Lamont Weekly Report, March 4, 2016

    Arriving at Lamont this week was Jonathan Kingslake, a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Jonny received his Ph.D. in glaciology in 2013 from the University of Sheffield, where he studied subglacial water flow and outburst floods with Felix Ng and Grant Bigg. As a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey between then and now, he led field expeditions to West Antarctica to document annual changes in ice sheet structure and longer-term ice flow patterns with phase-sensitive radar measurements.

    The Geochemistry Division this week welcomed new Postdoctoral Research Scientist Jennifer Lamp. Jennifer recently completed her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences at Boston University. Her thesis, entitled “The role of rock weathering and mass transport in Antarctic landscape evolution,” was completed under the supervision of David Marchant. At Lamont Jennifer will work with Joerg Schaefer and Gisela Winckler on the application of helium isotope geochemistry and in situ radiocarbon analysis to paleoclimate problems.

    Lamont’s Finance Office announced this week that Angela Martin has been promoted to Coordinator of Accounts Payable. In her new position she will be responsible for overseeing all payments to vendors, which exceeded $2.3 million during the last complete fiscal year. Edie Miller writes, “Angie brings excellent customer service skills, knowledge of Columbia rules, and expertise in moving transactions through the system to her new role.” Congratulations, Angie!

    Several from Lamont returned recently from Chile, where Philipp Ruprecht led a workshop in Santiago for Chilean and American scientists and students on the geology and volcanology of the region. The meeting was followed by an 8-day field trip to the lava flow fields of the Cerro Azul volcano and Quizapu Crater. Both events were supported by an award from Columbia’s President’s Global Innovation Fund and were assisted by the Columbia Global Center in Santiago. Lamont participants included Ana Barth, Einat Lev, Megan Newcombe, Dan Rasmussen, Elise Rumpf, and Lucy Tweed. Einat writes, “The team examined the deposits from both explosive and effusive eruptions of multiple vents in the area, collected more than a hundred pounds of samples, and used a drone to gather aerial images and high-resolution topography data.” The Earth Institute’s Kevin Krajick accompanied and photographed the scientists in the field (, and Einat has posted a description of the field trip on a blog page ( 

    On Monday Lamont’s Annual Report was sent out electronically to a broad distribution. The report includes information on the Observatory’s finances and donors for fiscal and academic year 2015. The report also includes articles on awards and honors to Lamont scientists, research highlights, and information on programs and education and development for approximately the same time period. Your feedback on the report (, and particularly suggestions for next year’s report (targeted for late fall 2016), would be welcomed.

    On Tuesday morning, the R/V Langseth departed from the Cape Verde Islands to begin the Passive Imaging of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary (PI-LAB) project (, a study of upper mantle structure beneath the equatorial Mid-Atlantic led by Nicholas Harmon and Catherine Rychert of the University of Southampton. The experiment will involve the deployment of more than 50 ocean-bottom seismometers between 2°S and 2°N and from 6° to 20°W.

    Also on Tuesday, I met with the International Fundraisers group at Columbia’s Office of Alumni and Development, at the invitation of Verónica Martini, Senior Executive Director of Global Initiatives. I spoke to the group about Lamont, our scientific initiatives, and our experiences to date with presenting our research and educational aspirations to foundations and private donors.

    On Tuesday evening, Caroline Leland was the featured speaker in the “Cool Jobs” series of the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program. Caroline spoke on “The tree ring time machine: Understanding past climate through dendrochronology.”

    On Thursday, Mike Purdy’s office announced the recipients of the latest awards from Columbia University’s 2016 Research Initiatives in Science and Engineering (RISE) competition ( to identify “very early-stage, high-risk, high-impact, and interdisciplinary research.” Of the six projects selected (from 38 proposed), two were co-led by Lamont scientists. Ben Holtzman and Felix Waldhauser teamed with Douglas Repetto from the Department of Music and John Paisley and Dan Ellis from the Department of Electrical Engineering on a project entitled “Listening to the physics of earthquakes, with applications to geothermal energy production.” Christine McCarthy and Colin Stark partnered with Liming Li from the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics on a project entitled “Laboratory study of glacier-bedrock dynamics using centrifuge-enhanced gravity.”

    A paper by Ben Cook, Kevin Anchukaitis, Ed Cook, and colleagues from the University of Arizona recently posted online by the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres reports an annually resolved analysis of precipitation and drought across the Mediterranean region over the last 900 years from data in the recently published Old World Drought Atlas. The group showed that droughts in the region tend to be symmetric from east to west across the Mediterranean but anti-symmetric from north to south, and that the recent drought in the Levant is highly likely to have been the worst for that area during the period of the study. A press release posted on Lamont’s website on Tuesday ( contributed to widespread media coverage, including Newsweek yesterday (

    Marco Tedesco led a paper published Thursday in The Cryosphere on surface darkening of the Greenland ice sheet over the past two decades. He and his coauthors showed that the portions of the ice sheet that undergo surface melting in the summer darkened from 1996 to 2012 at a statistically significant rate, and they attributed the darkening to a combination of melting-induced growth in surface ice grains, expansion of bare ice areas, and an increase in light-absorbing impurities derived from near-surface ice. Because of positive feedback effects, increased darkening is likely to accelerate summer melting and further darkening. A Stacy Morford story on the team’s findings was posted yesterday on Lamont’s web site (, and The Washington Post carried the story (

    A story today on Lamont’s web site announced the launch of Bleach Patrol (, a project jointly sponsored by the Center for Climate and Life, the World Surf League, and GoFlow to recruit surfers, divers, and other citizen scientists to report instances of coral bleaching. An audio interview Stacy Morford conducted with project leaders Logan Brenner, Alejandra Borunda, Jesse Farmer, Brad Linsley, and Bruce Shaw was posted today along with a description of the project ( The Lamont group hopes to compile the individual GPS-tagged reports to develop targets for follow-on remote sensing and in situ studies of affected areas.

