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.


  • Forecasters are expecting another La Niña winter for the 2017-2018 season. The phenomenon can cause major changes in climate patterns that can influence water availability, food production, human health, and extreme weather events around the globe.
  • Kate Marvel, an associate research scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Columbia Engineering School, is among a phalanx of researchers across the University who concentrate on climate change, adaptation, and sustainability.
  • Concurrent with the announcement that human carbon emissions reached a new peak this year, Galen McKinley, a researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, discusses the difficulties of tracking the sources and destinations of carbon dioxide.