Lamont Weekly Report, April 11, 2014

 

   At midday on Wednesday this week, at one of the picnic tables on the deck outside the Lamont Café, Madeleine Thomson arrived and declared the day to be the start of spring. Madeleine marks the annual milestone, she explained, by switching her regular lunchtime meal from soup to salad. So if the days seem to have turned markedly more clement, and daffodils are now evident on campus, now you know why.
 
   On Tuesday, Julius Busecke received the good news from the American Geophysical Union that he has received an Outstanding Student Presentation Award for a paper he gave at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in February. Julius’s presentation was on “Evidence for the origin of the subsurface salinity maximum in the subtropical North Atlantic.”
 
   Ben Bostick has been elected Chair-Elect of the Soil Chemistry Division of the Soil Science Society of America for the coming year. Ben will serve as Chair of the Division in 2016 and Past Chair in 2017. The AGU also announced this week that Adjunct Research Scientist and Columbia University Visiting Professor Denis-Didier Rousseau has been named chair of their Fall Meeting Program Committee for 2014-2016. Denis is Director of the Centre d’Enseignement et de Recherches sur l’Environnement et al Société – Environmental Research and Teaching Institute at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.
 
   On Tuesday, Steve Cohen and I met with Joe Ienuso, Columbia University’s Executive Vice President of Facilities. We discussed the Facilities Condition Assessment that the Facilities Office completed for the Lamont Campus last year and the best approaches to identifying the resources needed to address the most urgent of the campus infrastructure issues identified in that assessment.
 
   For any of you who wish that you had seen the first of this spring’s Lamont Public Lectures, given by Bärbel Hönisch on the topic of “Ocean acidification and climate change,” a video of the lecture was posted this week on the Lamont web site (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/events/public-lectures/public-lectures). The next lecture in the series will be given by Hugh Ducklow on Thursday, 24 April. Hugh will speak in Low Library on the “Western Antarctic Peninsula: Rapid climate change and an ecosystem near a tipping point.”
 
   Alessio Rovere has posted another video of the Lamont campus acquired with his small drone. The footage will remind you that winter was not all that long ago (http://vimeo.com/91192836).
 
   In the news this week, Art Lerner-Lam was quoted in a story in The New York Times on Tuesday about the importance of the Alaskan earthquake of 50 years ago for sharpening our understanding of the relation between great earthquakes and the motions of the tectonic plates (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/science/a-64-quake-still-reverberates.html?_r=0). Mike Steckler’s Global Positioning System measurements of subsidence across the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta in Bangladesh was mentioned in a news article in yesterday’s issue of Nature (http://www.nature.com/news/floods-holding-back-the-tide-1.15013). And The Times of India, in a piece yesterday on the probable impacts of climate change to the Indian subcontinent, cited the work of Joaquim Goes and Helga Gomes on evidence for rapid ecosystem changes driven by global warming and the decline of snowfall rates in the Himalaya (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Goa-and-climate-change-Were-all-sitting-ducks/articleshow/33524184.cms).
 
   The Climate Models calendar continues to receive coverage on the blogs. A behind-the-scenes piece by Rebecca Fowler and Francisco Fiondella appeared on the AGU Blogosphere (http://blogs.agu.org/sciencecommunication/2014/04/07/how-climate-modelers-became-calendar-models/), and the calendar was featured on National Public Radio’s science blog (http://skunkbear.tumblr.com/post/82298332301/the-modelers-have-become-models-if-you-are-into).
 
   There is reason to arrive at the Monell Auditorium a bit earlier today than the usual Colloquium time. At 3 pm, Martin Stute and his team of Barnard students will give a brief report on Lamont’s energy use and announce the winner of last fall’s energy savings competition, the so-called Battle of the Buildings. Pat O’Reilly will also discuss ongoing and planned energy initiatives for the campus.
 
   By 3:30 pm, we should all have saved sufficient potential energy to be ready for the topic of the Colloquium. Göran Ekström will speak on the “Remote detection and measurement of catastrophic landslides using seismology.” On the heels of the successful identification by Göran, Colin Stark, and Clément Hibert of a large but remote landslide in Alaska in February (http://earthsky.org/earth/before-and-after-images-of-enormous-landslide-in-alaska), as well as the tragic mudslide last month in Oso, Washington, Göran’s talk will be particularly timely.
 
       Sean