Lamont Weekly Report, June 9, 2017

    This week included World Oceans Day, a day celebrated “to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans” ( I hope that each of you took a moment this week to acknowledge the importance of the world’s oceans for Earth’s climate and ecology.

    Maryann Hanneman will be retiring at the end of next week after 11 years of service in Lamont’s Security and Safety Office. Pat O’Reilly writes, “Many of us know Maryann as our Telephone Operator, but of course, she has done much more. Maryann has been one of the first to welcome new employees, issuing keys and parking tags and setting up phone service. Her service continued beyond day one for each of us, adding the names of our guests to the list at the security gate, arranging for cleaning services, and helping to plan and coordinate events on campus. Thank you, Maryann! You will be missed.” Many of Maryann's duties will be filled by Lisa Sweeny, who joined Lamont recently as an Administrative Assistant. Lisa previously worked as an Account Specialist at U.S. Bank in Hartford, Connecticut. Please take a moment next week to thank Maryann for her long service to the Observatory, and please join me in welcoming Lisa to the campus community.

    The R/V Langseth this week continued its study of marine microbiological processes across environmental gradients in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii. Sean Higgins writes, “The PIs are making use of all labs, including the starboard wet and dry labs and the port dry and bird labs, along with the main lab for microscopy and general computer work. They are using the LDS system and streaming some data to shore. They also work from four lab vans, including one each for radioisotopes and trace metals, a cytometer van, and a freezer/lab van. They have ~12–15 incubators on the OBS deck and more equipment (towed water sampler) that is being deployed from the paravane boom, as well as underway CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) measurements off the stern. They have more than five instruments attached to the Uncontaminated Seawater System, with ~12 different experiments running. For station operations, we’ve been doing multiple casts daily of a CTD and trace metal rosette from a separate trace-metal winch, and we worked for a day or two at >30 kt winds and up to 3-m seas when a storm blew through. The crew has done a great job in supporting all the varied activities. The project concludes next week, and the ship will be back in Honolulu on Tuesday”.

    On Monday, Allison Jacobel successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, completed under the supervision of Jerry McManus, on the topic of “Paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean using uranium and thorium series isotopes.” In addition to Jerry, her committee included Bob Anderson, Brad Linsley, Gisela Winckler, and Franco Marcantonio from Texas A&M University. Allison will remain at Lamont as an NSF-funded Postdoctoral Research Scientist, and she is scheduled to head to sea in July on the RSS Discovery to study silica cycling in the Arctic and its role in the marine ecosystem. Congratulations, Dr. Jacobel!

    On Tuesday, Ben Holtzman learned that his proposal to The Collaboratory@Columbia Fund is to receive an award. Ben’s proposal, submitted with Miya Misaoka from the School of the Arts, was on the topic of “The search for meaning in big data: Patterns, representation and empathy." Jointly established by the Columbia Data Science Institute and Columbia Entrepreneurship, The Collaboratory@Columbia is “a university-wide program dedicated to supporting collaborative curricula innovations designed to ensure that all Columbia University students receive the education and training that they need to succeed in today’s data rich world” (

    Also on Tuesday, Cyndi Atherton and Camellia Pham from the Heising-Simons Foundation ( visited Lamont to learn about our work in climate change research. After a welcome by Art Lerner-Lam, Farhana Mather, and Gilonne D’Origny, Cyndi and Camellia met with two groups of Lamont faculty for roundtable discussions of their climate work. The first group included Billy D’Andrea, Rosanne D’Arrigo, Brad Linsley, Pratigya Polissar, and Gisela Winckler; and the second group included Robin Bell, Mo Raymo, Richard Seager, Jason Smerdon, Marco Tedesco, and Mingfang Ting. Cyndi and Camellia were then treated to tours of the Lamont Core Repository by Mo and of the Tree-Ring Laboratory by Laia Andreu Hayles. Cyndi wrote to Art and Farhana on Wednesday, “Thank you again for all of your help in creating such an inspiring and productive visit for us yesterday. It is always so much more informative to actually visit a site and see the scientists in their ‘natural habitat.’ It’s clear there’s a tremendous amount of talent involved in your climate change research”.

    On Wednesday, the Nippon Foundation announced that it will fund, in partnership with the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, the NF-GEBCO Seabed 2030 project to create a new global map of the ocean floor. Lamont is one of four Regional Data Assembly and Coordination Centers that will “compile all available and newly collected bathymetric data…and promote international efforts to collect new data” ( The Lamont team, led by Vicki Ferrini, has been assigned a region that includes the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

    There were several additions to Lamont’s web page this week. There’s a link to a feature-length article in Earth Magazine on subsurface carbon capture and storage, with a description of the CarbFix project in Iceland and mention of the contributions of Wally Broecker, Juerg Matter, and Dave Goldberg ( Posted Monday was a new video, sponsored by the Center for Climate and Life, on “How will climate change impact water?,” featuring Park Williams and Richard Seager speaking on the impact of climate change on droughts and water availability ( Posted Wednesday was a story by freelance writer Renee Cho ( on the potential influence of climate change and melting of the Greenland ice sheet on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, with quotes from Wally and Marco Tedesco.

The local weekend weather promises to be more evocative of droughts than ice sheets, but may you enjoy it nonetheless.