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Climate/Carbon & Geobiology News Archive


Craig Fulthorpe was a grad student when his advisor walked into his office and asked if he would like to be part of the first scientific expedition organized by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). As luck would have it, a sedimentologist who had been scheduled to be on that cruise had to back out just…

Highlights of Paleontology at UT Austin

2008: Early hominid Lucy CT-scanned 2001: Fossil fetus of an Elephant bird CT-scanned and reconstructed without breaking egg shell 1999: Non-vertebrate Paleontology Lab established 1997: High Resolution XRay CT Lab founded 1994: FAUNMAP, database of North American mammals for the last 40,000 years (E. Lundelius) 1971: Discovery of the largest known flying animal, Quetzalcoatlus, in…

Why Do We Need Paleontology?

Paleontology has been a central part of geology since British scientist William Smith first showed that geological strata could be identified based on the fossils they contained. Because they change through time, fossils put a date stamp on a particular layer of Earth in which they occur. “We are the time keepers for the Earth…

At a time when university paleontology programs are being downsized or eliminated, The University of Texas at Austin’s is thriving. The program recently added Julia Clarke, a rising star studying the evolution of birds and dinosaurs, and Matt Brown, a fossil preparator who honed his skills at Chicago’s Field Museum. Brown and others are pioneering…

Let’s say you’re a budding young paleontologist looking to make your mark. The first thing you have to do is pack up your shovel and pick, head out into some remote badlands, and find yourself a bunch of fossils that no one has ever seen before. Let’s say that doesn’t pan out. You might have…

As an undergraduate at Stanford University, Emily Grubert discovered her passion in studying climate change and energy. She also discovered that the deeper she gets into the work, the broader it becomes. “I look at climate change and because energy is important to climate change I look at energy,” she said, “and then because land…

Climatologist Rong Fu prefers a bird’s eye view of the Earth’s climate. That’s “birds,” as in satellites, which she uses to study climate processes in remote areas such as the Amazon, the Tibetan Plateau, and tropical oceans. This perspective helps Fu understand how climate changes in these remote areas could have an impact closer to…

The Jackson School of Geosciences’ programs in climate research and education will benefit tremendously from several new high profile faculty and researchers including Kerry Cook. Her research focuses on how Earth’s surface structures—including topography, water, soil, vegetation, geology and human development—affect atmospheric circulation and precipitation and how those impacts in turn affect surface structures. She…

When Robert Dickinson began working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado in 1968, global climate models were crude and wildly inaccurate. “The code I worked with covered Los Angeles with snow,” he laughs. “That was a problem with modeling how frost forms on the ground.” He eventually concluded that the…

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