The results from a suite of environmental mercury studies done by the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Project (CAMEP) was used by the Peruvian government for the decision to announce this state of emergency...
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Rebecca Albright, a postdoc in the Caldeira lab at Global Ecology since 2014, is the latest recipient of the newly formed Carnegie Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Awards. She has been...
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Antarctica
New work from an international team including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira demonstrates that the planet’s remaining fossil fuel resources would be sufficient to melt nearly all of Antarctica if burned,...
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Washington, DC— A new study, based on the most-extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, suggests that ocean acidification will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by...
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Washington, D.C.—For the first time scientists have looked at the net balance of the three major greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—for every region of Earth’s landmasses....
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How big a role does ocean acidification play in the sickly state of many coral reefs? Science magazine reports on a new study from Ken Caldeira and Rebecca Albright that borrows from a common after-...
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USA Today reports on a first-of-its-kind experiment led by Rebecca Albright and  Ken Caldeira that found ocean acidification caused by global warming is already slowing growth of the world’s coral...
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Washington, DC— A team of scientists led by Carnegie’s Rebecca Albright and Ken Caldeira performed the first-ever experiment that manipulated seawater chemistry in a natural coral reef community in...
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Monitoring tropical deforestation and forest degradation with satellites can be an everyday activity for non-experts who support environmental conservation, forest management, and resource policy development. Through extensive observation of user needs, the Greg Asner team developed CLASlite ( the...
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Until now, computer models have been the primary tool for estimating photosynthetic productivity on a global scale. They are based on estimating a measure for plant energy called gross primary production (GPP), which is the rate at which plants capture and store a unit of chemical energy as biomass...
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The Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), developed by GregAsner, is a fixed-wing aircraft that sweeps laser light across the vegetation canopy to image it in brilliant 3-D. The data can determine the location and size of each tree at a resolution of 3.5 feet (1.1 meter), a level of detail that is...
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Ken Caldeira has been a Carnegie investigator since 2005 and is world renowned for his modeling and other work on the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land-cover and climate change; the long-...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Institution
Greg Asner is a staff scientist in Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology and also serves as a Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He is an ecologist recognized for his exploratory and applied research on ecosystems, land use, and climate change at regional...
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Anna Michalak joined Carnegie in 2011 from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on characterizing complexity and quantifying uncertainty in environmental systems to improve our understanding of these systems and our ability to...
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Washington, D.C.— Could replacing coal-fired electricity plants with generators fueled by natural gas bring global warming to a halt in this century? What about rapid construction of massive numbers...
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Washington, D.C.— A new high-resolution mapping strategy has revealed billions of tons of carbon in Peruvian forests that can be preserved as part of an effort to sequester carbon stocks in the fight...
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Stanford, CA— Coral reefs are tremendously important for ocean biodiversity, as well as for the economic and aesthetic value they provide to their surrounding communities. Unfortunately they have...
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Explore Carnegie Science

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
September 20, 2017

Global biological diversity is under enormous and increasing threat from habitat loss caused by land use and climate change. Responding to this problem requires strategies that integrate elements of governance, economics, human welfare, and other societal factors. It also requires the use of geographically explicit approaches to generate safe havens for biodiversity, both in the long-term and as immediate barriers to the ongoing extinction crisis.

Prioritization of new regions for protection is often undertaken with incomplete and/or outdated information on the geography of biodiversity.  In response, Greg Asner and colleagues have created and utilized a novel capability to map

Greg Asner Receives Heinz Award
September 14, 2017

Carnegie staff scientist Greg Asner has been awarded the 22nd Heinz Award for the Environment,* “ for developing ultra-high-resolution imaging technology that provides unprecedented detail on the biodiversity and health of the world’s forests and coral reefs, and the impact of deforestation, land degradation and climate change.” The annual award comes with a cash award of $250,000.

Asner was hired in 2001 as the Department of Global Ecology’s first staff scientist. Since coming to Carnegie, Asner has pioneered new methods for investigating tropical deforestation, degradation, ecosystem diversity, invasive species, carbon emissions, climate change, and much more using satellite and

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, William and Leander Anderegg
August 9, 2017

Washington, DC— The amount of time it takes for an ecosystem to recover from a drought is an important measure of a drought’s severity. During the 20th century, the total area of land affected by drought increased, and longer recovery times became more common, according to new research published by Nature by a group of scientists including Carnegie’s Anna Michalak and Yuanyuan Fang.

