uncertainties. To raised reconcile records, Hönisch and colleagues conduct scuba dives and net drags to gather modern plankton. To duplicate ancient seawater qualities, they culture the plankton under various chemical and temperature conditions at a lab on the island, and study the results. Humans Are Outpacing Ancient Volcanoes as a Carbon Source | Modern Ocean Acidification Is Exceeding Ancient Upheaval

Beyond destroying infrastructure and killing people, Hurricane Maria killed or severely damaged 1 / 4 of Puerto Rico’s big trees. Forest ecologist Maria Uriarte and colleagues are working throughout the island to evaluate the outlook for forests. In the long run, they aim to project how global warming and resulting more intense storms could affect the makeup of forests across the tropics and subtropics. Much of the work focuses on Luquillo Experimental Forest, near San Juan, where the researchers have been studying the identical plots for many years. Story, video, slideshow on Uriarte’s work

UNDERGROUND POISON | Cleansing wells in tribal lands, North and South Dakota | APRIL-OCT 2023 and 2024
U.S. tribal lands within the Dakotas contain greater than 15,000 hazardous waste sites and seven,000 abandoned mines, which send dangerous levels of arsenic and uranium into the drinking of water of a 3rd of the population. This is probably going linked to high levels of heart problems and diabetes. In collaboration with the Oglala Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux and Spirit Lake Tribes, a five-year Superfund project is investigating contaminants’ pathway, health effects, and ways to mitigate hazards. Led by Ana Navas-Acien of the Mailman School of Public Health, with investigators including Benjamin Bostick and Steven Chillrud. This 12 months’s research will include collection of surface waters, groundwater and soils on or near tribal lands. The project may also test recent technologies to detect and take away contaminants using solar energy and photosynthetic bacteria. Arsenic taints many U.S. wells

ANCIENT ROCKS, MODERN PURPOSE | Geology and groundwater studies, Navajo Nation and southwest Utah | SUMMER 2023
An interdisciplinary team will perform a rare combination of research into ancient rocks and modern pollution because it plans to drill cores from the 200-million-year-old Chinle formation. These spectacularly coloured desert rocks formed on the juncture of the Triassic and Jurassic periods, when mass extinctions swept the earth and dinosaurs began to rise. The cores should help scientists understand how climate changes could have contributed. At the identical time, modern groundwater contamination from extraction of uranium, metals, oil, gas and coal is affecting these formations. Boreholes should provide information on how contaminants move around. This 12 months’s trip will involve mainly reconnaissance. Project co-led by geologist Paul Olsen in collaboration with Navajo Technical University. Petrified National Park drilling

WOOD UNDERWATER | Sampling of subfossil trees, Utah, Latest Mexico | AUG and SEPT 2023
The U.S. Southwest is undergoing a megadrought more intense than anything seen for a minimum of the last 1,200 years, driven largely by warming climate. Tree-ring scientists have studied other droughts over this span, but are unsure in the event that they, too, were brought on by heat. Latest evaluation techniques promise to reply the temperature query, but there are few suitable living trees sufficiently old from which to extract this type of data. Dendrochronologists Karen Heeter and Edward Cook aim to increase the record by sampling dead but well-preserved logs on the bottom or underwater at two high-elevation lakes. Blue Lake (in August) lies at 10,000 feet within the Tushar Mountains of south-central Utah; San Leonardo Lake (September) at 11,300 feet in northern Latest Mexico. The research is a component of a bigger project to develop a history of temperatures throughout North America. Southwest megadrought worst in 1,200 years | 1,000 years of tree rings confirm extremity of 2021 heat wave

