Lamont Weekly Report, February 15, 2019

    Monday was the fourth annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science (, and a slide show on Lamont’s Women in Science, prepared by Kuheli Dutt and first shown at last fall’s Open House, was posted to mark the occasion ( The slide show highlights the work of Robin Bell, Michela Biasutti, Suzana Camargo, Suzanne Carbotte, Elizabeth Case, Miranda Cashman, Róisín Commane, Rosanne D’Arrigo, Indrani Das, Nicole Davi, Solange Duhamel, Sonya Dyhrman, Vicki Ferrini, Arlene Fiore, Julia Gottschalk, Sidney Hemming, Sophie Hines, Bärbel Hönisch, Alexandra Karambelas, Kim Kastens, Carol Knudson, Franziska Landes, Chia-Ying Lee, Einat Lev, Naomi Manahan, Christine McCarthy, Galen McKinley, Jennifer Middleton, Julie Oppenheimer, Dorothy Peteet, Terry Plank, Maureen Raymo, Donna Shillington, Mingfang Ting, Maya Tolstoy, Arianna Varuolo-Clarke, Gisela Winckler, Maayan Yehudai, and Xiaojun Yuan, as well as Ruth DeFries and María Uriarte from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; Alessandra Giannini, Lisa Goddard, and Elisabeth Ilboudo-Nébié from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society; and Sara Lytle from the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering.

    Also on Monday, The Lancet launched a special edition on Women in Science, Medicine, and Global Health. As a member of the Columbia University Senate Commission on the Status of Women, Kuheli coauthored an article for the special edition with several other commission members (, including Jeanine D’Armiento from the Department of Medicine, Susan Witte from the School of Social Work, Melanie Wall from the Department of Psychiatry, and Senate Director Geraldine McAllister.

    On Tuesday, the Lamont Campus was closed by the snow and ice delivered by what The Weather Channel labeled winter storm Maya. That we were able to open at our normal time on Wednesday was because of the efforts of our Buildings and Grounds crew and their colleagues who worked through the night to clear our roads and pathways, including Bruce Baez, Carmine Cavaliere, Bob Daly, Tony Deloatch, Charlie Jones, Kelley Jones, Maurice Mack, Andy Reed, Ray Slavin, Eric Soto, and Ricky Trubiroha. From all of us, thanks, guys!

    Also on Tuesday, our web site gained a Kevin Krajick story on recent fieldwork by Conny Class and Steven Goldstein on Anjouan, an island in the Comoros, a volcanic archipelago off the east coast of Africa ( Conny and Steve were investigating the provenance of large quartzite deposits on an island consisting otherwise of ocean island basalt. The quartzite is much older than the island and has continental affinities, so the team devoted their time to sampling and mapping to learn more. Kevin collected many of his photographs of the geological deposits and people of Anjouan into a photo essay (

    On Wednesday, the American Geophysical Union released the list of recipients of Outstanding Student Presentation Awards from the Fall Meeting, held last December in Washington, D.C. ( Award winners from Lamont and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences included Anna Barth, Elizabeth Case, Franziska Landes, Carlos Martinez, Keren Mezuman, and Yen Joe Tan. An award also went to Steve Bauco, a high-school student who worked for two summers in the lab of Jerry McManus. Congratulations to all!

    Also on Wednesday, Lamont hosted a large delegation of portfolio managers and high-level executives from AllianceBernstein, an investment management firm with interests in sustainability investing. The participants were treated to short lectures by Radley Horton, Marco Tedesco, and Satyajit Bose, who as co-director of Columbia University’s M.S. in Sustainability Management program has brought his finance industry experience to the Earth Institute’s sustainability curriculum. The group then toured the Core Repository, the Tree-Ring Laboratory, and the Visualization Lab, led respectively by Mo Raymo, Park Williams, and Ryan Abernathey. Radley, Marco, and Satyajit then joined Art Lerner-Lam for a discussion about the development of a training program for A-B staff on the impacts of climate change on investment risk. The developing relationship between Lamont and AllianceBernstein could serve as a prototype for additional industry partnerships and new opportunities for Lamont and EI faculty to teach in executive education programs, along with additional support for the underlying research that would inform those interactions. The visit was organized by Susan Holgate and Art and was supported by Stacey Vassallo, Marian Mellin, and Phil Fitzgerald.

    Yesterday, Nature Communications published an article by Mathieu Levesque, Laia Andreu-Hayles, Park Williams, Neil Pederson, and their colleagues documenting that stable isotope ratios of carbon and oxygen in tree rings can serve as proxies for net primary productivity, the difference between the rate at which plants in an ecosystem take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and the rate at which carbon dioxide is released during plant respiration. The team compared stable isotope chronologies from tree-ring samples in three distinct hydroclimate environments in the eastern U.S. with estimates of net primary productivity derived from satellite data sets, and they showed that the isotope records correlate strongly with the satellite-derived estimates. Their work offers a means to extend temporal information on interannual and long-term variations in terrestrial productivity to times well before the satellite era.

    As the week draws to a close, it appears that Congressional compromise has produced an appropriations bill that will fund through the end of this government fiscal year the departments and independent agencies shuttered by the last shutdown, but the political theater in which debate over immigration and border security still rages will have new acts as early as this weekend (

    Jennifer Lamp continued posting stories on her field blog from the McMurdo dry valleys of Antarctica this week, and as with last week’s articles her posting dates were delayed by the timing of her access to the internet. Jen’s Monday story was a narrative about camp amenities at her primary field site, Beacon Valley ( Her post Tuesday gave details on the equipment that she and her colleagues used to monitor rates of rock weathering and erosion in the field area (

    Lamont scientists quoted in the media recently included Joerg Schaefer, who expressed skepticism in a Live Science story late last week about the conclusion of a study by others that slaughter by Europeans of indigenous Americans contributed to cooling of the planet during the Little Ice Age ( Robin Bell was quoted in a web article by freelance writer Renee Cho on reasons to be hopeful about prospects for fighting climate change in the future (

    This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by journalist Andrew Revkin, the Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism at the National Geographic Society (  Andy wrote on the environment for The New York Times for many years, most recently for the Dot Earth environmental blog. He’s written four books, including Weather: An Illustrated History, from Cloud Atlases to Climate Change, published last year. He received the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism from Columbia University in 2008 and the Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism from AGU in 2015, and he twice received the Communication Award from the National Academies. Andy’s seminar will be on “My climate change: Lessons learned in 30 years on the global warming beat.” I hope that you will be able to hear his talk.