Research at ccny EAS

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) offers M.S. degrees and supervises Ph.D. studies through the CUNY Graduate Center. Graduate education in EAS often emphasizes one of the four research directions described below.

The department prides itself on being collaborative and interdisciplinary. Several of the faculty carry out research in more than one specialty.

Terrestrial & Coastal Ecology

Research and education in Terrestrial and Coastal Ecology at City College focus on understanding the structure and functioning of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, their response to natural stressors and anthropogenic pressures, and their interaction with Earth’s climate system. Our research is conducted across a range of terrestrial and coastal environments throughout Arctic/boreal, tropical and temperate regions. Research thrusts span local, regional and global scales and embrace carbon, water, energy and nutrient cycling, ecosystem and process mapping, biodiversity studies, cold season processes, coastal eutrophication, response of tidal wetlands to anthropogenic disturbance and global warming, atmospheric deposition of pollutants onto terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, coral health, carbon cycling in high latitude coastal waters, ecosystems in urban environments, agriculture, water resources, and human health.

Current projects embrace research throughout North America, Europe, Mesoamerica, and South America, and from the oligotrophic Mediterranean to the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay, from the New York urban coastline to Korea and the coastal Yellow Sea. Student research embraces a portfolio that includes advanced multi-platform (spaceborne, airborne, ground-based and ship-board) environmental sensing to characterize and monitor terrestrial and aquatic habitats, in-situ sensor deployment and establishment of monitoring (terrestrial, atmosphere, ocean) networks, development of new remote sensing and modeling tools that are critically needed for linking terrestrial and ocean environments, and integration of field observations, satellite data, and radiometric and physical modeling to address questions that are directly relevant to ecosystem health and society. Students with the Terrestrial and Coastal Ecology Program are involved in interdisciplinary research that includes strong collaborations with NOAA CREST, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, Columbia University, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center, and other US and international research and academic institutions.

For more information on ongoing research in Terrestrial and Coastal Ecology at City College see the research pages of Kyle McDonald, and Maria Tzortziou.

Students, click here to see a list of courses offered in the Terrestrial and Coastal Ecology track

Tidal Wetlands

Tidal Wetlands studied in the Gulf of Mexico (Photo courtesy: Maria Tzortziou)

Field Research

Measurements of ocean biogeochemical processes and atmospheric composition in South Korea, as part of the KIOST-NASA KORUS OC field campaign (Photos courtesy: Maria Tzortziou).

Opportunities for students

We’re always interested in working with new graduate students or postdocs. Please contact us if you are interested in our research.

Atmospheric Science & climate

The Atmospheric Science and Climate track at City College of New York is focused on utilizing observations and numerical modeling to better understand the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere and climate. There are several subdisciplines within this track, related to different expertise of the faculty. Potential research topics, (listed with the primary faculty studying the topics) include: air-sea interactions in the midlatitudes (especially at coastal regions) [Booth, Tzortziou], pollutants-cloud interactions [Luo], cryosphere-atmosphere interactions [McDonald], midlatitude dynamics [Booth], tropical convection and storms [Luo] and weather hazards [Booth]. All of the faculty members in the Atmospheric Science and Climate track have substantial experience working with NASA and NOAA data products. The climate and atmospheric science research in EAS is also associated with NOAA CREST, a cooperative agreement between NOAA and CUNY that trains students to work on remote sensing and weather and climate research. EAS students have the opportunity to interact with scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies located at Broadway and 112th Street.

Atmosphere and climate NASA DC-8
NASA DC-8 aiming to fly into a deep convective cloud to study convective dynamics and transport of pollutants. Photo taken during the 2013 NASA airborne field campaign SEAC4RS (Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys), in which Prof. Johnny Luo served as one of the Science Leaders.

student-opportunities-header
Participants of the NSF-sponsor airborne field campaign CONTRAST (CONvective TRansport of Active Species in the Tropics) which took place in Guam during Jan – Feb 2014. Prof. Johnny Luo (third from the right) served as a science team member of the field campaign.