WARNING SIGNS | Volcano monitoring, Aleutian Islands | MAY 29-JUNE 10, 2023, REVISITS THRU 2025 | Costa Rica |NOVEMBER 2023/MARCH 2024
Some 80 energetic volcanoes worldwide threaten 800 million people. But dependable eruption forecasts largely elude scientists, partly because many volcanoes are in underdeveloped areas, not monitored with technology available to wealthy nations. To treatment this, volcanologists Terry Plank, Einat Lev and colleagues are working to create a standardized package of instruments and protocols that will be duplicated quickly and cheaply at sites the world over. A pilot project is on the Aleutian Islands’ highly energetic Cleveland and Okmok volcanoes, where they’ve deployed sensors to detect gas emissions, earthquakes, surface inflation, and low-frequency sounds signaling danger. Data is transmitted constantly via satellite. The team will next install an analogous array at Costa Rica’s energetic Poas Volcano, along with the nation’s Volcanology and Seismology Observatory (OVSICORI). The partners may also hold a community workshop on the volcano in spring 2024. OVSICORI website | Project web page

RESETTING THE HUMAN CLOCK | Fieldwork up to now early stone tools, southern California | MID NOVEMBER 2023
Evidence is mounting that humans settled the Americas well before the longtime conventional date of about 13,000 years ago—possibly as way back as 33,000 years. Geochemists Sidney Hemming and Tanzhuo Liu consider they might be on the trail to an excellent earlier date: some 45,000 years. This relies on evaluation of a single stone tool in regards to the size of a toddler’s palm, present in California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There are abundant stone artifacts on this arid area, largely paved with barren expanses of clay and gravel. The scientists study so-called rock varnish, which forms on stony surfaces over hundreds of years, and will be used up to now surfaces including each worked tools and natural stone. Working with archaeologists, they’ll collect material from archaeological sites to assist efforts up to now more artifacts.
Anza-Borrego Park description

BETTER SEPTIC | Modern wastewater systems, Alabama | ONGOING
In lots of rural U.S. communities, poverty and difficult soil conditions are sending disease-causing sewage into groundwater—an issue that will worsen as temperatures rise, encouraging growth of dangerous organisms. In central Alabama’s “Black Belt,” 90 percent of septic systems function poorly, or are only a pipe running to a close-by ditch or stream. Here, teams are constructing 15 modular small-scale wastewater systems, each serving about 20 households or businesses, just like ones utilized by the military but up to now rarely elsewhere. If this pilot is successful, such systems may very well be built to serve many other areas. Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center, co-leads the project. Project web pages

CO2-Eating Rocks |Carbon sequestration, central Minnesota | ONGOING
The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy is working to each improve the yield of nickel ore and pump atmospheric carbon underground, where natural chemical reactions will lock it into solid mineral form. At a planned mine in Tamarack, Minn., a rare formation of porous ultramafic rocks will naturally power the reactions. The project employs technology developed by scientists in Oman, where similar rocks exist. Project announcement | Previous work in Oman 


RIFTING CONTINENT | Geological fieldwork to map fault zones, Okavango Basin, Botswana | May 2023
Using a wide selection of methods, geologist Folarin Kolawole is mapping poorly known seismic faults generated by the slow rifting of East Africa. The research is geared toward understanding earthquake risk over wide areas. In May he and native colleagues will visit the Okavango-Makgadikgadi Rift Zone in northern Botswana, where young faults break the desert surface, often causing sizable earthquakes. They are going to map fault structures and sample rocks to find out the timing and structural kinds of faulting across the region.

CONSERVING COASTLINE | Work with Indigenous peoples, Latest Ireland, Papua Latest Guinea | MAY 11-JULY 15, 2023
The Indigenous people of Papua Latest Guinea face multiple challenges from development, including along the coasts, where the world’s first deep-sea mining is planned. Anthropologist Paige West and longtime Indigenous collaborator John Aini will conduct an ongoing project on conserving marine sovereignty. This summer they give attention to mentoring young women from Latest Ireland working on coastal resilience and erosion. This features a recent project examining the role of Indigenous-designed fish traps in mitigating coastal erosion on low-lying islands—a part of a collaboration with 12 Indigenous communities on small-scale conservation areas that work to revitalize each marine diversity and cultural practice. Article on the project

