The American Academy of Microbiology announced this week that Sonya Dyhrman has been elected a 2019 Fellow. Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, a leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, “are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology” (https://www.asm.org/Press-Releases/Fellows-Elected-into-the-American-Academy-of-Micro). Please join me in congratulating Sonya on this honor!
The big news from Washington, D.C., late last week was an agreement between Congress and the White House to fund the shuttered federal departments and agencies for another three weeks, through February 15, after a partial government shutdown that broke all records for duration. At those federal science agencies closed by the partial shutdown, operations will not return fully to normal for several months (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00304-9) – and of course another shutdown in two weeks would reset that timetable by an unknown additional amount.
Also late last week, our web site gained a Marie Aronsohn story on Dave Goldberg’s six-week visiting appointment at the University of Montpellier sponsored through an award from French President Emmanuel Macron’s “Make Our Planet Great Again” initiative. The goal of Dave’s visit was to strengthen research collaboration on the mineralization of carbon dioxide by peridotite and basalt, to understand the processes that might enable subsurface carbon capture and storage on scales capable of reducing or eventually reversing carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/lamont%E2%80%99s-dave-goldberg-making-global-connections-solve-global-problem).
Dave Porter is in Antarctica this week as part of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (https://thwaitesglacier.org/). Dave is responsible for operating a gravimeter as part of team, consisting primarily of staff members from the British Antarctic Survey, conducting an airborne geophysical survey of the rapidly changing glacier. Margie Turrin posted a blog article on the team’s fieldwork on Sunday (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/laying-groundwork-some-major-antarctic-field-campaigns).
On Wednesday evening, the Earth Institute’s Earth Series lecture was a discussion of the topic “Solving climate change: The promise of carbon capture.” Held at The Pratt House in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the event featured discussants Dave Goldberg and Peter Kelemen. Alex Halliday moderated the discourse, which drew a large audience that included Lamont Advisory Board members Walter Brown, Wendy David, and Frank Gumper.
On Thursday, Scientific American posted the first in a series of podcasts on Arctic warming that feature narration by Elizabeth Case and Jonny Kingslake during fieldwork in Alaska last summer (https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/warming-arctic-on-thin-ice/). Jonny wrote, “The purpose of the fieldwork was to develop radar techniques for measuring snow compaction, which is important for interpreting surface elevation change over ice sheets. The work was funded by a Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Award and conducted in collaboration with the Juneau Icefield Research Program (http://juneauicefield.org/).”
In the news this week, Marco Tedesco was quoted in a Climate Wire story Monday on how the warming climate is affecting the distribution, flux, and physical characteristics of snow (https://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2019/01/28/stories/1060118695); Marco even managed a plug for his X-Snow Project (http://www.cryocity.org/x-snow.html). Comments from Donna Shillington were included in an Earth Magazine story Wednesday on the recycling of water into the mantle at subduction zones and the influence of the age of the subducted plate on the depth of such recycling (https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/thirsty-mantle-subduction-zones-swallow-more-water-thought). Doug Martinson was quoted in a lengthy article yesterday in Science News for Students on the warming of the oceans and its role in accelerating the rate of melting of polar ice sheets (https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/big-melt-earths-ice-sheets-are-under-attack). Also yesterday, a New China article on the day’s exceptionally cold temperatures in New York City included a comment by Radley Horton (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/31/c_137788318.htm). And today’s issue of Science includes an article on the effect of sediment compaction on the measurement of sea-level rise near the mouths of major rivers that includes quotes from Céline Grall (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/01/many-river-deltas-scientists-are-missing-major-source-sea-level-rise).
The spring season of the Earth Science Colloquium will begin this afternoon with a seminar by Terry Plank. Terry’s lecture will be given “At the speed of volcanic eruptions.” I hope that all of us in her audience will be able to keep up.