Lamont Weekly Report, October 1, 2021

    Hello Friends, What a spectacular week of fall weather! Wednesday afternoon on the Director's patio was a lovely setting to meet ao many of our new, and not so new, Postdoctoral Research Scientists. I was struck by the incredible diversity of subjects and homelands represented in this cohort - this is how you build a global network of colleagues. Thanks to the cafeteria for the delicious nibbles. I also had a Zoom meeting on Wednesday afternoon discussing the impacts of climate change on professional sports with a number of the World Cup-winning USA Women's Soccer Team (who by the way, are also fighting the good fight).

    Lots is going on but the big announcement this week is that two of our colleagues were elected to fellowship in the American Geophysical Union, an honor reserved for fewer than 0.1% of the membership. They embody "AGU's shared vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable future for all powered by discovery, innovation, and action. Equally important is that they conducted themselves with integrity, respect, diversity, and collaboration while creating deep engagement in education and outreach." Please join me in congratulating DEES Professor and department chair Jerry McManus and Special Research Scientist (and former LRP) Kim Kastens! When I was a grad student at LDEO from 1983 to 1989 Kim was one of only two female scientists working in the entire campus (that I was aware of and who weren't graduate students, a cohort that was ~50% women). I didn't know her but she definitely had that mythic unicorn quality about her. "How far we have come!" said the female director, "and how far we have yet to go to achieve full inclusiveness and equality."

    To that end, please help us in bringing opportunities such as the Lamont Postdoctoral Fellowship to a wide audience—the deadline is Nov. 5th.  While the candidates we successfully recruit to LDEO are some of the brightest and most promising stars in the fields of Earth and Climate Science, it is not true that you have to have published a Science or Nature paper to be competitive.  That is an urban myth.  Creativity, promise, ambition, hard work, and strong letters can be your secret sauce.  Finally, it bears repeating that the Lamont community values diversity and inclusion, and encourages applications from members of underrepresented minority groups.

    Also with a Nov. 5th deadline is the call for nominations for the Excellence in Scientific, and Technical/Administrative Mentoring and JEDI awards. “The Mentoring Awards recognize the importance of mentoring both for individuals and for our institution. In particular, the JEDI award, established last year, recognizes leadership in advancing DEIA including raising awareness, addressing DEIA within the Lamont Community, and advocating for minority/marginalized groups on campus.” Please send your nomination letters to Vicki Ferrini by November 5.

    Before leaving the issues of diversity and inclusion, I want to give a plug for next week’s Summer Stars Lecture with polar educator Geoff Green, founder and president of the Students on Ice Foundation. I was lucky enough to get to know Geoff on a few Arctic expeditions that brought dozens of youth between 16 and 22 on an immersive scientific, natural, and cultural voyage in the sub-Arctic seas between Nunavut and Greenland.  About a third to a half of the youth, and many of the trip leaders, artists, and elders, were from Innuit and First Nation communities.  Every now and again in one’s life you encounter a true and inspiring leader seemingly able to move mountains (and most certainly move the needle).  Geoff is one of those people.  He creates environments and experiences that encourage leadership, engagement, and ambition and which are truly transformative to those lucky enough to take part—especially the youth that then go out and change the world.  Indeed, “SOI inspires new perspectives, ideas, connections and collaborative solutions for a nature-positive world. The outcome is a global network that takes action and contributes to building healthy communities and a sustainable future for people and our planet.”  I’m so pleased Geoff agreed to come talk to us and if you are interested in DEIA, co-production, climate activism or just a masterclass in leadership, please tune in on October 5th at 4pm.  Register here by October 4.

    Today is a big day for the Lamont campus and the Climate School.  It is the first official day of operations for the Columbia Climate School’s Office of Research, with new Director Marley Bauce, formerly of the EVPR office.  We are still building out and anticipate many big announcements to come, but the important thing to know is that we are already helping investigators go after big grant opportunities.  Pre-award help is us!  Please be patient while we build out a website and more, but also keep an eye on the emails being forwarded from Andrew Miller, the office’s Associate Director of Grants Development.  For instance, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program for early career faculty provides funding up to $170k per year for three years. Proposals are accepted in a large number of research areas including Arctic and Global Prediction, Coastal Geosciences, Physical Oceanography, and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning.  The program deadlines are 10/15/21 for technical or general pre-proposal inquiries with full proposals due 10/29/21.

    A belated congratulations to Athena Nghiem, who on Sept. 22nd successfully defended her PhD thesis on “Exploring the scales of environmental variability in redox processes and groundwater arsenic distribution through data-driven approaches”. Athena will be pursuing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at ETH Zurich.  Cassie Xu is excited to announce the 2021-22 Columbia Climate School, Earth Institute E-LIVE K12 Series, which brings educational content for K12 students, educators, and parents. For more details and a schedule of the program click here.  Finally, graduate students Arianna Varuolo-Clarke and Claire Jasper are happy to announce the return of TG at 4:30 PM after colloquium as of today.  To comply with Covid regulations TG will happen in Comer, on the 1st-floor deck.  TG is also seeking volunteers to run the weekly gathering; please contact Arianna and Claire if you are interested.

     With that, I’ll wrap up with the good news that COVID positivity rates on campus are dropping this week, with only 0.5% of tests returning positive.  Hopefully, that is a trend that will continue…forever!

    Have a peaceful weekend.   Best, Mo






ABC News 

September 29, 2021 


USA Today

September 29, 2021 

Features Lamont scientist Klaus Jacob. (viewable by subscription only) 


The Washington Post

September 29, 2021 

Quotes Lamont scientists Suzana Camargo and Mingfang Ting. 


Arctic Today 

September 28, 2021 

Article on research co-led by Lamont scientist Chris Zappa. 


Fox 5 TV

Septeber 24, 2021 

Profile of Lamont scientist Terry Plank. 


The Hill 

September 24, 2021 

“Some of the biggest [population] centers in the U.S. are suffering the greatest degree of warming,” said Karmalkar, who conducted the study with Columbia University climate scientist, Radley Horton.  


Guardian (UK) 

September 24, 2021 

Article on research coauthored by Lamont scientist Radley Horton. 




September 23, 2021 

A sharp rise in temperatures on land is linked to unusual heating of the Atlantic Ocean, and changes in wind patterns that send that warmth westward.