BEDROCK CLUES | Coring rock under Greenland ice | MAY 3-JUNE 3, 2023 and SUMMERS THRU 2026
In 2016, scientists announced that a rare sample of rock from deep under the Greenland ice indicated the sheet had melted to bedrock a minimum of once within the recent geologic past—a shock, suggesting it could occur with human-induced climate change. Nevertheless, the evidence got here from only a single core, taken within the Nineteen Nineties. Now a team led partly by Joerg Schaefer, writer of the unique report, is following up to collect more evidence by drilling through the ice to bedrock at 4 other sites. Also on the project: Nicolás Young and Gisela Winckler. This 12 months, the team will drill at Prudhoe Land, within the northeast of the ice sheet. Project web pages | Story on the project | Greenland ice melted to bedrock up to now 

DISAPPEARING WATER|Studies of glacial lake drainage, western Greenland | May and August 2023
Each summer, meltwater lakes form atop parts of the Greenland ice—and plenty of suddenly drain when their bottoms fall out. Little is understood about what triggers this, where the water goes, and the way it’d influence ice movement. To deal with these questions, a team will helicopter in east of the coastal town of Ilulissat to position geophysical instruments in and around where lakes typically form. These will include GPS units to measure minute movements of the ice, radars to detect water pathways underneath, and water-depth recorders for the lakes themselves. Team includes seismologist Meredith Nettles and glaciologist Jonathan Kingslake. Article on meltwater throughout the ice

DEEP-FREEZE DRONES | Studies of glacial ice, western Greenland| July 9-20, 2023
Glaciologist Marco Tedesco and a grad student will fly to Kangerlussuaq, western Greenland, and from there travel overland to the Russell glacier, to check impurities within the ice, and their effects on surface melting. The researchers will collect data via drone over small areas, to help satellites using artificial intelligence to research much wider ones. Their particular focus shall be cryoconites—small, mysterious holes that collect dust, microorganisms and meltwater, and appear to play a giant role in rapid summer melting. They may also collect ice samples to check for microplastics. The Russell lies at the top of Greenland’s longest road, considered one of the few glaciers reachable by vehicle. Story, film and slideshow on the project

LAND’S END | Lake coring, archaeology, northern Greenland |SUMMER 2023
Peary Land, an uninhabited peninsula in far northern Greenland, was once an oasis, if a harsh one, for early Arctic people; its dry climate keeps glaciers from constructing, making it the world’s northernmost ice-free region. Little is understood of how people survived here way back to 2500 BC, or why they eventually left. Paleoclimate scientist William D’Andrea will join a team of archaeologists and others studying the once-occupied Wandel Dal valley. By coring lake sediments, they hope to retrieve leaf stays, pollen, ancient DNA and other material to stipulate past temperatures, precipitation, and plant and animal life.  Wandel Dal project website | D’Andrea’s work in Arctic Norway

ANCESTRAL LAND | Studies of ancient climate, tectonics and life, northwest Kenya | JUNE 15-30, 2023
Paleoclimatologist Kevin Uno and other scientists are a part of the large-scale Turkana Miocene Project, which is studying many elements of landscape and biological evolution, from 23 million to five million years ago, when early prehuman ancestors roamed the landscape. The team, involving researchers from a dozen institutions, will excavate 4 to 6 fossil-rich sites this summer. Project website | Human origins within the Turkana region

END OF AN ICE SHEET? | Glacial geology, Baffin Island | SUMMER 2023
The Barnes Ice Cap, positioned on Canada’s Arctic Baffin Island, is considered one of the last remnants of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which once covered North America as far south as Latest York and Latest Jersey. Resulting from warming climate, it’s now receding; models suggest it could disappear by 2200. But are current conditions unprecedented? Geologists and geochemists including Nicolás Young, Joerg Schafer and Gisela Winckler will collect samples from bedrock that has emerged from under the ice within the last decade. They are going to later measure rare cosmogenic nuclides that can indicate whether the ice pulled back to an analogous extent in some unspecified time in the future or points after the last ice age. Abstract of the project

POLLUTED TREASURE | Encouraging mercury-free gold mining, Peruvian Amazon | SUMMER 2023
The Madre de Dios river basin of southeast Peru is heavily pocked by small-scale illegal mines, where miners commonly use polluting mercury to extract gold. A team including grad student Jennifer Angel Amaya and geochemist Alexander van Geen are a part of a project to induce miners to separate out the gold using purely mechanical means. Using portable instruments, they’ll have the option to determine if any mercury was used. If not, through arrangement with the federal government, the gold will be sold at a premium.

