Director's Weekly Reports

Lamont Weekly Report, July 5, 2013

The beginning of this week marked the end of my first year at Lamont. The time has passed quickly, and there are still many in the Lamont community whom I would like to know better. In many ways Lamont is like a large oceanographic vessel. Course changes are made only slowly, and even while they are underway the important work of the ship is conducted not on the bridge but rather on the main deck and in the science laboratories. It is the steady pace of progress on that work that validates our mission. I hope that you will continue to keep me posted on the progress on your own work over the coming year...

Lamont Weekly Report, June 28, 2013

This week was notable for President Obama’s address at Georgetown University on Tuesday afternoon devoted in its entirety to the steps his administration will take to address global climate change. After laying out what the New York Times called “sweeping measures” to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate alternative energy usage, and partner with states and municipalities on climate adaptation strategie....

Lamont Weekly Report, June 21, 2013

The summer solstice was reached early today, and we begin the new season even as the daily duration of sunlight begins slowly to dwindle.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences announced that Meredith Nettles has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and Terry Plank has been named an Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their new positions......

Lamont Weekly Report, June 14, 2013

This week is notable for the $20 billion plans for storm protection for New York City that Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Tuesday (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/nyregion/bloomberg-outlines-20-billion-plan-to-protect-city-from-future-storms.html). The plan that forms the basis for the announcement was derived in part from material issued the same day by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a group that includes Klaus Jacob, Yochanan Kushnir, Cynthia Rosenzweig and....

Lamont Weekly Report, June 7, 2013

This week the campus has been treated to daylong serenades by the abundant local representatives of Brood II cicadas.

 The R/V Langseth sailed from Vigo, Spain, on Saturday. After a half-day of steaming, the scientific party and crew began deploying the seismic streamers, air gun arrays, and other equipment needed to conduct a three-dimensional structural study of the....

Lamont Weekly Report, May 31, 2013

Today is remarkable because near-Earth asteroid 1998 QE2 makes a closest approach to Earth (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/asteroids/news/asteroid20130515.html). About 2.7 km in its long dimension, the asteroid is sufficiently large that we do not wish to witness its impact on our planet. Fortunately, the distance.....

Lamont Weekly Report, May 24, 2013

Commencement Week at Columbia has come to a close. The M.A. Convocation ceremony of the Graduate School of Arts of Sciences on Sunday featured Terry Plank as convocation speaker. Terry spoke on creativity and her days as a graduate student at Lamont, a place of “pastoral splendor” with “forests, wild turkeys, and buildings full of mass spectrometers.”

Also on Sunday, Lamont received a 2013 Rockland Recycles Award from the Rockland County.....

Lamont Weekly Report, May 17, 2013

The week was ushered in by a Justin Gillis story on the front page of Saturday’s New York Times announcing that the average daily level of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured on Mauna Loa had reached 400 parts per million for the first time since the Pliocene (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/science/earth/carbon-dioxide-level-passes-long-feared-milestone.html). A quote by Maureen Raymo included in the story underscored the importance of the milestone...

Lamont Weekly Report, May 10, 2013

The week has befitted the season, with deciduous trees freshly leafed and days of warm and sunny skies interspersed with drenching but needed showers.

Lamont’s spring 2013 newsletter was released early this week and will arrive shortly in the mailboxes of thousands of the Observatory’s alumni and friends. Thanks to the considerable efforts of Rebecca Fowler and colleagues at the Earth Institute, this issue has a new design and is the first to be printed in color. You may.....

Lamont Weekly Report, May 3, 2013

The highlight of the week was the election on Tuesday morning of Mark Cane and Terry Plank to membership in the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/climate-scientist-volcanologist-elected-national-academy-sciences). Academy membership is one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a U.S. scientist, so seeing two of our Lamont colleagues elected in the same year is a special pleasure.  Please join me in congratulating Mark and Terry this afternoon at a special reception....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 26, 2013

The week began with the third in our Spring Public Lectures, given at Lamont Sunday afternoon by Emily Klein, on sabbatical leave this spring from Duke University as a Visiting Senior Research Scientist in the Observatory’s Geochemistry Division. Emily spoke on “Volcanoes and vents: A hidden world beneath the sea” to an appreciative audience.

Late last week, Lamont’s IcePod team of 10 scientists and engineers flew to Greenland with the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. Mounted on the outer hull of an LC-130, the IcePod imaging system includes a deep-ice radar, a shallow-ice radar, a LIDAR, an infrared camera, a visible photogrammetric camera, and a precis....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 19, 2013

The week began with Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, and the dual explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. That horrific event put into mundane perspective the confluence of scientific proposals, reference letters, and income tax payments all due on the same day.

Good news arrived nonetheless with the announcement from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences that three current DEES graduate students and one incoming student have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowships, and two graduate students received honorable mention in the selection....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 12, 2013

Through much of the week, the warmth and sunshine made a convincing case that the spring season is underway, at least in our part of the globe.

I am pleased to report that Alex Chekalyuk has received an Antarctica Service Medal. The medal is awarded by the National Science Foundation in recognition of service on a U. S. Antarctic expedition. According to the Foundation’s website, “the outer bands of black and dark blue [on the medal’s ribbon] comprise five-twelfths of the ribbon’s width,....

Lamont Weekly Report, April 5, 2013

Over the week I heard many comments about unseasonably cold temperatures in the New York City area. Reports from informed colleagues that the North Atlantic Oscillation may have been a contributor offered little in the way of additional warmth.
 
I am pleased to report that Klaus Jacob has been....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 29, 2013

The first full week of spring has brought the welcome change that the Sun is once again in the sky for a majority of each day.

I am sorry to report that Barbara Algert, a longtime member of the staff in Lamont’s Office of Purchasing, died on 18 March. Barbara worked on this campus from 1985 until 1997. An obituary for her appeared in the Rockland Journal News last week....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 22, 2013

This week Congress finally passed budgets for the government fiscal year now nearly half over. Almost as if to reward themselves, they promptly took a two-week recess. 

Peter Kelemen received the good news this week that he has been elected a Geochemistry Fellow of The Geochemical Society and The European Association of Geochemistry. This honor is bestowed on “outstanding scientists who have, over some years, made a major....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 15, 2013

This week began with the loss of an hour’s sleep, as the onset of Daylight Savings Time was ushered in by the second Sunday in March.

The week ended with the sad news that Karl Turekian passed away this afternoon. A giant in geochemistry, Karl was both an alumnus (Ph.D., 1955) and a great friend of Columbia and Lamont. A note from his department chair at Yale directs Karl’s friends anc.....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 8, 2013

In the first week following sequestration of the federal budget, we all await the sound of a second shoe hitting the floor above, but business otherwise proceeds as usual.

Tiffany Shaw learned this week that she is to receive a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation. The NSF website states that “the…CAREER Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National....

Lamont Weekly Report, March 1, 2013

This week ended as sequestration of the federal budget is set to take effect. With nary a whimper and no bang, the House of Representatives adjourned for the weekend on Thursday. One day earlier, NSF issued an “Important Notice” stating that the effect of the sequester at that agency would primarily be felt by a reduction in new awards and that funding agreements for existing and continuing grants would generally be honored, at least for the remainder of this government....

Lamont Weekly Report, February 22, 2013

The highlight of this week was the award of the Vetlesen Prize on Thursday evening to Jean Jouzel, of the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l’Environnement of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, and Susan Solomon, of MIT. Attendance at the reception, dinner, and awards ceremony in the Low Library rotunda exceeded 230, a record for a Vetlesen Prize evening. Many from Lamont attended in their formal wear, including a number of graduate students and alumni. Also joining the occasion were....