Hot Topics

Climate Change and the Syrian Conflict

by | March 3, 2015
Category: News

The growing body of climate and conflict literature just got a major new study courtesy of C+S alum Colin Kelley (C+S ’08). The research, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looks how climate change influenced the ongoing Syrian conflict that’s given rise to the Islamic State.

The Argo Revolution

by | February 26, 2015
Category: News
(Source: fruchtzwerg's world/Flickr)

What can hold its breath for 10 days and swim to depths of 6560 feet? Not the Loch Ness Monster (good guess, though). That would be an Argo float, a fleet of which are scouring our oceans and collecting crucial information on salinity, temperature and currents.

Climate and Society at AGU

by | January 20, 2015
Category: News

In December, C+S Assistant Director Cynthia Thomson gave a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Thomson’s talk focused on how to educate students about the nexus of climate and society, drawing lessons learned during the 10 years of C+S’ existence. It’s only fitting that C+S alum and current communications coordinator at the […]

Featured C+Ser: Josh Gellers

by | December 12, 2014
Category: Featured C+Ser
Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

Josh Gellers (C+S ’07) recently completed his PhD in Political Science and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of North Florida. See how C+S helped guide his research interests.

C+S Online Information Sessions

by | December 9, 2014
Category: News

The M.A. Program in Climate and Society is a twelve-month interdisciplinary Master of Arts program that trains professionals and academics to understand and cope with the impacts of climate variability and climate change on society and the environment. Learn more about the M.A. in Climate and Society at one of our upcoming online information sessions. Online Information […]

Dispatches from Bhutan

by | November 20, 2014
Category: News
Source: Ben Orlove

C+S Co-Director Ben Orlove recently traveled to Bhutan for a month where he talked to local farmers to learn about their livelihoods and their views on environmental change. While in Bhutan, he took time to document his trip in a series of blog posts for GalcierHub, a website that seeks to expand and deepen the understanding of glacier.

Fire Fire Everywhere and Lots of Data to Save

by | September 29, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Effects of the current drought in Jamaica (Source: Ipsita Kaur).

Imagine your computer crashing and losing all your data. Sounds painful, right? Now imagine that happening to weather data for an entire country. That’s what happened in Jamaica more than 20 years ago when a fire sent decades of data up in smoke, a loss that researchers are still trying to deal with.

Featured Faculty: Brian Kahn

by | September 24, 2014

We caught up with Brian Kahn, Wed Editor at Climate Central (and C+S alum!), who co-teaches Applications in Climate and Society to talk about Climate and Society, his work at Climate Central and much more.

Greek Vineyards and Climate Change

by | September 24, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Grapes on vine from a vineyard located at Agios Dimitrios, Boeotia, Greece (Source: George Krikos, 2014)

If one takes a journey into the Greek history, it is evident that wine has been integrated into Greek tradition and daily diet for thousands of years. References from the ancient Greek texts such as Plato‘s Symposium, to Byzantine times and up to modern times, making it an important part of Greek culture and the source of viticulture’s art for the rest of Europe.

C+S Information Sessions on Columbia’s Campus

by | September 22, 2014
Category: News
BUTLER - Banner

Learn more about the M.A. in Climate and Society at our Information Sessions on October 23, 2014 and November 20, 2014.

Agriculture to Climate Change: From Food to Fasting

by | September 18, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Source:  krislitman/Flickr

Although this might sound bit ambiguous, the magnitude of the impact of climate change on agriculture is foreseeable. During my internship at the International Food Policy Research Institute, I realized that amidst commendable efforts made by the international organizations to ensure food security and nutrition in the developing world, agriculture is still extremely vulnerable when it comes to climate variability and change.

Winning Wars: A “Game of Thrones” Summer

by | September 17, 2014
Category: Student Voices

Prior to this summer, I never understood people’s obsession with Game of Thrones. I had watched the first season and for the life of me could not comprehend what on earth made this crude, graphic TV series be the top entertainment trend!

How, you ask, is this related to Climate and Society? Give me a minute, it will make sense, I promise!

Carbon Offsetting: Now or Never!

by | September 16, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Prices of Certified Emission Reductions (CER) and European Emission Allowances (EUA) since 2009. Especially CER’s have plunged dramatically. (Market Data from

I’m saving quite a lot this summer. Saving by purchasing 1,000 Certified Emission Reductions (CER) that is. The reductions will not only offset the carbon footprint that I create throughout my life, but also pay into the Adaptation Fund of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

What Might Humanitarian Organizations Look Like in the Near Future?

by | September 15, 2014
Category: Student Voices
(Source: Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Center)

In a world where Google Earth allows us to zoom in around the globe, information travels at the speed of social media and storms can be tracked many days in advance, the opportunity for humanitarian organizations to adopt advances in science and technology is vast.