AFRICAN SMOG | Air pollution monitoring, sub-Saharan Africa | JUNE-AUG 2023 AND ONGOING
Much of sub-Saharan Africa suffers from drastic air pollution, killing as many as 700,000 people a 12 months. Most countries wouldn’t have the means to even measure pollution, much less address it. Atmospheric scientist Dan Westervelt and colleagues have designed low-cost monitors and at the moment are helping governments arrange networks to chart pollution from cooking fires, garbage burning, vehicles and generators. In late June and early July they shall be in Togo to put in monitors at 20 sites throughout the country. They are going to proceed on to Ghana to assist construct and test the primary Ghanaian-sourced air sensors. In August, they shall be in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya, to assist maintain existing monitors. Other countries where they work: Benin, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Air Pollution within the Global South | Measuring pollution in Togo | Bridging the Pollution Data Gap in Sub-Saharan Africa

PLUNGING CANYONS | Geologic fieldwork, South Australia | EARLY JUNE-EARLY AUGUST 2023
The period 650 million to 535 million years ago was marked by the evolution of the primary complex organisms, together with violent climate swings from hothouse conditions to ice ages that glaciated most or all the planet. Geologists Nicholas Christie-Blick and Sarah Giles are sampling rocks from this era, called the Ediacaran, within the deep canyons of the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. This 12 months, they shall be searching for fossil evidence of microbial mats on the time when complex animal life first appeared, together with signs of pulsed deglaciations. Area is distant, and fieldwork will entail extensive climbing.

SINKING AND SHAKING | Studies of Bangladesh land subsidence, earthquakes| ONGOING
Across much of low-lying Bangladesh, sea levels are rising, and land is sinking. That is bringing flooding and pollution of fresh water aquifers. On top of this, it has recently turn into clear that the region faces substantial risk of catastrophic earthquakes that might change the course of rivers. Geophysicist Michael Steckler and colleagues are studying the forces at work with precise measurements of underlying geology and changing land levels, especially near the coast. The studies are aimed partly at design and maintenance of the numerous dikes that keep the ocean at bay. Steckler makes frequent trips, including to the wild Sundarbans, home of the world’s largest remaining mangrove forest. Bangladesh earthquake risk | Watch a documentary | Project blog

NAVIGATING THE NEW ARCTIC | Mapping Greenland’s changing coastal waters | NOVEMBER 2023 and ONGOING
Sea levels in many of the world are rising, but in Greenland they are literally dropping, partly because Greenland is losing a lot ice, the land is quickly rebounding from its weight. This threatens to strand coastal communities that always rely on already shallow waters for travel and fishing. With local people doing much of the legwork, a gaggle led by polar scientists David Porter, Robin Bell and Kirsty Tinto are working to map waters around 4 communities intimately, and install instruments to know how things are changing, and the way communities may adapt. Work happening in Kullorsuaq, Aasiaat, Tasilaq, and Nuuk. The American scientists will visit November 8-10, during Greenland Science Week. Project web pages | Story on the project | Story, video, slideshow on the melting of Greenland

1,000 YEARS OF WEATHER | Tree-ring sampling, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador | SUMMER 2023
As a part of a five-year project to reconstruct weather patterns and extremes over the past millennium, scientists led by Laia Andreu-Hayles will sample rings from ancient trees in Peru, Bolivia and possibly Ecuador. Work extends from 15,000 feet within the Andes into lower elevations of the western Amazon. The team will merge the information with separate studies of cave formations and other material to yield a long-term picture of climate variations on this region. Abstract of the research

MILLENNIA OF CLIMATE ADAPTATION | Ethnographic, archaeological investigations, southwest Madagascar | JUNE-AUGUST 2023 and ONGOING
A team of researchers co-led by Kristina Douglass is using archaeological, ethnographic and ecological data to research how people have adapted their livelihoods in farming, fishing, foraging and herding to big natural climate swings over the past 3,000 to five,000 years. Human-influenced climate change presents a recent threat; among the many organisms menaced are Madagascar’s iconic baobab trees, a keystone species. Co-led by the Indigenous people, the study has a watch toward how the Malagasy people and others can adapt in the longer term. Spinoff projects include investigations of the early settlement of Madagascar, past megafauna extinctions, and the results of coral harvesting.  Project website