    In the news this week, Justin Mankin was interviewed on Academic Minute Monday ( on the implications of declining snow packs for human water supplies. Maureen Raymo was quoted in a story Monday in The Atlantic on the importance of studying the geological record to understand rates and magnitudes of sea level rise during earlier times when atmospheric temperatures were higher than at present ( Ray Sambrotto was interviewed for a story Tuesday on Think Progress on the effect of Arctic warming on the reduced extent of Arctic sea ice and its implications for the regional ecology ( The work of Klaus Jacob and Adam Sobel on steps needed to anticipate the next major storm surge in New York and its affect on infrastructure was described (in French) in an article Tuesday in Le Figaro (

    On Monday of next week, Lamont will host our annual Awards Recognition Ceremony, to recognize all of our colleagues who received awards in research and education during calendar 2015. The ceremony, to be held in the Monell Auditorium, will be followed by a reception. The honorees will include the following:


Anna Barth

First Place, Neftex Earth Model Award, 2015

Maya Becker

Walter Pitman Award, DEES, 2015

Natalie Boelman

Excellence in Mentoring Award, LDEO, 2015

Wallace Broecker

Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of Waterloo, 2015


Honorary Doctorate Degree, Harvard University, 2015


Member, American Philosophical Society, 2015

Sophia Brumer

2nd Prize, Best Oral Presentation, American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, 2015

Suzanne Carbotte

Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 2015

Parker Case

Young Investigator Award, DEES, 2015

Dake Chen

Member, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2015

Wing Yin (Winnie) Chu

Earth and Space Science Fellowships, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015


Outstanding Student Paper Award, AGU, 2015

Olivia Clifton

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Sloan Coats

Science for Society Award, DEES, 2015

Ethan Coffel

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Genevieve Coffey

Fulbright Graduate Fellow, 2015

Etienne Dunn-Sigouin

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, 2015

Arnold Gordon

Fellow, The Oceanography Society, 2015

Bärbel Hönisch

Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award, Columbia University, 2015

Allison Jacobel

Outstanding Student Paper Award, AGU, 2015

Bor-Ting Jong

Fellowship, Taiwan Ministry of Education, 2015

Kevin Krajick

Michel T. Halbouty Distinguished Lecturer, Geological Society of America, 2014

Xiaoqiong (Sage) Li

Earth and Space Science Fellowship, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015


Excellent Student Presentation Award, CLIVAR International Symposium on Tropical Ocean and Climate, China, 2015

Ana Lobo

Departmental Honors, DEES, 2015

Rachel Marzen

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Asmi Napitu

Fellowship, Schlumberger Foundation, 2015

Ruth Oliver

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Ji Woon Park

Young Investigator Award, DEES, 2015

Madeleine Pascolini-Campbell

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Frank Pavia

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Terry Plank

Honorary Doctorate, Dartmouth College, 2015

Pratigya Polissar

Palisades Geophysical Institute Young Scientist Award, LDEO, 2015

Maureen Raymo

Honorary Fellow, Geological Society of London, 2015

Joshua Russell

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Heather Savage

Palisades Geophysical Institute Young Scientist Award, LDEO, 2015

Elizabeth Schoenfelt

Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2015

Christopher Scholz

Harry Fielding Reid Medal, Seismological Society of America, 2015

Tiffany Shaw

Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 2015

Christopher Small

Golden Goose Award, Association of American Universities, 2015

Adam Sobel

Louis J. Battan Author's Award, American Meteorological Society, 2015

Daniel Sousa

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, 2015

Moanna St. Clair

Distinguished Staff Award, Earth Institute, 2015

Shannan Sweet

Bruce Heezen Prize, DEES, 2015

Jan-Erik Tesdal

Earth and Space Science Fellowship, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015

Gisela Winckler

Excellence in Mentoring Award, 2015

Nicolas Young

Blavatnik Award, The Blavatnik Family Foundation, 2015


    On Wednesday next week, Lamont’s Advisory Board will hold its quarterly meeting at the Columbia University Club in Midtown. One of the main items on the agenda will be an update to Board members of progress on Lamont’s strategic initiative on Anticipating Earthquakes, led by Jim Gaherty, Heather Savage, Donna Shillington, and Felix Waldhauser.

    In the meantime, this afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium speaker will be Natalie Mahowald, a Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University ( An expert on the impact of atmospheric aerosols on climate and biogeochemistry, Natalie will be speaking on “The role of land use in climate change.” I hope to see you there.