News & Events

The latest climate change news from Cornell and beyond.


$9.9M grant to reduce dairy’s environmental hoofprint

A team of scientists from seven universities – including three from Cornell – has joined forces with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a five-year, $9.9 million project to study the environmental impact of dairy production systems in the Great Lakes region and develop best management practices for producers to implement on farms.

Emissions of greenhouse gases and ammonia, soil carbon sequestration, and soil and forage quality will be measured during ongoing dairy forage production field experiments in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York, with the goal of understanding how various management practices and regional climate differences affect carbon, nitrogen, water and energy fluxes across the dairy production system.

[Cornell Chronicle 2013-05-09] Read the whole article.

Adding veggies to your diet helps cut global warming

If the carnivorous U.S. population – as a whole – ate a more-vegetarian diet that included egg and milk products, the environment would be greatly relieved, says a preliminary Cornell study.

Far fewer acres of land would be needed to support the diet, and much less nitrogen would pour into the environment, says life-cycle engineer Christine Costello, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. She will soon be a faculty member at the University of Missouri.

“Before, we knew that our diets were connected to the environment and our land use. Now, we have explicit links, as we can calculate and corroborate inputs like fertilizers, nitrous oxide and we can obtain more accurate numbers. It is important to demonstrate how consumption choices drive environmental impacts, and this project is explicitly defining those connections,” says Costello.

[Cornell Chronicle 2013-05-09] Read the whole article.

New York Climate-Change Science Clearinghouse coming to Cornell

Art DeGaetano

Art DeGaetano

No longer an abstract concept, climate change is affecting the air, sea and land. To comprehend the effects on New York and the Northeast region, scientists begin collaborating this summer on the New York Climate-Change Science Clearinghouse, a Web-based, map-enabled reference library and climate database to be headquartered at Cornell.

A team of academic, nongovernmental, state and federal scientists will develop the project. At Cornell, Art DeGaetano, professor of climatology and director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Regional Climate Center, will lead the effort.

Climate change affects all sectors of the New York economy. “This project will provide the information necessary for policy- and decision-makers to reach scientifically sound decisions regarding climate change,” said DeGaetano. The public also will have access to the data.

[Cornell Chronicle 2013-05-07] Read the whole article.

Arctic vegetation spread could boost climate change

Changes in Arctic vegetation due to climate change have probably been underestimated, according to a new computer analysis which shows that tree and shrub cover in the region will increase more than previously expected, accelerating climate change and possible adverse effects on wildlife.

“Such widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation would have impacts that reverberate through the global ecosystem,” said Richard Pearson, a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and lead author of the study.

Pearson, working with scientists at Woods Hole Research Center in Malmouth, Mass., called in computer scientists with access to the high-performance computing facilities at Cornell’s Institute for Computational Sustainability (ICS) and AT&T Labs to conduct the analysis. The results appeared March 31 in the journal Nature Climate Change. [Cornell Chronicle 2013-04-09] Read the whole article.

Mahowald Major Contributor to Climate Change Report

Natalie Mahowald, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, is part of an international scientific effort to assess the current state of climate change as a lead author on the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, due out by 2014. Her group is responsible for the crucial first chapter on the report’s philosophy and new developments in the physical science of climate change. Read more at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future blog.

Faculty stir up solutions at climate change forum

About 100 professors, graduate students and researchers affiliated with the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future gathered March 28 to exchanged ideas about projects and studies in energy, the environment and economic development in the era of climate change. “It was a great array of faculty and graduate students from fields ranging from the physical and natural sciences to economics and the humanities,” said David Wolfe, professor of horticulture and a conference organizer. “The creative energy in the room was almost palpable. I think this is what happens when we hear surprising and mind-opening perspectives from those in very different disciplines. Exciting ideas for future collaboration across these disciplines came forward.” [Cornell Chronicle 2013-04-02] Read the whole article.

Invasive weeds could shed light on climate-coping

While other species are expected to suffer from environmental fluctuations, changes in temperature may help invasive weeds expand their ranges. [Cornell Chronicle 2013-03-13] Read the whole article.

Iscol Lecture April 22: Peter Kareiva, Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

“Overcoming Dogma and Prophecies of Doom to Save Nature,” April 22, 5 p.m. Also, interdisciplinary roundtable discussion, “Promises, Possibilities, and Perils of ‘New’ Conservation” April 23, 3:30 p.m. Panelists: Prof. Sunny Power (EEB and STS); Prof. Sara Pritchard (STS); Prof. Aaron Sachs (HIST); and Andy Zepp, Executive Director, Finger Lakes Land Trust. Facilitator: Prof. Drew Harvell (EEB) More info.

Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference April 18-21

April 18-21, Ithaca and Cortland. A major regional conference on making our communities more climate friendly and climate resilient. More info.

Free screening April 8: ‘Chasing Ice’ with photographer James Balog

The Atkinson Forum in American Studies & Cornell Cinema present a free screening of Chasing Ice with National Geographic Photographer & Founder of the Extreme Ice Survey, James Balog, April 8 at 7:30pm. More info.