The 2016 GeoPRISMS Student Prizes for presentations at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting have been announced, and two our students have been honored. Dan Rasmussen received the Best Poster Presentation Prize for his paper on “Run-up to the 1999 sub-plinian eruption of Shishaldin Volcano unveiled using petrologic and seismic approaches,” on which Terry Plank and others were coauthors.
Director's Weekly Reports
Laura Haynes learned recently that she is to receive a 2017-2018 Schlanger Fellowship from the International Ocean Discovery Program. Named for the late marine geologist and ocean drilling pioneer Seymour (Sy) Schlanger, the fellowship is a “merit-based award for outstanding graduate students to conduct research related to the IODP” (http://usoceandiscovery.org/fellowships/). Laura’s winning proposal was to study what she calls “an enigmatic climate period in Earth's history,” the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (1.2–0.6 Ma).
Long-time members of the Lamont community were saddened by the news that former Lamont engineer and Senior Staff Associate Chuck Hubbard passed away late last week (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/lohud/obituary.aspx?n=arthur-charles-hubbard-chuck&pid=184017050&fhid=27195). Chuck logged nearly three decades of work on geophysical instrument development and field measurements before his retirement in 1983.
A story in The Washington Post yesterday summarized a recent poll of opinions on human-induced climate change taken by researchers at the University of New Hampshire (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/02/survey-only-a-quarter-of-trump-voters-believe-in-human-caused-climate-change/?utm_term=.00c10fc76c16).
On Tuesday morning, with a half-page spread in The New York Times, Columbia University and the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation announced that Mark Cane and Princeton University’s George Philander are to share the 2017 Vetlesen Prize for their work on the tropical atmosphere-ocean system that led to an understanding of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and its global impacts.
The National Atmospheric Administration and NASA released official reports this week that 2016 saw the highest global average surface temperature on record, making each of the last three years ones that surpassed an earlier record.
The first full workweek of the calendar year saw an unusually wide range of daily high temperatures in Central Park, from 23°F on Monday to 65°F yesterday, the latter breaking a record set in 1890 (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/new-york-city-broke-a-more-...).
Lamont welcomed several new arrivals this month.
For a second week in a row we were treated to two university holidays. As if to compensate, the weather finally turned seasonally appropriate to the first week of the New Year.
I am pleased to report three recent promotions on our scientific staff, all effective as of this week. Bob Newton has been promoted to Senior Research Scientist. Beizhan Yan has been promoted to Lamont Associate Professor, Senior Staff. And Solange Duhamel has been promoted to Lamont Associate Professor, Junior Staff. To Bob, Beizhan, and Solange, congratulations on your new rank!
The first full week of winter led off on Sunday with a blizzard in the Dakotas, a super typhoon hitting the Philippines, and a magnitude 7.6 earthquake off the coast of southern Chile. University holidays on Monday and Tuesday and an early Observatory closure this afternoon cut the workweek nearly in half.
This is one of those ‘tween weeks, sandwiched as it is between the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting and the year-end holidays. For any of you who missed a lecture or key session at that meeting, a close-out message by Denis-Didier Rousseau (https://fromtheprow.agu.org/closing-2017-inspiration-collaboration-agus-49th-annual-fall-meeting/) points you to AGU’s On Demand site.
Many from Lamont have been in San Francisco this week for the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. In addition to a number of news items from the meeting, there are a few items from last week that were not included in the previous Weekly Report.
This week has been both the last full week of fall classes and the last week before many from Lamont fly to San Francisco for the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, some highlights of which are summarized in a Stacy Morford story posted on Wednesday (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/watch-sessions-agu-largest-gathering-earth-and-space-scientists).
Planetary change was much in the news this week, with stories on topics ranging from the effects of the rapid rates of warming in the Arctic on the indigenous population (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/29/science/alaska-global-warming.html) to a record bleaching and die-off of coral produced by ocean warming along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/worl
A second week in a row was ushered in by a major earthquake. On Monday (our time), a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck offshore of the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/world/asia/japan-earthquake.html) was reminiscent of the much larger Tohoku earthquake of 2011 in the same area. This week’s quake produced widespread shaking and a modest (1.4 m) tsunami but no major damage.
Much was heard from the southern hemisphere this week. Sunday morning (our time) was punctuated by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in New Zealand on the complex plate boundary that links the subduction zone along the Hikurangi Trough east of North Island to the transform fault through South Island.
If U.S. Presidential elections could be assigned earthquake magnitudes, this week’s election was at least a 9.5. Media articles are beginning to address the question of how federal support for scientific research may fare under a Trump administration, and Robin Bell was quoted in one such story (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/11/09/what-will-president-trump-mean-for-science/) on Wednesday.
This was the last full week before the end of an extraordinarily vitriolic and polarizing Presidential campaign season. Fortunately, the news about our planet’s future has given greater grounds for hope. Late last week, 24 nations and the European Union agreed to create the largest marine reserve in the world in and near the Ross Sea, off the coast of Antarctica (http://www.nature.com/news/world-s-largest-marine-reserve-hailed-as-diplomatic-breakthrough-1.20900).
The Lamont community was saddened by the death this past weekend of University of Maine glaciologist Gordon Hamilton, whose snowmobile fell into a crevasse in an ice sheet shear zone during fieldwork in Antarctica. A Justin Gillis story in the Science Times section of The New York Times on Tuesday captured Gordon, his work, and its importance for climate science (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/25/science/gordon-hamilton.html?_r=0).
It was an unusual week for local weather. Whether the term Indian summer was applicable (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/18/nyregion/new-york-today-indian-summer.html), temperature records for the date had been set in New York and other northeastern cities by midweek, but markedly cooler and windier conditions were forecast for the weekend.
Kicking off this week was Lamont’s Open House on Saturday. The skies were overcast, but the light rain held off for most of the day, and the many students, neighbors, and friends of the Observatory who joined us contributed to a final attendance figure of 2998, more than 200 higher than two years ago. In the tents and in our buildings, visitors experienced hands-on science, toured laboratories and exhibits, and enjoyed a diverse menu of talks and presentations.