Meeting our Future Environmental Leaders: My Summer with the Environmental Defense Fund

by | September 10, 2014
Category: Student Voices
A Tropicana freight car (Source: Emmett Tullos/Fickr)

This summer I was fortunate enough to snag an internship as a marketing and communications intern with EDF’s Corporate Partnerships program. Within the program, there are many projects that seek to work with companies to help them become more sustainable while also saving money. Then it is up to the marketing team to take these lessons and share them with others.

Urban and Rural Areas Under a Common Threat: Climate Change

by | September 9, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Source: Shari Lifson

More than half the world’s 7 billion people live in cities. By 2050, population is expected to grow to 9 billion and 70 percent of humanity will live in cities. Yet even in an urbanizing world, the fate of rural areas is vitally important. More people living in cities mean more mouths to feed but less people living in rural areas to grow the food needed. Climate change is an overarching issue that everyone in the world will have to deal with no matter where they live.

An Idiot’s Guide to Climate Projections

by | September 5, 2014
Category: Student Voices

In the last few years, you’ve probably come across some dire warnings about the future climate of your hometown. Maybe it was that downtown would be submerged by 2050, or that extended droughts would become the norm. Where do these projections come from?

C+S at the 2014 Idealist Grad Fairs

by | September 4, 2014
Category: News
Grad Fairs 2014 Home page

The M.A. Program in Climate and Society will be traveling to Idealist Grad Fairs across the U.S. this fall. Come visit us in the following cities, you’ll find us listed under The Earth Institute, Columbia University – Education Programs.

Carbon Market: A Brand New Solution to Beijing’s Poor Air

by | September 4, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Beijing's CBD (Source:  Simon Kung)

China is currently the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. In 2009, the Chinese government made a commitment at international climate talks to reduce its carbon emissions by 40-45 percent below 2005 level by 2020. Inevitably, it will have to make these, and possibly deeper cuts, as part of a global effort to address climate change, which means carbon markets could be a big part of China’s future.

Togo: Future Erosion

by | September 3, 2014
Category: Student Voices
The beach just west of Lomé, Togo. In the foreground of the picture, the ground suddenly drops off about 5 
feet. Looking out into the water, those rocks are the remnants of the old Togolese Coastal Roadway, 
consumed and destroyed by the relentless advance of the sea. (Source: Joshua Turner)

While in Togo, I was an intern for the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, consulting with both the German and Togolese Red Cross. In Togo, they are hoping to pilot a program to establish an early warning system for natural disasters like flooding using available forecasts. The idea is that with adequate forecasting, both short and longer term, certain ‘no regrets’ actions can be taken in advance to reduce or eliminate disaster risk and humanitarian crises.

Crunching Numbers, Hidden States

by | September 2, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Rainfall models – hidden states

Climate models and analyses of the available data allow us to have a more comprehensive understanding of water and the Earth system. The better we understand this delicate relationship, the better we can make decisions and policies that protect both.

The 11th Year Begins: Welcoming the Climate and Society Class of 2015

by | August 28, 2014
Category: News
Photo: Elisabeth Gawthrop

This week we welcomed the 11th Climate and Society class to Columbia University and New York City. There are 38 students from eight different countries and a variety of different backgrounds, from business to anthropology to environmental sciences.

A Summer as a Communication Communicator

by | August 26, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Just another day at the office

In the vast discipline of climate change there is a valiant group of climate change communicators; a cross-disciplinary group of people who discard the acclaim of research, compassion of advocacy, or practicality of policy and instead tire over how to disseminate one of the world’s most complex (and pressing) topics. This summer I have joined their ranks, even if just for a moment.

Putting Price on Carbon – A Premium for Secure Future

by | August 22, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo: Mark Jensen/Flickr

As the world leaders, scientists and businesses around the globe are working towards finding radical solutions to the climate change problem, the phrase ‘putting a price of carbon’ is becoming increasingly crucial. But why is it so popular?

Green Parking? A Future Direction for Parking Industry

by | August 13, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo: Chris Murphy/Flickr

“What is green parking?”

This question came up when I first heard of the Green Parking Council, the organization where I’m interning this summer. Just a few months prior, I was anxious and uncertain about what my summer internship should be. But now, I am extremely excited about being involved in the Green Garage Certification Program (GPC).

