Jesse Farmer PhD Candidate, Columbia Univ.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
61 Route 9W, Box 1000
Palisades, NY 10964
My fascination with the ocean started from an early age: growing up on a barrier island in eastern North Carolina, I spent as much time in the water as on land. Now, as a paleoceanographer, I utilize ocean sediments to decipher how Earth's climate has changed in the past. This knowledge uncovers the forcings and mechanisms of climate change, ultimately improving projections of how climate will change in the future.
Everyone knows carbon dioxide: the greenhouse gas that, because of human activities, has increased in atmospheric concentration by nearly 50% over the last century. But did you know that the ocean contains 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere? The ocean, through its massive carbon and heat inventories, drives global climate on thousand-year timescales. Even yearly changes in the ocean can have major effects on global weather (for instance, El Niño). My research seeks to demystify the complex relationship between oceans and climate: namely, how changes in ocean temperature, circulation, and carbon storage force – and are forced by – changes in global climate.
As human-caused climate change inexorably becomes more central to society, the importance of clearly communicating climate science becomes even more critical. Through my blog, I aim to distill recent research and overlay climate science with socioeconomic and political developments into “bite-size” readable forms.
In pursuing my research, I am fortunate to collaborate with an international group of scientists, and have the opportunity to travel to once-in-a-lifetime locations. I try to never have a camera too far from reach.