Yesterday, the American Geophysical Union announced the good news that Rosanne D’Arrigo and Lorenzo Polvani have been named 2019 AGU Fellows (https://eos.org/agu-news/2019-class-of-agu-fellows-announced). In Robin Bell’s Eos article introducing the 2019 class of Fellows, she wrote, “AGU Fellows are recognized for their scientific eminence in the Earth and space sciences. Their breadth of interests and the scope of their contributions are remarkable and often groundbreaking. Only 0.1% of AGU membership receives this recognition in any given year.” Kudos to Rosanne and Lorenzo!
Early this week, the R/V Marcus Langseth completed all planned work to image the seismic velocity structure beneath Axial Seamount on the crest of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (https://www.axial3dexpedition.com/2019/), and the ship put into Seattle on Tuesday afternoon. The Langseth will sail next Monday to Kodiak, Alaska, where a scientific party led by co-chief scientist Geoff Abers will board with the goal of recovering ocean-bottom seismometers that have operated as part of the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment (http://geoprisms.org/research/community-projects/alaska/). For that cruise, the Langseth will depart Kodiak on August 25 or 26 and return on September 12.
On Monday, Nature Geoscience published a paper coauthored by Pierre Dutrieux on the contributions of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change to ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The study, led by Paul Holland at the British Antarctic Survey, showed from observations and climate model simulations that winds at the ice shelf break in West Antarctica changed from mean easterlies in the 1920s to near-zero mean zonal winds today as a result of increased greenhouse gas forcing, rendering the ice shelves more susceptible to eastward wind anomalies that enhance the import of warm Circumpolar Deep Water and melting at the shelf base. These changes to wind patterns occurred over an interval longer than the decadal timescale of natural climate variability in the region. Climate models with continued greenhouse gas emissions predict mean westerly shelf-break winds by 2100, which will further enhance warm ocean anomalies and shelf melting, but such future wind changes would be weaker if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were stabilized. A press release, adapted from one issued by the British Antarctic Survey, was posted to our web site Monday (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/scientists-link-climate-change-melting-west-antarctica), an Ale Borunda story Monday in National Geographic covered the paper’s findings (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/west-antarctic-glaciers-melting-human-influence/), and an article that quoted Pierre was carried Tuesday by Climate News Network (https://climatenewsnetwork.net/humans-cause-antarctic-ice-melt-study-finds/).
Also on Monday, the American Meteorological Society released the 2018 State of the Climate report (https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/publications/bulletin-of-the-american-meteorological-society-bams/state-of-the-climate/), as a supplement to the AMS Bulletin. According to the AMS, “The report…is based on contributions from scientists from around the world [and] provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.” Suzana Camargo wrote the summary of last year’s typhoon season, and Marco Tedesco led the writing for the section on Greenland.
Lamont’s Secondary School Field Research Program summer season drew to a close this week with poster presentations and scientific talks on Wednesday and Thursday. Program Director Bob Newton wrote, “This summer we had 50 high school students, managed by 15 undergraduate science majors and 10 high school science teachers, working on 14 projects mentored by Lamont scientists. The [interns] studied the fluid dynamics of lava, the soil redox state in Piermont peat, and oxygen isotope ratios downcore in the Marsh. They've assembled and programmed air-pollution monitors and designed novel sediment-accumulation devices for dense Phragmites environments. They are working on non-chemical management of invasive plants and much more.”
This week, Lamont co-hosted, in partnership with Columbia Global Centers, the 4th annual No Boundaries International Art Exhibition (https://www.noboundariesartshow.org/en/2019-no-boundaries-international-art-exhibition-overview/). Designed to encourage students worldwide to communicate their perspectives on global issues through artwork, the event this year carried the theme “A Drop of Water.” More than 150 artworks exploring the relation between humans and water, submitted by students from 15 different countries, have been on display in the Monell Building. On Wednesday, a special opening ceremony for young artists featured flash talks by scientists and art educators and workshops on the blending of art with science. Selected works will later be shown in spaces open to the public in Beijing, Nairobi, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro.
Several Lamont scientists were in the news this week. A Vice story Monday quoted Bob Newton and Stephanie Pfirman on the expected distribution of Arctic sea ice under continued climate change (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pa7ym7/saving-the-arctics-last-ice-area-is-a-race-against-time). Kai Kornhuber was interviewed by Susan Hellauer on the topic of July’s record high temperatures for the Earth Matters column Wednesday in Nyack News and Views (https://nyacknewsandviews.com/2019/08/em-hottest-july-kai-kornhuber-ldeo/). A web story by freelance writer Renee Cho on synthetic biology – the design and fabrication of gene sequences, molecules, or microbes that don’t exist in the natural world and can affect organism or ecosystem function – includes quotes from Ben Bostick (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/how-synthetic-biology-can-help-environment). Also on Wednesday, Peter de Menocal was quoted in an Eos article about the lawsuit filed by 22 states and seven cities against the Trump administration’s recent weakening of regulations on greenhouse gas emissions (https://eos.org/articles/lawsuit-challenges-trump-administrations-emissions-rollbacks).
As this week drew to a close, among the more interesting news stories was the report that President Trump has been asking his advisors if the U.S. can purchase Greenland (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/us/politics/trump-greenland.html). Perhaps, as a response to those documenting that Greenland is among the regions changing most rapidly in response to climate change, the President seeks to ensure that the White House will never run out of ice for his Diet Cokes.