A Hurricane Recipe

by | August 7, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Observed global hurricane tracks for the period 1986-2005. Source: NOAA, National Climate Data Center

My summer internship is about documenting global hurricane simulations using a high-resolution climate model. The model is blah blah blah…I bet I’m boring you. Well, what about talking about something more interesting (or at least tasty)?. Let’s say, pasta! Sounds good, right? But wait, how could hurricanes be related to pasta?

Using Climate Information for Decision Making

by | August 7, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo: Gates Foundation/Flickr

As we increase our knowledge of the earth’s climate and how human activity is disrupting the delicate balance of air, land and water that creates our environment it is becoming clear that future generations will not be living in the same environmental conditions as us.

S.M.A.R.T. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Increasing Livability and Resilience to Climate Change

by | August 6, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo:  Galen Piehl/Flickr

Globally, communities are dealing with the impacts of climate change; some in similar ways, others more uniquely. Hawaii, for one, is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and other impacts of climate change because of its isolation and dependency on foreign trade. That makes planning and adapting to climate change a particular priority for the state.

Cities and Climate Change: A Recipe for Action

by | August 4, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo: Elizabeth Haslam/Flickr

What are the ingredients for action on climate change at the city level?

Winter Storms in Climate Science Versus Social Disciplines: A Collaborative Approach to Study Coastal Vulnerability

by | August 1, 2014
Category: Student Voices

This year’s Climate and Society class is out in the field (or lab or office) completing a summer internship or thesis. They’ll be documenting their experiences one blog post at a time. Read on to see what they’re up to. By Cari Shimkus, Climate and Society 2014 If you ask a climate scientist to describe winter […]

Climate Change and Eastern Caribbean Rainfall

by | July 30, 2014
Category: Student Voices

The climate of the eastern Caribbean stretches from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad. And like other tropical regions, it is highly dependent on rainfall for freshwater resources. Yet climate change could throw the current precipitation cycle out of whack. Generally, wet places are projected to get wetter and the dry places drier. NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth refers to this phenomenon as, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” That raises big questions for the eastern Caribbean.

Climate Change: Have You Heard the Voices of Children

by | July 29, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Yang at her desk at the UNICEF offices.

Everyone on Earth is somehow going to be affected by climate change. Children are extremely vulnerable to climate impacts and they’ll be forced to deal with the long-lasting changes carbon emissions are driving.

Mexico’s Gastronomy Under Threat

by | July 23, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Mexican maize varieties.  Photo: Ezequiel Soto Sanchez.

From early in the morning on a workday to the wee hours after a party, from my grandmother’s home to one of the world’s finest restaurants, at every Mexican table, corn is king. It’s not just one type of corn, but numerous varieties used for different dishes. Yet climate change could threaten the diversity of maize.

What to do with a Seasonal Forecast

by | July 23, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Decision tree for disaster management in the water sector.

The key to planning is identifying climate trends and impacts and what appropriate preparedness actions we can execute in a timely manner. For weather events like the current trend of rainy afternoons, an appropriate preparedness action would be to keep an umbrella handy. But what can we do for climate events during the hurricane season, for example?

El Niño: More than Just Pacific Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

by | July 14, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Surface temperature anomalies in the Pacific, week ending July 5. Warmer colors indicate above-normal temperatures. (Source: IRI Map Room)

As we enter the second half of 2014, climate forecasters continue to watch the Pacific for the development of an El Niño event. An El Niño Watch has been in place since March, but conditions still have yet to fully develop.

What Makes a Place Habitable? Or Livable?

by | July 8, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr

Climate-induced human migration makes a quiet but notable appearance in the third U.S. National Climate Assessment released this May. It comes in chapter 23, in the form of a ‘key message’ to the 100,000 or so atoll inhabitants within the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands region:

“Mounting threats to food and water security, infrastructure, and public health and safety are expected to lead to increasing human migration from low to high elevation islands and continental sites.”

Coming to a Global Climate Agreement in Paris, with a Stopover in Bonn

by | June 30, 2014
Category: Student Voices
Photo: UNclimatechange/Flickr

Twice a year, delegates from 192 countries, along with a range of non-governmental organizations, news outfits, and for-profit groups under the guise of non-profits, descend on the small German city of Bonn for a session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC.

How to Deal with Climate Skeptics

by | June 13, 2014
Category: News
Photo by Brian Kahn

C+S Co-Director Ben Orlove recently spoke with the Guardian about how to deal with climate change from a business perspective when skeptics are involved. Orlove suggests that many times identity comes into play, especially with so called climate change losers, such as the coal industry. To help, Orlove recommends finding allies who are also fighting […]

Featured C+Ser: John-Michael Cross

by | May 29, 2014
Category: Featured C+Ser

It’s not uncommon to find John­-Michael Cross (C+S ‘09) on Capitol Hill briefing legislative offices on climate and energy issues. Find out what he’s been up to since graduating.

