Lamont Weekly Report, June 6, 2014
This week began with a sudden sense of loss as we absorbed the news that George Kukla passed away on Saturday. George joined Lamont’s Senior Staff in 1973 and had been a Special Research Scientist since 2001. A geologist and paleoclimatologist, George was an expert on the climate variations of the Quaternary and their causes, having extracted important information from loess sequences in Europe, North America, and East Asia. On the basis of his early work on the European sequences, George became a pioneering proponent of the orbital theory of ice ages. George is survived by his wife Helena, his sister Iva, his daughter Susan, his son Michael, and two grandchildren http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/george-kukla-contrarian-climate-scientist . A memorial service for George was held yesterday, and a remembrance page for sharing stories and comments about him (http://blog.ldeo.columbia.edu/georgekukla/) has received multiple contributions. Even as we recalled George, his research, and his more than four decades of contributions to the intellectual life at Lamont, the week gave us little opportunity to pause from our collective mission to improve the understanding of our planet.
On Monday and Tuesday, Lamont hosted a mini-conference on atmospheric and oceanographic connections between the tropics and the polar regions convened by Xiaojun Yuan, Mark Cane, and Mike Kaplan. Lamont presenters included Bob Anderson, Ed Cook, Darren McKee, Lorenzo Polvani, Tiffany Shaw, and Karen Smith.
On Monday afternoon, the campus welcomed a visit by the Earth Institute’s Management Advisory Board. Board members were given tours of the Core Repository by Peter deMenocal and the laboratories of Hugh Ducklow, Sonya Dyhrman, and Peter Kelemen. The Board then met in the Kennedy Board Room in the Comer Building and heard brief overviews of the work at the Observatory, IRI, CIESIN, and the Agriculture and Food Security Center from the unit directors.
Lamont’s Integrated Earth Data Applications facility hosted several meetings this week. On Monday and Tuesday, Suzanne Carbotte and Vicki Ferrini ran a workshop with 35 software engineers and scientists invited to discuss the future of GeoMapApp, a visualization and analysis tool provided by IEDA to the Earth science community (http://www.geomapapp.org/). On Wednesday, Kerstin Lehnert and Suzanne oversaw a joint meeting of IEDA’s Policy Committee and User Committee.
In Tuesday’s issue of Eos, the newsletter of the American Geophysical Union, Jason Smerdon is among the scientists selected by the editors of AGU’s journals for a 2013 Excellence in Refereeing award (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EO220007/abstract). Jason was cited by one of the editors of Geophysical Research Letters.
The Office of Marine Operations announced this week that Stan Ziegler, Chief Mate and Relief Caption on the R/V Langseth, has decided to retire. Stan has served for nearly 30 years on Lamont’s ships, and I hope that you will join me in wishing him a thoroughly enjoyable retirement.
The Langseth herself is currently wrapping up shipyard and maintenance work in Charleston, South Carolina, after extensive overhauls, installations, and upgrades to several critical systems. Sea trials are scheduled for early next week, after which the Langseth will sail north to a berth at the SUNY Maritime College facility at Fort Schuyler near the Throgs Neck Bridge in the Bronx ahead of her field season this summer and fall.
Lamont’s Research Divisions welcomed several visitors this week. In SGT, Xiaoling Li arrived as a visiting Postdoctoral Research Scientist from Weifang Medical University in China. A specialist in the numerical modeling of fluid flow, Xiaoling will be working at Lamont with Einat Lev. In the Geochemistry Division, biogeochemist Boaz Luz from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem returned for a visit that will extend through July. Additional visitors in Geochemistry include Hong Chin Ng, a graduate student in geochemistry from the University of Bristol, and Zhifang Xiong, an Associate Professor at the Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, a part of the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Hong Chin is hosted by Jerry McManus and will be at Lamont until the end of the month. Zhifang will be working with Bärbel Hönisch and will remain on campus until the end of August.
In an article recently posted online in Paleoceanography, Bärbel and colleagues of hers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Hawaii, and Yale University presented boron isotope evidence that rapid and sustained ocean acidification accompanied the increase in carbon dioxide in the ocean-atmosphere system and transient global warming that marked the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 56 million years ago. A Kim Martineau article on the work (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/modern-ocean-acidification-outpacing-ancient-upheaval-study-suggests), posted on Lamont’s website on Monday, quotes Bärbel on parallels with global changes in the modern ocean and atmosphere. Bärbel notes, however, that ocean acidification during the PETM occurred at a rate only one-tenth that of today. The work attracted widespread media attention, including articles Tuesday on The Weather Network (http://www.theweathernetwork.com/insider-insights/articles/study-shows-modern-ocean-acidification-is-fast-outpacing-changes-in-the-past/28813/) and Nature World News (http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/7379/20140603/ocean-acidification-rate-10-times-faster-than-ancient-upheaval.htm).
Xiaojun Yuan wrote that Phoenix TV in China recently aired a show on Antarctica that includes footage from the Antarctic Forum cruise this winter as well as appearances by Robin Bell, Hugh Ducklow, Art Lerner-Lam, Ray Sambrotto, Julian Sproule, Margie Turrin, and Xiaojun herself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBNLwCWNX1Q). As Xiaojun notes, “Unfortunately it is all in Chinese.”
Whatever your language of choice, may you enjoy the warm and sunny weekend.