MONSOON MYSTERIES|Ocean-going studies, Bay of Bengal/Arabian Sea | April-Aug. 2023-2025
A 3rd of the world population relies on seasonal monsoon rainfall, governed largely by sea-surface temperatures and currents within the Indian Ocean. In recent many years, the ocean has undergone pronounced warming, which could also be changing longtime patterns. In an try to understand the dynamics of two distinctly different key areas—the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea—research ships from India and the US will perform a series of cruises to higher understand cyclic changes. Research will mix distant sensing with shipboard measurement and deployment of autonomous underwater gliders. Oceanographer Joaquim Goes shall be considered one of the important thing participants.

OCEAN INVADERS| Studies of harmful plankton off Oman | TBD
It’s part plant, part animal, and it’s taking up. It’s Noctiluca scintillans, a floating organism that forms thick, slimy mats on the ocean, feeding on all the things from sunlight to fish eggs. It is prospering within the Arabian Sea, where climate change has created the proper conditions, damaging fishing and aquaculture, clogging water intakes of oil refineries and desalination plants, and hurting tourism. Oceanographer Joaquim Goes is leading a study of the organism and tips on how to cope with it, working at sea to know its life cycle, and the way Oman can adapt. The creatures at the moment are spreading off southeast Asia and India, and will eventually reach other areas. Studying Bioluminescent Blooms within the Arabian Sea

DEEP CIRCULATION | Ocean-bed drilling, North Atlantic, off Iceland | June 12-Aug 12, 2023
The drill ship JOIDES Resolution will take cores of sediment and underlying basalt seabed from several sites south of Iceland with a purpose to understand how underlying volcanic activity and resulting changes in seabed topography may shape the deep circulation of North Atlantic waters over long periods. Sediments are also expected to yield insights into past natural climate swings. Crew will including Sidney Hemming and Claire Jasper. A part of the International Ocean Discovery Program.  IODP Expedition 395 web pages

END OF AN ERA | Seabed studies of last ice-age deglaciation off northwest Greenland | JULY-AUG 2023
A 35-day cruise in Baffin Bay, between Greenland and neighboring Baffin Island, will seek to elucidate what initiated rapid deglaciation along Greenland’s coast at the top of the last ice age. It is believed that the island was ringed with extensive floating ice shelves on the time, like those now surrounding Antarctica. Warming ocean temperatures could have destabilized them, just like what’s now happening in Antarctica. To check this hypothesis, the researchers will map the seafloor and produce up cores of sediments containing glacial debris and tiny creatures that can allow them to reconstruct conditions of this time. Co-chief scientist: Brendan Reilly, director of the Lamont-Doherty Deep Sea Core Repository.

ICE CYCLES | Deep drilling off Northwest Greenland | AUG 12-OCT 13, 2023
The research vessel JOIDES Resolution will perform deep drilling of sediments within the seabed off northwest Greenland. This could outline repeated warm and cold periods over the past 30 million years, and multiple aspects that will have caused them, including oceanic, atmospheric and tectonic forces, and variations in Earth’s orbit. Drilling at seven sites will penetrate so far as 1,000 meters. The expedition seeks to handle knowledge gaps in regards to the variability of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Crew will include deep-sea core specialist Jannik Martens. A part of the International Ocean Discovery Program. IOPD Expedition 400 web pages

EMPTYING THE LAND | Studies of protected areas, Japan | ONGOING 2021-2024
In Japan, populations in lots of rural areas are aging and declining, presenting the reverse of issues seen in most countries searching for to preserve natural areas. Joshua D. Fisher, who co-directs the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity, will visit rural regions to research how well different systems of governance are working in protected areas. A part of a wider international project based at Hiroshima University to maximise the results of managing protected areas. Project web pages