C+S Students Walk Across the Stage During GSAS’ 2014 M.A. Convocation

by | May 21, 2014
Category: News
Convocation 2014

On May 18 the C+S class of 2014, dressed in their Columbia blue graduation caps and gowns and walked across the stage in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Master’s Convocation.

Climate Change Linked to New Jersey Brush Fires

by | April 22, 2014
Category: News
Southern Pine Beetle Photo: US Department of Agriculture.

On April 7 Manhattan woke up to a haze and the smell of smoke caused by a fire in the pinelands of southern New Jersey. Such fires are becoming more common and climate change might just be playing a role.

Almost Famous: Pioneers in the Field of Climate and Weather Journalism

by | February 13, 2014
Categories: Alumni Voices, News
Photo by: emilydickinsonridesabmx/Flickr

C+S alumni have been making waves in weather and climate journalism. From Buzzfeed to Slate to Mashable to Rolling Stone Magazine read about the awesome things C+S alumni are up to.

Meandering in the Annapurna: Evidence of Climate Impacts in Nepal

by | December 6, 2013
Category: Alumni Voices
The Gangapurna glacier in 2013.

After graduating from Climate and Society, alumnae Agathe Cavicchioli and Margot Le Guen travelled to Nepal to hike the Annapurna Circuit. With climate never far from their minds, they share their experiences, observations and what they learned about climate change in the Annapurna region.

C+S at the AGU Fall Meeting 2013

by | November 21, 2013
Category: News
SF - AGU 2013

The M.A. in Climate and Society will be at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from December 9-13, 2013.

Information Session: Earth Institute Sustainability Graduate Programs

by | November 19, 2013
Category: News

The M.A. in Climate and Society will be participating in the Earth Institute’s Sustainability Programs Information Session on December 2, 2013 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at the Faculty House on Columbia’s Morningside campus.

The 2014 Climate Models Calendar

by | November 12, 2013 | 1 Comment
Category: News

Climate science is often portrayed as dry and tedious. That’s left some climate scientists and communicators wondering how to make it more relatable to the general public. Do you use scientific facts? Do you tell a story? Do you use humor?

M.A. in Climate and Society Information Sessions – Fall 2013

by | September 23, 2013
Category: News

Find out more about our upcoming information sessions.

REDD+: Going Beyond Forest Carbon

by | September 9, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Photo by: Roberto Faidutti, FAO (Ref: CFU000111)

Tropical forests have benefits that go beyond carbon sequestration. Despite this, deforestation continues unabated around the world, contributing to massive quantities of carbon emissions. Through her internship at the United Nations Development Programme, C+S student Manishka De Mel is supporting the UN-REDD Programme to review approaches to participatory monitoring – bringing together science and society.

Out of the Classroom and Into the Field: Assessing Climate Change, Up Close and Personal

by | September 6, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Chris at a community meeting in West Sikka District

It was around sunrise when I stepped off the turbo-prop airplane’s worn aluminum staircase and into the thick humid air, filled with wood smoke, the smell of burning trash, and the calls of countless roosters. I had no idea what to expect on this, my first day of fieldwork on Flores Island. Flores is one of the more than two thousand islands that make up the region called Nusa Tenggara Timur or NTT for short- a region situated about four hours by air to the east of Jakarta.

We’re Hitting the Road with Idealist!

by | September 5, 2013
Category: News
Photo: Ignacio Munguía/Flickr

Come visit us at Idealist Grad Fairs across the U.S. this fall.

Using Trees to Understand Long-term Variations in the Indian Monsoon

by | September 5, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Field sites in the Indian state of Kerala

The Indian Monsoon is the primary source of water for approximately one-fourth of the world’s population. Tree-ring data from India’s forests can be a perfect model to peek into the climate of the past and improve predictions for the region in the future.

If The World Was Perfect, It Wouldn’t Be: Hazard Mitigation Planning in the Big City

by | September 4, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Photo by:  eguchishintaro/Flickr

Yogi Berra was right, the world isn’t perfect, and it never will be. What we love about New York often leaves us open to perils we need to shield ourselves from. Reynir Winnan discusses updating the City’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Climate Change: Who Thought Plastic Bags?

by | August 29, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Ban Plastic

You might ask yourself what plastic bags have to do with climate change. Sofia Martinez explored the connection and worked with the Human Impacts Institute to see if there’s support for a plastic bag ban in New York.

