Lamont Weekly Report, November 1, 2019

    This week kicked off on Saturday with the final day of the special symposium to celebrate the life and scientific legacy of Wally Broecker. The symposium provided a wonderful two days to remember an extraordinarily impactful colleague, with the formal talks, open-microphone sessions, group dinner, and informal discussions over coffee and lunch all contributing to a heightened awareness on the part of all participants of the unprecedented influence that Wally had on all who worked or interacted with him. The event owes its success to many, including the staff of Lamont’s Buildings and Grounds, Finance, Information Technology, Purchasing, Security, and Traffic departments; the particular efforts of Lloyd Anderson, Daniel Babin, Allie Balter, Elizabeth Case, Patty Catanzaro, Miriam Cinquegrana, Lorelei Curtin, Meghan Fay, Phil Fitzpatrick, Julia Gottschalk, Sophie Hines, Ingrid Izaguirre, Joohee Kim, Jonathan Lambert, Marian Mellin, Jenny Middleton, Lauren Moseley, Chiza Mwinde, Rose Oelkers, Celeste Pallone, Frankie Pavia, Carly Peltier, David Phelan, Arlene Suriani, Arianna Varuolo-Clarke, Stacey Vassallo, Thomas Weiss, Maayan Yehudai, and Yuxin Zhou, as well as the Earth Institute’s Jennifer Genrich, Jeremy Hinsdale, Adrienne Kenyon, Sunghee Kim, Arif Noori, Phebe Pierson, and Pam Vreeland; and the thoughtful planning by scientific organizing committee members Bob Anderson, Mark Cane, Steve Goldstein, Sid Hemming, Jerry McManus, and Dorothy Peteet, along with Michael Bender from Princeton University. Thanks to everyone involved!

    On Monday, on behalf of Wally’s family, his daughter Cherie Keyes wrote to Arlene Suriani with these words of appreciation: “We wanted to take the opportunity to thank you and everyone else who worked together so tirelessly to put together the symposium for our Dad. It was absolutely wonderful. The love and respect expressed by all of my Dad's colleagues and fellow scientists truly blew us away. All we can say is Wow!!! It was nice to place faces to the many colleagues whose names we have heard so often over the years. And we really had no idea how many people’s lives he had affected, until this event brought to light innumerable amazing stories told to the audience this weekend. They were all so memorable! My family and I were moved to tears on numerous occasions throughout the three-day event. Please forward this message to all involved in this magnificent event, to express our gratitude for their efforts.”

    As a small measure of their appreciation, Cherie and other members of Wally’s family have arranged for a light breakfast for all who contributed to symposium activities. The breakfast, to be supplied by the 9W Market, will be held in the Comer Atrium at 9:30 am one week from next Monday, on November 11.

    In other campus news this week, the Marine Geology and Geophysics Division recently welcomed two new arrivals. Aleksandr Montelli will be spending the next year at Lamont as a 2019 Schmidt Science Fellow. Sasha holds M.S. degrees from St. Petersburg State University and the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. earlier this year from the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, where he worked on ice dynamical and sedimentary processes along continental margins. At Lamont Sasha will be working with Jonny Kingslake on models for the hypothesized re-advance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    Yi Luo, a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Earth and Space Sciences at Peking University, has begun a two-year visit to Lamont. Yi is supported by the Chinese Scholarship Council to work with Roger Buck on models of the structure of mid-ocean ridges at the scale of individual spreading-center segments. 

    The Journal of Geoscience Education recently published a paper by Kim Kastens, Margie Turrin, and Melissa Zrada from Teachers College that addresses the topic, “What kind of questions do students ask while exploring data visualizations?” From a large set of questions posed by undergraduates as they viewed data visualization products in the areas of climate change and sea level rise, Kim and her colleagues developed a taxonomy of question types and explored the conditions that preferentially elicit specific types of questions. Among the paper’s recommendations for educators are that students be asked to generate questions about a data visualization exercise before being given the standard scientific interpretation of the data.

    Kirsty Tinto, David Porter, Caitlin Locke, and Renata Constantino are in Hobart, Tasmania, this week. The team has been flying the Lamont gravimeter suite over East Antarctica as part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge. Kirsty wrote yesterday, “The NASA [Gulfstream] GV jet leaves from Hobart each day to survey fast-changing areas of the Antarctic coastline. The multi-instrument mission underflies ICESat-2 satellite orbits to monitor ice sheet elevation change and map ice thickness and seafloor bathymetry in previously unsurveyed areas. We’ve been in Hobart for about 10 days so far. I’ll be coming home in mid-November, but the rest of the team will stay in place until November 24, so we’re looking forward to many more successful flights.”

    With the large wildfires this week in California, Park Williams was much in the news. Last Friday, he explained to The New York Times the three factors contributing to the severity of this season’s fires – delayed fall rains, Santa Ana and Diablo winds, and regional climate change. He was sought for comment by The Washington Post for an editorial on the same topic four days later, and for stories on Wednesday by television station KTLA and The Atlantic.

    In other news, an Inverse story Saturday quoted Wade McGillis on the measurements of water quality and other parameters that govern the lighting algorithm for the Plus Pool Light structure now operating in New York City’s East River. Klaus Jacob was quoted extensively in a Next City story Sunday on the vulnerability of the New York City subway system to severe storms, the “wake-up call” from Superstorm Sandy, and efforts by the Metropolitan Transit Agency since then to build climate resilience into the system. On Tuesday, a Paul Voosen story in Science on cosmic-ray exposure ages of samples from the muddy bottom of a 1.3-km-long ice core drilled at Camp Century, Greenland, mentions the work of Joerg Schaefer and colleagues suggesting that Greenland may have been ice free within the past 1 million years. Also on Tuesday, Won-Young Kim reported to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News that a magnitude 1.3 earthquake in Mamaroneck Monday and a similar-sized event four days earlier in West Nyack were both felt by the local populations because of their very shallow focal depths . And yesterday, Chia-Ying Lee was pictured and mentioned in a Royal Gazette story about a Climate Risk Forum held the day before in Bermuda.

    After a hiatus last week for the symposium to honor Wally Broecker, the Earth Science Colloquium resumes this afternoon with a talk by geophysicist Shuichi Kodaira, from the Research Institute for Marine Geodynamics at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Kodaira-san will be speaking about “What we have learned in the Japan Trench since the Tohoku-Oki earthquake.” I hope that you can slip over to Monell without a major rupture to your productivity.

    The colloquium will be followed by a reception to display a new exhibit of field photographs by Lamont scientists. With the theme “Antarctica,” the exhibit  – organized once again by Miriam Cinquegrana – will be held in the Monell Lower Lobby and will feature photos by Robin Bell, Isabel Cordero, Nick Frearson, Jonny Kingslake, David Porter, Margie Turrin, Martin Wearing, and Carson Witte.

    Please join me at both the Colloquium and the reception.