UNCERTAIN THREATS | Studies of earthquake faults, Latest Zealand | LATE 2023
Much of Latest Zealand’s landscape is dominated by visible earthquake faults, but little is understood about long-term dangers, since it is difficult to inform once they last moved. To deal with this, geologist Stephen Cox and and colleagues will collect samples from major faults within the sparsely populated Wairarapa region of the South Island. Most work shall be along the coast, where faults are visibly exposed at low tide. Samples shall be analyzed using newly developed chemical methods that allow scientists to detect and date earthquakes that occurred tens of hundreds to thousands and thousands of years ago. ‘Quiet’ A part of San Andreas May Be Threat  | How Earthquakes Leave Chemical Clues in Rocks

GLACIERS AND GEYSERS | Studies of hydrothermal eruptions and glacier retreat, Chilean Andes | OCTOBER 2023
Mountain glaciers around the globe are rapidly retreating—a few of them positioned in areas of energetic volcanism. What happens to underlying volcanism and hydrothermal systems when the ice disappears? A team including geologist Michael Kaplan and geochemists Joerg Schaefer and Gisela Winckler will work to know processes at El Tatio geyser field within the northern Chilean Andes, where glaciers retreated hundreds of years ago, and hydrothermal activity has since been intense. Precise dating of mineral deposits built up across the geysers and underlying glacial debris should help the researchers understand the links between current deglaciation and hydrothermal eruptions, and address potential for brand spanking new volcanic hazards. Chasing Gold, Geysers and Geothermal Power

WANING GLACIERS | Citizen surveys, Peru | FALL 2023 or SPRING 2024
Anthropologist Benjamin Orlove of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society is studying how individuals are affected by and adapting to declines of nearby glaciers. In Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, his research focuses on changes in water availability, increases in natural hazards, and alteration of culturally and economically significant landscapes. Here, residents try to address reduced water for irrigation and domestic use. Past work has taken him to small towns in Washington state and within the Italian Alps.

SLIDING INTO THE SEA | Geophysical measurements, Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica | DEC 2023-JAN 2024
West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is wasting at a quickening pace, already contributing 4 percent of current global sea-level rise. In considered one of the most important international Antarctic collaborations ever, some 100 scientists from seven countries are studying every aspect of the glacier and its bed. Amongst them, geophysics grad student Elizabeth Case will camp on the ice with colleagues to gather data on strains and deformation increase contained in the ice because it flows to the ocean. Story on the project | Project web page

RESCUING SLAG AND CO2 | Steelworks recycling, northern China | ONGOING
Researchers from the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy are working with Baotou Steel in Inner Mongolia to run a revolutionary recent plant designed to recycle slag and waste CO2 into raw materials utilized in paper, plastic, paint, cement, and the oil and gas industries. After a successful pilot, construction is underway on a commercial-scale plant. Project led by Lenfest director Ah-Hyung (Alissa) ParkArticle on the project

NEW GROWTH | Monitoring tree responses to drought, Costa Rica, Sweden, Florida, Mexico | ONGOING THRU 2024
Many forests the world over are projected to see expanded periods of high heat and drought because the climate warms; in some areas, including parts of Russia and Mongolia, essentially the most common tree species may reach the bounds of their endurance, with cascading ecological effects. Ecoclimatologist Mukund Palat Rao is studying potential effects in various places by installing dendrometers, sensitive instruments that record how individual trees reply to changing conditions hour by hour. He has installed instruments at Costa Rica’s La Selva Biological Station; at Svartberget, Sweden; in northern Florida; and Sonora, Mexico. He goes back periodically to take care of them and download data. Colleagues are monitoring sites in Alaska, Saskatchewan, Belgium and Denmark.