Estimating Crop Yields in Uruguay

by | August 28, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Maize field in Uruguay Photo:  Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria

Ministries of agriculture generally want to estimate crop yield to plan for food security and crop exports. Ever wonder how it’s estimated?

“Developing” a Winter Internship into the Summer with NASA

by | August 26, 2013
Category: Student Voices
The NASA DEVELOP team at IRI (clockwise from left): Yifang Yang, Sunny Ng, Caitlin Reid, Elisabeth Gawthrop, Pietro Ceccato, Alex Sweeney and Tammy Tran

C+Ser Caitlin Reid spent the winter working with staff at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and NASA on a climate and health project. That work sparked an interest and led her to continue on the path with IRI and NASA through the summer.

China’s Policy of Carbon Sequestration: Great Barrier, Huge Potential

by | August 25, 2013
Category: Student Voices
A coal plant in Datteln, Germany. Photo: eutrophication&hypoxia/Flickr

As it seeks to reconcile rapid economic growth with a desire to combat climate change, China is emerging as a leader in the development of carbon capture, utilization and storage, a promising GHG mitigation technology that will slow down the global warming trend.

Dust in the Wind: Climate and Meningococcal Meningitis in Africa

by | August 20, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Meningitis Belt. Image by CDC.

By Elisabeth Gawthrop, Climate and Society ’13 For many of us, dust is just an annoyance. It’s the coating that accumulates on our picture frames, and, for some, it may trigger unwelcome allergies. Dust is increasingly garnering interest, however, in the scientific community, including the role it plays in the climate system. And for many in […]

Climate Finance Knowledge Brokering: Game Changer In The Making?

by | August 15, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Agathe Blog Post

“For me finance is no longer associated with wearing suits and reading the Wall Street Journal.” I am glad my classmate Ricarda Dahlheimer cleared that up for all of us in her post earlier this summer and made the task of describing my summer internship a great deal easier. Since I started my internship at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in early June, I have enjoyed the comfort of light summer dresses and not once read the Wall Street Journal. And yet, I work on climate finance.

Climate Change: Increasing Temperatures, Sea Level and Your Monthly Grocery Budget?

by | August 15, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Rice fields in Nepal

The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) is a major international effort linking climate science, agriculture and economics to improve model predictions of global agricultural production and world food security under the conditions of a changing climate.

From Satellites to Sand Flies: Peering into Sudan from Space

by | August 7, 2013 | 1 Comment
Category: Student Voices
Visceral Leishmaniasis patient being examined. Image provided by Dr. Dia-Eldin Elnaiem (University of Maryland Eastern Shore), one of our project partners. Image was taken during his time in Gedaref, Sudan this past July.

In Eastern Sudan, where cracking soils and Acacia-Balanites woodlands dot the landscape, there roams a ferocious little female bug whose bite packs a serious punch. The female sand fly, of the genus Phlebotomus, has a terrifying and death delivering parasitic unicellular organism residing within it, Leishmania donovani, responsible for the disease, Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), affecting people worldwide.

Why We Are Bad at Predicting the Future Climate and Why It Doesn’t Matter

by | August 6, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Different future emissions scenarios (source: IPCC, 4th AR)

Despite considerable advances in climate modeling, projections can never be certain, but they get the job done anyway.

Integrating Climate Information into Meningitis Early Warning Systems

by | August 5, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Sub SaharanAfrica

Meningitis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria Neisseria Meningitides and is transmitted between humans through respiratory droplets or throat secretions. Existing research has confirmed the tie between environmental factors and the transmission risk of meningitis. Such factors include but are not limited to humidity, temperature and wind speed. With infectious diseases being one of the three most challenging climate sensitive health issues, the central question that the environmental science and the health communities both struggle to answer is: how to integrate climate information into public health decision making process?

Peeking Into the Past, One Ring at a Time

by | August 5, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Tree ring lab (3)

Tucked away in the corner of the Lamont campus, a lone building is marked only with the words “Tree Ring Lab” in fading white paint on a cross-section of a tree. Although the lab holds an idyllic charm with dendro-chronologists walking barefoot and sipping foreign teas, this is the home to some of the most ground-breaking tree ring research.

Crowdsourcing Ideas for More Sustainable Food Systems

by | August 3, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Farmer's market

Climate change affects the agricultural sector directly, by altering growing seasons through precipitation and temperature changes and increasing the number of extreme events that can destroy whole crops. In an urban environment, however, the effects can be compounded by reliance on the transportation sector to ship in most food items, population density creating high demand in a small region and economic disparity.

