Lamont Weekly Report, January 24, 2014


    Lamont’s campus has been draped in white since Tuesday afternoon and evening, when a major snowstorm left up to 10 inches of snow in Rockland County. That we were able to open and operate normally on Wednesday morning was the result of nightlong efforts by members of Lamont’s Buildings & Grounds and Traffic Departments. Please join me in thanking Bruce Baez, Tom Burke, Carmine Cavaliere, Tony DeLoatch, Glenn Forte, Joe Giebelhouse, Charles Jones, Kelly Jones, Mike McHugh, Ray Slavin, Eric Soto, Kevin Sullivan, Lenny Sullivan, and Rick Trubiroha for their extraordinary efforts to ensure that scientific activities could proceed apace after the storm. Pat O’Reilly told me that this week marked the third time this winter that Lenny and his crew “pulled an all-nighter.” At the risk of a chill, our hats go off to our selfless colleagues.
    The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences announced this week that Peter Kelemen is to receive one of Columbia University’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Awards. Established in 2005 by Trustee Gerry Lenfest to recognize outstanding scholarship, teaching, and service, the awards provide $25,000 per year for three years to those honored. Congratulations, Peter!
    Al Hofmann arrived on campus this week for his annual spring visit to Lamont. A geochemist who has made seminal contributions to our understanding of Earth’s mantle and crust, Al is an Emeritus Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, a recipient of the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society and the Hess Medal from the American Geophysical Union, and a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. While at Lamont, Al will be teaching EESC 8884, Advanced Geochemistry, and leading EESC 9802, the “Hot Topics” Seminar in Geochemistry. Both classes started this week.
    On Wednesday, the Columbia Daily Spectator ran a story on Adam Sobel’s receipt of a 250,000 Euro, two-year award in climate and weather research from AXA, the French conglomerate of investment and insurance companies ( The award is the first major contribution to the initiative on extreme weather and climate being led by Adam and identifed in Lamont’s scientific strategic plan. The initiative involves a number of colleagues at the Observatory, Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and other units in the Earth Institute.
    On Thursday, Art Lerner-Lam and I met with Khaki Rodway, a former project coordinator and program manager in Lamont’s Borehole Research Group and now Director of Payload Sales and Operations at XCOR Aerospace. XCOR is developing the Lynx series of reusable launch vehicles for suborbital flights to 100 km altitude, and Khaki will return to Lamont at a future date to hold discussions with interested staff members about opportunities for flying instruments on the vehicles for in situ and remote sensing observations.
    Also on Thursday, an article on Reporting Climate Science summarized a recent review in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society by Michael Previdi and Lorenzo Polvani on the response of the climate system to depletion and recovery of stratospheric ozone, particularly in the southern hemisphere ( The role of ozone depletion in the poleward movement during austral summer of the tropospheric midlatitude jet and its effects on surface temperatures, clouds, and precipitation are comparatively well matched by models, but the response to ozone depletion of the Southern Ocean and Antarctic sea ice remains less well understood.
    The winter and spring season of Lamont’s Earth Science Colloquium – organized by Andy Juhl and graduate students Natalie Accardo, Jonathan Gale, Gene Henry, Amelia Paukert, and Hannah Rabinowitz – has begun. Next Friday, Elizabeth Kujawinski from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Department of Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry ( will speak on “Probing the molecular basis for microbe-dissolved organic matter interactions in the marine environment.”
    Today, Julie Brigham-Grette from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst ( will give the season’s opening colloquium on “Arctic climate history of the past 3.6 Myrs from Lake El’gygytgyn, NE Russia: Making sense of the Warm Pliocene and Super Interglacials.” An impact crater in northeastern Siberia should provide a setting appropriate to this week’s local weather. I hope to see you there.