Atmosphere and climate extratropical cyclones
Examination of extreme extratropical cyclones: Sea Level Pressure (contours) from weather reanalysis and precipitation (shading; mm/day) from satellite reanalysis for a severe storm over NYC on Jan 23, 2005 (Booth research group). This storm generated coastal and inland flooding damage. Our research examines how these storms develop, and how they will change with global warming.

For more information on ongoing research in Atmospheric Science and Climate at City College see the research pages of James F. Booth, Z. Johnny Luo, Kyle McDonald, Maria Tzortziou.

Students, click here to see a list of courses offered in the Atmospheric Science and Climate track.

Opportunities for students

We’re always interested in working with new graduate students or postdocs. Please contact us if you are interested in our research.

Geology & Geophysics

Active research topics in Geology and Geophysics at City College span the globe—from New York, to Siberia, to New Zealand—and cover a wide range of topics including volcanism, petrology, paleoclimate, structural geology,near-surface geophysics, isotopic analyses, planetary surface processes, and tectonics. A unique opportunity at CCNY is the ability to collaborate and share instrumentation with neighboring institutions including The American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Rutgers University, Columbia University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The EAS department has a long history of strong Geology research and houses a unique collection of minerals, rocks, and meteorites. In-house equipment includes thin section and rock sample preparation facilities, transmission electron microscopes, a scanning electron microscope equipped with cathodoluminescence and EBSD detectors, facilities for Fourier Transform Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy,  an array of optical microscopes, a 24-channel engineering seismograph, a proton precession magnetometer, an EM-31 ground conductivity meter, and a 24-channel electrical resistivity imaging system. Additional facilities shared by the Division of Science can be found here.

CCNY Geology 1
2015 Structural Geology class trip to Catskill, New York

CCNY Geology 2
Siberian Flood Basalt (Ben Black)

For more information on ongoing research in Geology and Geophysics at City College see the research pages of Ben Black, Karin Block, and Steven Kidder, or contact Patricia Kenyon (212-650-6472) or Angelo Lampousis (212-650-7590)..

Students, click here to see a list of courses offered in the Geology & Geophysics track

Opportunities for students

We’re always interested in working with new graduate students or postdocs. Please contact us if you are interested in our research.

Geochemistry & Environmental Chemistry

The study of the flow of materials between Earth’s reservoirs at City College spans topics ranging from the development of geochemical proxies using isotopes and trace element ratios to study paleoclimate, mantle geochemistry, subduction processes, ocean chemistry, and carbon sequestration and storage (Wang), to the use of microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and chemical analysis to understand the role of microbe-mineral aggregates in the stabilizing organic matter in soils (Block), to addressing critical environmental issues, including the fate and transport of organic contaminants in the environment and the remediation of contaminated soils and water (Zhang). The faculty members in the Geochemistry and Environmental Geochemistry track have substantial experience working on NSF and EPA-funded research and have strong collaborations with research partners at local, national, and international institutions. In-house equipment includes thin section and rock sample preparation facilities, transmission electron microscopes, a scanning electron microscope equipped with cathodoluminescence and EBSD detectors, facilities for Fourier Transform Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy, ion chromatography, atomic absorption spectrometry, and ICP-MS. A list of facilities shared by the Division of Science, such as High Resolution TEM, XRD, and LC/MS/MS, can be found here.

Tilted Sandstone

Tilted sandstones of Mississippian age (325-360 million years old), Carlin Formation, Nevada

Altered Soils

Hydrothermally altered soils in Bennet Hills, Nevada. Clay crystallinity provides a gauge of temperature of the geothermal source.

Fieldwork 1

Students conducting fieldwork in Bennet Hills, ID

Fieldwork2

Masters student, Xafira Ling, samples waterfrom a spring in Bennet Hills, ID.

For more information on ongoing research in Geochemistry and Environmental Chemistry at City College contact Zhengrong Wang or see the research pages of Pengfei Zhang or Karin Block.

Opportunities for students

We’re always interested in working with new graduate students or postdocs. Please contact us if you are interested in our research.