CATALYZING ENERGY | Mapping potential electric investment, Uganda | ONGOING THRU 2024
Efforts to enhance energy access within the developing world often give attention to homes, schools and health facilities. This project focuses on agricultural lands where investors in electricity infrastructure could become profitable by expanding power grids. Guided partly by satellite imagery, researchers in Uganda are interviewing people and gathering visual data on crops, livestock, wells, irrigation systems, and agricultural processing and storage systems. Co-led by engineer Vijay Modi. Project web page

CLEARER AIR | Moving households to cleaner fuels, central Ghana | ONGOING OCT 2023-MAY 2028
Some 3 billion people cook with wood and other biomass on rudimentary stoves, producing a fifth of the world’s black-carbon emissions, and substantial opposed health effects. In a central Ghana region with 30,000 people, researchers are exploring ways to transition people in farming communities to recent cookware and cleaner fuels, including propane. Surveys of existing air quality are step one. Staff includes geochemist Steven Chillrud, who measures human exposure to dirty air. Project web page

DANGEROUS WATERS | Testing waters, soil and rice for arsenic, Southeast Asia| ONGOING
Naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater is a significant problem in wells across much of Asia. Geochemists Alexander van Geen and Ben Bostick are studying the causes and possible mitigation measures, working across India and Southeast Asia. In May, van Geen and collaborators will sample sediments from the Ravi River, which runs through eastern Pakistan and northwestern India, an apparent source of high arsenic concentrations. This summer/fall, Bostick will work in Cambodia and Vietnam to research how rice crops take up arsenic from soil and irrigation water—a widespread problem. Videos and story on Asian geological and health studies | Arsenic pollution near Hanoi

ON THE MOVE | Studies of climate-driven migration, The Gambia | DEC 2023
Geographer Alex de Sherbinin and political scientist Fabien Cottier of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network will visit this West African nation to research the aspects that drive people to migrate inside their very own country, or internationally. Within the capital of Banjul, they’ll interview individuals who have moved from the countryside, in addition to consult with relative and friends in rural areas. They may also interview people contemplating moves to Europe or North America to know their motivations and the advantages they anticipate. Aspects behind climate migration

EXPOSED INNARDS | Seabed drilling, Tyrrhenian Sea | FEB 9-APRIL 8, 2024
The bed of the Tyrrhenian Sea, off southwestern Italy, is home to a geologic anomaly: intact rocks that when resided within the earth’s mantle, normally not seen in ocean crust, defying the traditional explanation for the way it forms. A team on the research ship JOIDES Resolution will drill down with the hope of gaining some explanation of how they got here to be there. Co-chief scientist is Alberto Malinverno. A part of the International Ocean Discovery Program. IODP Expedition 402 webpage

SUSTAINING PEACE | Sociological fieldwork, Costa Rica | TBD
While most research frames peace throughout the context of conflict and war, social psychologist Peter Coleman and colleagues from the Advanced Consortium on Conflict, Cooperation and Complexity are studying the aspects that contribute to harmony in societies which can be outstandingly peaceful. Fieldwork was recently accomplished in Mauritius. The researchers hope to maneuver on to Costa Rica. Report on Mauritius | The Sustaining Peace Project | Researchers Study How Mauritius Achieves Peace


In summer 2023, the Piermont Marsh Secondary School Programs can have high-school students work in suburban marshland along the Hudson River and green spaces along the Latest York City waterfront. They are going to collect data on carbon flux, nutrients, sediment accumulation, plastics contamination and wildlife. This feeds right into a long-term study on the estuary’s health and evolution within the face of sea-level rise and other forces. Program heads: Margie Turrin and Benjamin Bostick.

The GRate Project in Greenland goals to attract a comprehensive picture of the ice sheet’s behavior and relative sea levels over the past 20,000 years. In summer 2023, researchers including Nicolás Young will collect rocks within the northeast that will be used up to now periods of ice retreat. Within the Kulusuk area of southeast Greenland, researcher including Margie Turrin will sample lake sediments that contain information on past precipitation and temperatures.

If record-high snowpacks melt enough, in summer 2023 dendrochronologist Karen Heeter and colleagues will collect rings from ancient spruce trees growing at high elevations within the California Sierra. Part of a bigger project to develop a continent-wide record of North American temperatures going back 1,000-plus years.

In fall 2023, Jorge Otero-Pailos, a professor of historic preservation on the Graduate School of Architecture, will take a gaggle of graduate students to Venice to check how town can adapt specific spaces to rising sea levels. The group will propose possible projects to cope with the problem.

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