Early Action as Empowerment: Where Climate Change Adaptation Overlaps Development in Uganda

by | August 2, 2013
Category: Student Voices
A farmer in Okuda, Uganda tending to a tree that was provided as part of the Red Cross’s risk reduction efforts. Photo: Joy Larson

One significant effect of climate change is increased climate variability. High temperatures are going to become higher and extremes will be more frequent, dry spells are going to last longer, storms are going to be more intense. Many parts in Africa are already feeling this effect: long dry spells and food shortages are followed by intense storms and flash floods. In Uganda, the Partners for Resilience (PfR) are working to help marginalized communities adapt to this increased variability by implementing early warning systems across timescales.

Using Climate Modeling to Analyze Asian Summer Monsoon Change

by | August 1, 2013
Category: Student Voices
23 model mean (2)

A “Monsoon” is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing surface wind and corresponding change in precipitation. Monsoon regions experience a sharp contrast between a wet summer and a dry winter. The Asian monsoon, including regional monsoons over South Asia, East Asia and Northwest Pacific, is one of the major monsoon systems of the world. Since summer monsoon precipitation dominates the total annual precipitation in these regions, analyzing changes to the monsoon has important implications for water resources, agriculture, food security, etc.

Learn as Much as You Teach

by | August 1, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Uganda Red Cross

In rural Uganda, an evaluation to discover how much a Red Cross project taught communities about climate change and disaster risk reduction instead shows how much there is to learn from these communities.

From Grades to Trade: Ideas on a Peruvian Carbon Market

by | July 30, 2013
Category: Student Voices

Climate change has been ascending in the Peruvian environmental public agenda, with greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation being recognized as an opportunity to address structural issues such as environmental degradation, social conflict, and competitiveness. As one of the fastest growing countries in Latin America, Peru has the opportunity to shape its development model before getting locked-in to a highly emitting, low technology and socially exclusive economy

Defining a Heat Wave

by | July 30, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Photo: NOAA

How hot is too hot? How much does humidity matter? Is a heat wave in May worse than one in August? These are the questions being worked out at the IRI, in pursuit of creating a heat wave map room for the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre. The questions are deceptively simplistic, but the answers could have major health implications. And they’ve been on the mind of one Climate and Society student every day this summer.

Surveillance Systems as the First Line of Defense Against Future Infectious Disease Outbreaks

by | July 25, 2013
Category: Student Voices

Early Warning Systems based on seasonal climate forecasts together with Early Detection Systems have proved essential to preventing and controlling malaria and cholera outbreaks throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Climate Trends in the West: Too Hot to Touch?

by | July 25, 2013
Category: Student Voices
RAWS Station

The heated debate on climate change often brings into question how much our planet may or may not actually be warming. Are recent heat waves and wild land fires actual phenomena of anthropogenic climate change or are they nothing more than a sporadic event experienced from time to time? And just how accurate is station data utilized to make future projections?

Putting Knowledge to Practice for Fast-Track Adaptation

by | July 24, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Photo by Brian Kahn

With international policy efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions stalling over the past two decades, it is an increasingly recognized opinion that climate change adaptation strategies, and the policies that enable them, must be given immediate priority. In contrast to mitigation, adaptation seems in many ways the more straightforward approach to tackling the challenges of climate change, with more attainable goals in the short term.

Getting Money Smart About Green Infrastructure

by | July 21, 2013
Category: Student Voices
A bioswale in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr./

New York. A torrential downpour. Suddenly, the edges of pavements are gushing rivers. Did you ever stop to think – where does this stormwater go? Alice Cowman has some answers and a look at innovative solutions to ensure cities aren’t swamped.

Tajikistan’s Future Climate: Using Statistics to “See” the Future

by | July 18, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Tajikistan's Pamir Mountains

Seasonal climate forecasts can be integral pieces in natural resource management decisions for Tajikistan, considering its lack of climatic data and vulnerability to climate change.

Science and Sociability: The Sustainable Common Ground

by | July 18, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Build It Green NYC

Can science and social capital go hand in hand? How do we approach climate change without seeming preachy? Is there a way to integrate science into daily social interactions, and if so, how far can it go?

Green Cities Can Be Cooler

by | July 14, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Le Guen

Cities all over the world are getting hotter and more polluted as a result of climate change and urban heat island effect. Is this phenomenon irremediable? Certainly not in view of the burgeoning of innovative adaptation measures across the world.