Scientists predict that more-severe droughts will occur with greater frequency in the 21st century, so understanding how ecosystems return to normal again will be crucial to preparing for the future. However, the factors that influence drought recovery have been largely unknown until now.

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, NASA Earth Observatory
July 27, 2017

Washington, DC— If climate change is not curbed, increased precipitation could substantially overload U.S. waterways with excess nitrogen, according to a new study from Carnegie’s Eva Sinha and Anna Michalak and Princeton University’s Venkatramani Balaji published by Science. Excess nutrient pollution increases the likelihood of events that severely impair water quality. The study found that impacts will be especially strong in the Midwest and Northeast.

Rainfall and other precipitation washes nutrients from human activities like agriculture and fossil fuel combustion into rivers and lakes. When these waterways get overloaded with nutrients, a phenomenon called “eutrophication,”

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Anna Michalak’s team combined sampling and satellite-based observations of Lake Erie with computer simulations and determined that the 2011 record-breaking algal bloom in the lake was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation and warm temperatures. The bloom began in the western region in mid-July and covered an area of 230 square miles (600 km2). At its peak in October, the bloom had expanded to over 1930 square miles (5000 km2). Its peak intensity was over 3 times greater than any other bloom on record. The scientists predicted that, unless agricultural policies change, the lake will continue to experience

Chris Field is a co-principal investigator of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in northern California. The site, designed to exploit grasslands as models for understanding how ecosystems may respond to climate change, hosts a number of studies of the potential effects from elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, elevated temperature, increased precipitation, and increased nitrogen deposition. The site houses experimental plots that replicate all possible combinations of the four treatments and additional sampling sites that control for the effects of project infrastructure. Studies focus on several integrated ecosystem responses to the

The Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), developed by GregAsner, is a fixed-wing aircraft that sweeps laser light across the vegetation canopy to image it in brilliant 3-D. The data can determine the location and size of each tree at a resolution of 3.5 feet (1.1 meter), a level of detail that is unprecedented. By combining field surveys with this airborne mapping and high-resolution satellite monitoring the team has been able to detail myriad ecological features of forests around the world.

As one example, Carnegie scientists with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment mapped the true extent of gold mining in the biologically diverse region of Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon.

Carnegie researchers are developing new scientific approaches that integrate phylogenetic, chemical and spectral remote sensing perspectives - called Spectranomics - to map canopy function and biological diversity throughout tropical forests of the world.

Mapping the composition and chemistry of species in tropical forests is critical to understanding forest functions related to human use and climate change. However, high-resolution mapping of tropical forest canopies is challenging because traditional field, airborne and satellite measurements cannot easily measure the canopy chemical or taxonomic variation among species over large regions. New technology, such as the Carnegie

Ken Caldeira has been a Carnegie investigator since 2005 and is world renowned for his modeling and other work on the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land-cover and climate change; the long-term evolution of climate and geochemical cycles; climate intervention proposals; and energy technology.

 Caldeira was a lead author for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 report and was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on carbon capture and storage. He was a co-author of the 2010 US National Academy America's Climate

For three decades, Chris Field has pioneered novel approaches to ecosystem research to understand climate and environmental changes. He is the founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology on the Stanford University campus—home to a small, but remarkably productive team of researchers who investigate the basics of climate change. Field has authored more than 200 scientific publications and is cochair of the U. N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2. The IPCC Fourth Assessment, for which Field was a coordinating author, was published in 2007. He was coeditor of the March 2012 IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme

Anna Michalak joined Carnegie in 2011 from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on characterizing complexity and quantifying uncertainty in environmental systems to improve our understanding of these systems and our ability to forecast their variability. She is looking at a variety of interactions including atmospheric greenhouse gas emission and sequestration estimation, water quality monitoring and contaminant source identification, and use of remote sensing data for Earth system characterization.

The common theme of her research is to develop and apply spatiotemporal statistical data methods for optimizing the

Joe Berry has been a Carnegie investigator since 1972. He has developed powerful tools to measure local and regional exchanges of carbon over spaces of up to thousands of square miles. He uses information at the plant scale to extrapolate the carbon balance at regional and continental scales.

According to ISI's Web of Science, two of Joe Berry's papers passed extremely high, rarefied citation milestones. The 1980  paper “A biochemical model of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in leaves of C3 species,” has had over 1,500th citations. His 1982 paper “On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the intercellular carbon dioxide concentration in leaves” passed its 1,