Climate Response
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How will climate impact life's essentials:
food, water, shelter, and energy?
Can we develop technologies to
reduce CO2 levels?
Can we make better predictions of
the near future?
How will ocean warming and
acidification impact ocean life?
How are land and ocean
ecosystems changing?
How will climate impact life's
essentials: food, water, shelter,
and energy?
Can we make better predictions of
the near future?
How will ocean warming and
acidification impact ocean life?
How are land and ocean
ecosystems changing?
Can we develop technologies
to reduce CO2 levels?
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All living organisms have a symbiotic relationship with the natural world. The very existence of life depends on the physical and chemical conditions of our exceptional planet, and close prehistoric ties between climate and life are embedded in the geologic record of Earth history.

Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any time in human history — changes that impact every facet of human existence such as our secure access to food, water, shelter, and health, and the vitality of land and ocean ecosystems that sustain all life.

Our planet’s predicament calls for action. Columbia scientists are committing to accelerate our understanding of how climate impacts life’s essentials, to build better predictions of the future, and to develop viable solutions to build a prosperous, low-carbon future.

Climate Impacts

How will climate impact us? We want to understand how climate change will impact those things we care about most: food, water, shelter, energy, and health. How will climate impact crop growth and food availability? What are the risks to human life and property from climate and extreme weather? How are human activities changing land use, ecosystems, and biodiversity? How are the oceans changing? Can we improve sea level rise estimates? These big questions need urgent answers.

Better Predictions

When and where will these changes occur? As a pioneering leader in seasonal to interannual climate prediction, Columbia will lead new efforts to skillfully predict future climate change and regional variability on timescales of years to decades into the future. The oceans are changing rapidly as well, and we need to understand how warming and acidification impact marine life and ecosystems. A focused effort to understand our immediate future can guide human adaptation and build resilience.

Advancing Solutions

Solutions to climate change will involve spurring innovation to manage carbon emissions and repowering the planet to guide deep decarbonization of the economy. Columbia scientists are developing technologies that will capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in underground rock formations as inert carbonate minerals. Our nanotechnology scientists are developing new, more efficient, less expensive solar photovoltaic nanomaterials.


  • David Goldberg and Peter Kelemen, scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, are at the forefront of carbon capture and storage research. In this video, they discuss their work and how it will contribute to carbon management solutions and strengthen society’s resilience to climate change.
  • Rising temperatures due to global warming will make it harder for many aircraft around the world to take off in coming decades, says a new study by Columbia scientists Ethan Coffel and Radley Horton.
  • A warming climate is not just melting the Arctic's sea ice; it is increasing the odds that ice-rafted pollution will foul a neighboring country's waters, says a new study by Stephanie Pfirman and Robert Newton, researchers at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.