We Didn’t Start the Fire: Balancing the Mundane with the Disheartening

by | July 13, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Farmers in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia use fire to clear land for agriculture. Those fires can lead to air quality issues throughout the country and other areas in Southeast Asia. Photo: Francesco Fiondella/IRI

Creating forecasts and working on climate science in the confines of the lab can sometimes lead to a narrow perspective. C+S student Jack Poberezny takes pause for thought about the other perspectives that might be out there after an article about the issues he’s working on for his summer internship show up on Reddit.

Exploring Social and Ecological Resilience in Island Systems

by | July 12, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Nadav 1

Island systems are on the forefront of global change. Through his internship at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, C+S student Nadav Gazit is learning how islands adapt to these changes in a fast-track world.

Trying to Think Holistically While Concentrating on Details

by | July 11, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Photo by Brian Kahn

While the solutions to climate adaptation might seem obvious, figuring out how to successfully implement them is anything but.

Climate Finance Recipients: the Most Vulnerable or the Most Accessible?

by | July 9, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Ankober, Ethiopia

Climate change is threating the lives of human beings, wildlife and the ecosystem and its impacts are being felt, expected to get worse and affect the most vulnerable especially children, women and the elderly. Regions with less adaptive capacity such as Africa, Small Island States and also Least Developed Countries will be the hardest hit. Climate finance is needed in order to cope with, adapt and also mitigate changes.

Featured C+Ser: Sarah Abdelrahim

by | July 9, 2013
Category: Featured C+Ser

Sarah Abdelrahim found her way from C+S to Nairobi, Kenya. What skills did she gain from the program that are informing her work with the United Nations Environmental Programme? Find out!

Tailored Financial Instruments Can Make a Difference to Small Island Developing States

by | July 3, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Photo: Randy Son of Randy/Flickr

Few countries have saved enough pennies for “a rainy day” and even less of those have considered saving for “extreme precipitation” and other impacts associated with climate change. Oftentimes, the bottleneck of building climate resilient communities is financing.

City Atlas: What We Talk About When We Talk About Climate Impacts in New York

by | July 1, 2013
Category: Student Voices

Extreme events often prompt ques­tions that begin with “why?” Why now? Why me? Why here? There is no sim­ple answer to these ques­tions due to the chaotic nature of the cli­mate sys­tem. How­ever, part of the answer can be found by exam­in­ing past cli­mate trends and pro­jec­tions for the future. Events such as Hurricane Sandy cause huge impacts on individuals and the environment. From catastrophes such as these and the questions that follow, an opportunity for conversation is created. One organization that is committed to facilitating that conversation is City Atlas.

Moving Beyond the Classroom: Summer Internship Experiences

by | June 27, 2013
Category: Student Voices
Daniel Talking

Climate and Society students have left the classroom behind and for summer internships. Over the next two months, each student will be sharing their experiences in individual blog posts. Read on for a preview of what to expect!

Managing Water in a Dry Land

by | June 17, 2013
Category: News
A cactus sits just above the Elqui River, which runs through the Coquimbo region of Chile. Click the image to see a visual story about faculty member Andrew Robertson's work in the region. Photo: Francesco Fiondella/IRI

The Elqui River flows through the semi-arid Coquimbo region of Chile, providing water for towns, goatherders and large- and small-scale farmers. However, its flow is anything but certain. Meet the denizens of Coquimbo and learn how Climate and Society faculty member Andrew Robertson’s work is helping them manage water in this dry land.

C+S Founder Mark Cane Elected to the National Academy

by | May 13, 2013
Category: News
Photo: Brian Kahn

C+S Founder Mark Cane has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Cane, an expert on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate process, was one of 86 newly elected members along with Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory volcanologist Terry Plank. Members are elected to the National Academy in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Climate and Health, a Conversation with IRI Researcher Madeleine Thomson

by | May 13, 2013
Category: News
Photo: Brian Kahn

Current C+S student Elizabeth Gawthrop recently sat down with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society‘s (IRI) Senior Research Scientist Madeleine Thomson to talk about an ongoing partnership between the IRI and the World Health Organization to continue to develop climate information systems that can map, monitor and forecast climate-related disease risk.

