Lamont Weekly Report, April 9, 2021

     Hello Friends,  Welcome to Earth Month!  The cherry blossoms are blooming, the geese are gandering, the forsythia is flowering.  It has been a busy week, especially as we ramp up to Earth Day on Thursday April 22nd.  Thank you to everyone who has been heeding the call to help with videos, photos, and more. This week, Lamont published its monthly newsletter under the headline “Meeting the Moment: Earth Day 2021”. The newsletter includes, among other articles, an Earth Day program of events, and a compelling video message from the Earth Institute and Lamont.  Yes, compelling…as in we hope to compel you to generously support the extraordinary scientists that work on our campus.  I do think my narration skills are improving—if you do anything enough times, you get better!  And speaking of digital ways of communicating, today the IT group is installing a light board presentation system in a newly renovated studio in the Geoscience Building.  Some of you may recall the Zoom seminar given by Yemane Asmerom of the Univ. of New Mexico last fall—many of us were bowled over by his cool method of presentation.  Now we have the technology. You can be a bigger, better, and stronger speaker than you were before (is anyone getting my Six Million Dollar Man reference?).  You can see what I’m talking about here.  The new studio is in Geoscience 105, directly across from the DEES office and more info will be forthcoming.

     Yesterday we had the latest Columbia Climate Conversations event, on Disability Justice, Climate Change, and Eco-Ableism. This conversation, about disabilities in environmental and activism spaces, featured panelists Daphne Frias, Annie Segarra, and Gabi Serrato Marks. Some of you might remember Dr. Gabi Serrato Marks’ wonderful talk at Lamont in February on disability inclusion in the geosciences. Yesterday’s event was organized by Lauren Ritchie, Kailani Acosta, and Benjamin Keisling.  On Wednesday, the first Campus Life Family Art Class, organized by the Campus Life Committee, featured Making Art with Upcycled Materials: Paper Making with Amelia Foster. Amelia Foster is an American artist who studied as an environmental microbiologist at Oregon State University. Upcoming classes are: Your Life in Four Panels (April 14), Making art with Upcycled Materials: Plastic whale (April 21), and Making Art with Upcycled Materials: Patchwork Mosaics (April 28).  Reading about this family event last week made me think how much fun it could be to have an annual easter egg hunt on the Lamont Hall Lawn for all our families with small children and grandchildren.

     Other talks this week included Dr. Sarah Aarons from Scripps Institution of Oceanography speaking on “Geochemical constraints on past continental crust composition and Earth surface conditions”. Sarah is an isotope geochemist interested in tracking and understanding Earth surface processes in a variety of environments on both geologic timescales and in the modern. Her talk can be found here. This week’s DEES Seminar in Race, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice featured Dr. Robert Fullilove, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Medical Center and Associate Dean of Community and Minority Affairs.  And on Thursday, 32 senior students in the Environmental Science, Barnard College, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Sustainable Development, Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology, and Environmental Chemistry programs at Columbia University presented their virtual Environmental Science Senior Thesis Poster Session.  Finally, the Lamont pod of Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE) finished up their sixth session on Racism and Inclusivity this week. They read three papers, watched an interview, and are working to produce Safety Plans for the lab, field, and beyond. 

     In the space where art meets science, on April 7, MANA Contemporary art center, in partnership with the Earth Institute and the Columbia Climate School, hosted “Actors from Witnesses”.  This event merged artists’ creativity with the thoughts of climate experts to explore how art can be a motivator for action and change. Lamont Research Professor Robin Bell moderated the conversation with Caroline Juang, Zaria Forman, and Jeff Frost. Caroline Juang is a STEM advocate, an artist and also a DEES student in our BPE Division. Zaria Forman is an artist who documents climate change with pastel drawings. Artist Jeff Frost trained as a firefighter to create the film California on Fire.  Also available on line, Lamont Research Professor Gisela Winckler was interviewed for CUNY TV's 'Simply Science' Climate Edition. It premiered Wednesday night, and will be shown several times over the next weeks. Here is a link to the full show on YouTube. The segment that includes Gisela (and which also features Robert Fields) starts at 8:56.

     A big congratulations goes to Angelica Pasqualini who successfully defended her thesis this week. Her dissertation on "Circulation pathways, time scales, and water mass composition in the Arctic Ocean: Results from 25 years of tracer observations" is the first to confirm from observations the detailed circulation pathways of the Arctic's intermediate waters. Among a host of important results, Angelica was able to estimate velocities and transit times for the topographically-guided boundary currents that dominate the circulation in the Arctic's Atlantic Layer.   An equally hearty congratulations goes to DEES Professor Sidney Hemmings who was selected as a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow!  She was the only fellow chosen in the Earth Sciences—truly outstanding in her field.

     As usual there are lots of interesting science links below, but my favorites are typically the profiles of my colleagues.  This week there is a NOAA profile of Lamont Research Professor Suzana Camargo and an EI profile of development staff member Marian Mellin.  Even though I know both of them, I love hearing new tidbits about their lives and their respective journeys to Lamont.

     I’d like to end by thanking some dedicated campus alumni and friends of Lamont, Mary Ann Brueckner, Hannes Brueckner, Carol Mountain and Greg Mountain.  They have begun the volunteer effort of painstakingly going through decades of archives tucked in cabinets, closets, nooks, and crannies throughout Lamont Hall.  Stay tuned and I will report back on any special finds (original Marie Tharp drawings would be nice).  Hopefully all will be in service of the long-longed for renovation of Lamont Hall. 

    Have a relaxing weekend. 

    Best, Mo








Drought Stokes Fears of Severe Fire Season in West


April 7, 2021

Article quotes and cites research by Lamont climate scientist Benjamin Cook.


A Vital Resource Supporting Antarctic Research


April 5, 2021

Article by Lamont scientists Suzanne Carbotte, Frank Nitsche, Neville Shane, Kirsty Tinto, and colleague.


Megadrought: 'Climate Change Starting to Hammer Home'

E&E News

April 5, 2021

Article quotes Lamont climate scientist Benjamin Cook.


Women’s History Month: Dr. Suzana Camargo Journeys from Plasma Physics to Climate Science, from Brazil to the United States

NOAA Climate Program Office

April 1, 2021

Article features Lamont climate scientist Suzana Camargo.




Earth Day 2021: What We Can Learn From the Past Year

April 07, 2021

A look back at the past year and lessons from the pandemic that might help in solving climate change.


Earth Month Activities at the Earth Institute

April 07, 2021

Blog posts and events to help you get informed, inspired, and involved.


Celebrating Earth Month

April 07, 2021

This Earth Month, explore our world-leading work and join us in our commitment to creating a more sustainable planet.


First Air Quality Profile of Two Sub-Saharan African Cities Finds Troubling News

April 06, 2021

A new study finds that that even when air pollution in Kinshasa and Brazzaville is at its lowest, it’s still four times higher than World Health Organization guidelines.


Staff Spotlight: Marian Mellin, Development Associate at Lamont-Doherty

April 06, 2021

She likes to go hiking during her lunch break and enjoys weekly Zoom calls with her sisters during the pandemic.