In the News

  • Susan Lozier (Photo by Renay San Miguel)

    Why is an ocean current critical to world weather losing steam? Scientists search the Arctic for answers.

    A new report warns that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC, is one of nine critical climate systems that greenhouse-gas-fueled warming is actively pushing toward a tipping point....A big limitation in scientists’ ability to pinpoint precisely what’s going on with the AMOC is the lack of long-term observations throughout the current’s route....An important new array called OSNAP (Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic) began installment in 2014 between the southern tip of Greenland and Scotland near where the current makes its deepest dive and picks up southward speed. But it’s too soon to see ongoing trends in the AMOC’s strength, says program director Susan Lozier, a Georgia Tech oceanographer.

    National Geographic, Dec 2, 2019

  • Kim Cobb

    Has El Nino Become More Intense In The Industrial Age?

    In a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, data revealed that El Niños have become more intense in the Industrial Age. For more insight on the study, I reached out to Professor Cobb, the study’s principal investigator and Georgia Power Chair and ADVANCE Professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s (Georgia Tech) School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She said,  "This record has been 20+ years in the making...."

    Forbes, Dec 1, 2019

  • Kim Cobb drills corals underwater in the tropical Pacific

    Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change. A new global movement wants you to be ashamed to fly.

    Scientists are having a hard time overlooking their own air travel emissions. Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has curbed her air travel by 75 percent. “I really started thinking about my carbon footprint after Trump was elected,” she said. “Doing my climate science and donating to the right candidates was never going to be enough, even if you took that to scale.” She created a spreadsheet to track her personal carbon footprint and found that flying formed the dominant share of her emissions. “By the end of 2017, 85 percent of my carbon footprint was related to flying,” she said.

    Vox, Nov 30, 2019

  • Peter Webster

    Why are floods hitting eastern and central Africa?

    Hundreds of people have been killed by devastating floods that have hit large parts of eastern and central Africa. Torrential rains have swept across the region after a shift in temperature between the eastern and western shores of the Indian Ocean. The phenomenon is called ‘Indian Ocean Dipole’ or ‘Indian Niño’. Peter Webster, Professor Emeritus of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, explains why it is happening.

    BBC, Nov 29, 2019

  • Kim Cobb honored with 2020 Hans Oeschger Medal

    Choosing Not To Fly Home For The Holidays, For The Climate's Sake

    "We subsidize our fossil fuel economy," says Kim Cobb, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. "When we do that, we're keeping these prices artificially low." The Air Transport Action Group, a nonprofit that represents the global airline industry, predicts that net aviation carbon emissions in 2050 will be halved from 2005 amounts, through the eventual use of sustainable aviation fuels and small-scale use of electric aircraft. Between 2009 to 2020, the group also has a goal to continue to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year. Still, Cobb says that airplanes are improving at a slower pace than other methods of transportation. "We have so many other technological fixes at our fingertips for the grid, electricity, and even cars and trucks," she says. "But this aviation piece will be a problem to stay."

    NPR, Nov 27, 2019

  • The Weirdly Nihilistic Reason Why Outer Space Is So Cold

    Yes, space is vast, infinite, and no doubt very cold. But does it ever reach absolute zero, which is -459°F? Popular Mechanics examines that possibility and gets some expert analysis from two School of Physics researchers: Jim Sowell, academic professional and director of the Georgia Tech Observatory, and Alastair Gent, graduate student in the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics.

    Popular Mechanics, Nov 22, 2019

  • Venice Is The Latest Victim Of Historic Flooding From Climate Change

    One would think that Venice, of all places, would have plans upon backup plans for how to deal with rising tides. After all, the famous Italian tourist destination is built on more than 100 islands linked by canals and 400-plus bridges. But even Venice can't escape the effects of climate change, which now threatens the city's cultural and artistic heritage. This National Public Radio program includes comments from Georgia Tech Provost Rafael Bras, who is also the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair and Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

    WBUR On Point, Nov 20, 2019

  • New Smyrna councilman takes office

    That "new Smyrna councilman" is also known as Lewis Wheaton, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Wheaton, who has run the Cognitive Motor Control Lab since he arrived at Georgia Tech in 2008,  was elected Nov. 5th to Smyrna's Ward 7 with 57 percent of the vote. You can learn more about Wheaton's research in this ScienceMatters podcast.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov 20, 2019

  • Alien hunters might want to look first to planets like Star Wars' Tatooine

    A new study from Georgia Tech astrophysicists Billy Quarles and Gongjie Li may have you seeing double — as in twin suns hovering over an alien exoplanet landscape. The researchers placed a (theoretical) duplicate of Earth inside so-called binary, or two-star, systems, and ran simulations on planetary axis tilts. The results indicate the planets would have tilts similar to Earth's, which bodes well for habitable climates that could potentially support alien life. There are a lot of multiple-star systems out there, so the study may boost the number of exoplanets that could harbor life. In addition to this CNET story, the study has also been covered in Daily Mail Online, King5 News in Seattle, and Li is an assistant professor in the School of Physics, while Quarles, the study's principal investigator, is a research scientist in Li's lab.

    CNET, Nov 20, 2019

  • How Observing A New Class Of Black Holes Can Help Us Understand The Universe

    For all science has learned about black holes in the last decade, researchers had only really estabished two different sizes for these celestial phenomena — stellar, or five to 50 times greater than the size of our sun, and supermassive, or a million times greater than our nearby star. Nothing had been found in-between. New research from a team including current and former Georgia Tech scientists could shed new light on intermediate-size black holes. Using a new method of observation called multiband gravitational wave astronomy that spans a wider range of wave frequencies, the new study picks up where LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) left off in 2016 with the discovery of evidence of gravitational waves. A handful of Georgia Tech scientists and students were part of that international Nobel Prize-winning effort, including study co-authors Deirdre Shoemaker, professor in the School of Physics, and Karan Jani, who received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Georgia Tech and is now at Vanderbilt University.


    Forbes, Nov 18, 2019