C+S Students Participate in the NASA DEVELOP Program

by | April 12, 2013
Category: News

By Brian Kahn, Communications Coordinator, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society Predicting malaria outbreaks before they occur or improving crop yield forecasts from space might sound like science fiction, but they’re projects going on at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). This spring, C+S students Caitlin Reid and Sunny Ng […]

How Vandalism is Leaving Gaps in Climate Data

by | April 10, 2013
Category: News
Photo by San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives/ Flickr

In cities like New York, it’s not uncommon to see vandalism on subways, buildings and streets. However, remote data buoys in the tropics are the last place you would expect to find vandals. Graffiti isn’t the problem, though. C+S faculty member and the International Research Institute from Climate and Society’s Chief forecaster Tony Barnston explains […]

Singing the Blues About Water Scarcity

by | April 2, 2013
Category: News
Photo: Eileen Barroso

By Brian Kahn, Communications Coordinator, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society Otis Redding wraps his acclaimed 1965 album Otis Blue with “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” The refrain “you don’t miss your water ’til your well runs dry” was originally written by William Bell and inspired by his feelings of homesickness for his native […]

Featured C+Ser: Whitney Peterson

by | February 25, 2013
Category: Featured C+Ser
Photo by Arezou Paksima

By Nadav Gazit, Climate and Society ’13 Whitney Peterson couldn’t have ended up any further from New York after C+S than her current position. It’s not just space that separates Peterson, a 2010 graduate of the program, from the city. It’s her surroundings, too. Her life might be vastly different 7000 miles away in American […]

Tony Barnston Talks the Warmest Year on Record for Contiguous United States

by | January 16, 2013
Category: News
Photo: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently designated 2012 as the warmest year on record (1895-2012) for the contiguous United States. In this video interview,  C+S faculty member and chief forecaster at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Tony Barnston explains what climate factors came into play to create this record high year.

Featured Faculty: Tony Barnston

by | January 15, 2013

By Nadav Gazit, Climate and Society ’13 We caught up with Tony Barnston, the head of forecast operations at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, who teaches the Climate and Society core class Quantitative Models of Climate-Sensitive Natural and Human Systems, to talk about Climate and Society, his research and more. What does […]

A River Runs Through It: Predicting Floods in the Midwest

by | December 17, 2012
Category: News
Headshot of Andy Robertson

By Elisabeth Gawthrop, Climate and Society ’13 Three of North America’s major rivers run through the Midwestern U.S. In the spring of 2011, major flooding in region caused an estimated $3 billion in damages and killed seven people. Although scientists cannot predict exact precipitation amounts for a given season, they can attempt to predict the odds that […]

The Climate Discussion at the 2012 State of the Planet Conference

by | November 16, 2012
Category: News
Photo by Nadav Gazit

By Aditi Thapar, Climate and Society ’13 On October 11, the Earth Institute hosted the State of the Planet Conference with speakers from Columbia, the United Nations, and humanitarian communities. The conference focused on sustainable development, and a big piece of that was the topic of climate variability and change. To get to the heart […]

Climate and Society Co-Director Writes Op-ed for CNN

by | October 29, 2012
Category: News
Hurricane Sandy Satellite Picture

Climate and Society Co-Director Ben Orlove authored an op-ed for CNN this morning about why people don’t take the risk of climate change as serious as the risk posed by storms. Hurricane Sandy, which will make landfall as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the Northeast this evening in the New York […]

Fall M.A. Program in Climate and Society Information Sessions

by | October 5, 2012
Category: News
Photo by Brian Kahn

Want to know more about the M.A. Program in Climate and Society? Talk to a program director, learn about the curriculum, find out more about the summer internship, ask questions about the admissions process and more at one of our upcoming fall Information Sessions. Information Sessions will be held on Monday, October 15 at 7:00pm and Thursday, […]

Featured C+Ser: Melissa Matlock

by | October 4, 2012
Category: Featured C+Ser
Melissa Matlock

Melissa Matlock, graduated from Climate and Society just a few short months ago after completing a successful internship at the Rainforest Foundation US in New York City. After graduating, Melissa had very little downtime to relax. Within a couple of weeks she was on her way back to her native southern California to start a position […]

The Ninth Year Begins: Welcoming the Climate and Society Class of 2013

by | September 4, 2012
Category: News
Class of 2012 Group Portrait

This week we welcomed the ninth Climate and Society class to Columbia University and New York City. There are 43 students from 14 different countries and a variety of different backgrounds, from fashion to law to environmental sciences. Just who are they? Don’t be shy, come meet them!        

Putting the Pieces Together: Climate and Society Students Return from Their Summer Internships

by | August 17, 2012
Category: News
Climate and Society Class of 2012 group shot

The Climate and Society class of 2012 returned to the classroom for one last week of coursework after completing their summer internships. Their summer semester began in May with a week of classes focusing on professional development and how to best use the skills they acquired during the past year in their professional lives. When […]