Andrew Carnegie

The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private organization that conducts basic research for the benefit of humanity.

Other News

April 25, 2017 — Anna Michalak is quoted in Nature coverage on the connections between warmer climates and algal blooms  more » 

March 22, 2017 — Anna Michalak reviews Dan Egan's new book "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes" in Nature.   more » 

February 14, 2017 — Science News covered work by Greg Asner and the Carnegie Airborne Observatory's discovery of more than  30 forest types in Peru. more » 


In Memoriam

Jeanette Snyder Brown


Recent News

Could "cocktail geoengineering" save the climate?

Geoengineering is a catch-all term that refers to various theoretical ideas for altering Earth’s energy balance to combat climate change. New research from an international team of atmospheric scientists published by Geophysical Research Letters investigates for the first time the possibility of using a “cocktail” of geoengineering tools to reduce changes in both temperature and precipitation caused by atmospheric greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and gas not only cause the Earth to get hotter, they also affect weather patterns around the world. Management approaches need to address both warming and changes in the amount of rainfall and other forms of precipitation. more »

New satellite data will mean more accurate and detailed Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast System

NOAA and its research partners, including Carnegie's Anna Michalak and Jeff Ho, predict that western Lake Erie will experience a significant harmful algal bloom this summer, potentially reaching levels last seen in 2013 and 2014, though smaller than the record bloom of 2015. This year’s bloom is expected to measure 7.5 on the severity index, but could range between six and 9.5. An index above five indicates a potentially harmful bloom. The severity index is based on a bloom’s biomass – the amount of its harmful algae – over a sustained period. The largest blooms, 2011 and 2015, were 10 and 10.5, respectively. more »

Bornean orangutans' canopy movements flag conservation targets

Bornean orangutans living in forests impacted by human commerce seek areas of denser canopy enclosure, taller trees, and sections with trees of uniform height, according to new research from Carnegie’s Andrew Davies and Greg Asner published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Bornean orangutans are critically endangered, and despite intense conservation efforts, their numbers continue to decline. Additional habitat management strategies that account for their presence in forests affected by logging and other human activity are needed to ensure the species’ survival. That’s why Davies and Asner, along with key partners in Malaysia, set out to determine which human-impacted forest areas are most-crucial to preventing orangutan extinction. Their research focused in the Lower Kinabatangan region of Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It consists of forest patches that have been highly degraded by timber extraction, which are sewn into a landscape of palm oil plantations and human settlements. more »

"Full Toolbox" needed to solve the climate change problem

Solving the climate change problem means transitioning to an energy system that emits little or no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to new work from a team of experts including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, achieving a near-zero-emissions energy system will depend on being able to draw on a diverse portfolio of near-zero-emissions energy technologies. The study, from a group of 21 top researchers led by Christopher Clack of Vibrant Clean Energy, was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The group says that solving the climate problem will depend on making use of energy technologies such as bioenergy, nuclear energy, and carbon capture technology, correcting a misleading 2015 research roadmap that indicated the entire United States could be powered by just solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy. more »

Carnegie Science Global Ecology collaborator wins Kyoto Prize

The 2017 Kyoto Prize in the Basic Sciences has been awarded to Dr. Graham Farquhar, a Distinguished Professor at The Australian National University and a long-time collaborator of Carnegie scientists in the Departments of Plant Biology and Global Ecology. The Kyoto Prize is an international award to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind. It is given in three broad categories, Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy, and is regarded as the most prestigious award in fields that are traditionally not honored with a Nobel Prize. more »

How satellite data led to a breakthrough for Lake Erie toxic algal blooms

With the growing frequency and magnitude of toxic freshwater algal blooms becoming an increasingly worrisome public health concern, Carnegie scientists Jeff Ho and Anna Michalak, along with colleagues, have made new advances in understanding the drivers behind Lake Erie blooms and their implications for lake restoration. The work is published in two related studies.

Using data from NASA’s Landsat 5 instrument, the researchers generated new estimates of historical algal blooms in Lake Erie, more than doubling the number of years previously available for scientists to investigate, from 14 to 32. (This first study was published in Remote Sensing of Environment.) Exploring this new historical record, they discovered that decadal-scale cumulative phosphorous loading—that is the runoff that enters the waterway—helps to predict bloom size in addition to the effects from same-year phosphorus inputs. The work suggests that it may take up to a decade to reap the benefits of recently proposed nutrient loading reductions. (This second study was published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.) more »

Plants have been offsetting climate change, but now it's up to us

Plants are currently removing more CO2 from the air than they did 200 years ago, according to new work from Carnegie’s Joe Berry and led by J. Elliott Campbell of UC Merced. The team’s findings, which are published in Nature, affirm estimates used in models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“The phenomenon of plants pulling carbon dioxide out of the air has been included in climate change models for many years,” Berry explained, “but it has always been difficult to know whether the strength of this effect is being modeled in a realistic way. Our new results affirm that the range of models used in the last IPCC assessment did, in fact, include realistic estimates of the sensitivity of global photosynthesis to CO2.” more »

High-tech maps of tropical forest diversity identify new conservation targets

New remote sensing maps of the forest canopy in Peru test the strength of current forest protections and identify new regions for conservation effort, according to a report led by Carnegie’s Greg Asner published in Science.

Asner and his Carnegie Airborne Observatory team used their signature technique, called airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy, to identify preservation targets by undertaking a new approach to study global ecology—one that links a forest’s variety of species to the strategies for survival and growth employed by canopy trees and other plants. Or, to put it in scientist-speak, their approach connects biodiversity and functional diversity. more »

Rainfall variation complicates nitrogen runoff management

New research from two Carnegie scientists has serious implications for the development of management strategies to reduce nutrient runoff in waterways and coastal areas.

Human activities, including agriculture and fossil fuel use, have completely altered the biochemical cycle of nitrogen. In this cycle, nitrogen circulates in various forms through terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric systems. In the United States, the amount of nitrogen originating from human sources, particularly fertilizer, is four times the amount that comes from natural sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 28 percent of streams and 20 percent of lakes around the country experience high nitrogen levels. more »

How fast will we need to adapt to climate change?

What would we do differently if sea level were to rise one foot per century versus one foot per decade? Until now, most policy and research has focused on adapting to specific amounts of climate change and not on how fast that climate change might happen. Using sea-level rise as a case study, researchers at DGE have developed a quantitative model that considers different rates of sea-level rise, in addition to economic factors, and shows how consideration of rates of change affect optimal adaptation strategies. If the sea level will rise slowly, it could still make sense to build near the shoreline, but if the sea level is going to rise quickly, then a buffer zone along the shoreline might make more sense. more »