Lamont Weekly Report, January 15, 2016

     This week marked the first campus snowfall of this winter season. Notwithstanding the limited accumulation, our Buildings and Grounds staff were in early Thursday morning to ensure that roads, sidewalks, pathways, and parking lots were clear and safe.

     A new arrival at Lamont this month is David Gallo, who joins the Observatory as Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives. Dave earned B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in geology from SUNY Albany and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, under the supervision at both institutions of Lamont alumnus Jeff Fox. Dave spent most of his professional career at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Marine Exploration, Coordinator of International Programs, Senior Development Officer for Major Gifts, and most recently Director of Special Projects. At Lamont, Dave will work on fundraising and external relations and will devote approximately half of his time to the Center for Climate and Life and half to Lamont’s four other strategic initiatives.

     On Wednesday, Anastasia Yanchilina successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, completed under the supervision of Bill Ryan and Jerry McManus. The title of Anastasia’s thesis declared that “Excess freshwater outflow from the Black Sea-Lake during glacial and deglacial periods and delayed entry of marine water in the early Holocene require evolving sills.” To Dr. Yanchilina, congratulations!

     The R/V Langseth is scheduled to arrive today at its first of five South Atlantic sites where ocean-bottom seismometers will be deployed for seismic imaging of the detailed structure of the oceanic crust. The sites are arrayed from east to west on crust of different ages, and the cruise will end with a single long multi-channel seismic line – conducted with the Langseth’s new, longer streamer system – from west to east. Seismic work is scheduled to be completed in mid-February, after which the ship will return to port in the Cape Verde Islands.

     On Tuesday, the January issue of Lamont’s electronic newsletter ( was sent out to a broad distribution. The issue included links to stories on the Polar Explorer app and the Marine Geoscience Data System, the successful remote characterization of North America’s largest landslide in 35 years by Colin Stark and Göran Ekström, the documentation by Billy D’Andrea and colleagues from sediments in glacier-fed lakes for the unusually rapid retreat of Greenland’s glaciers over the last century, and the work on Nicolás Young, Joerg Schaefer, and collaborators showing that the Medieval Warm Period in Europe did not extend to Greenland at the time of Viking colonization there. Other links are to media stories on the work or commentary of Lamont scientists, videos on Lamont research, and blogs by our students and faculty.

     In Tuesday’s Science Times, a front-page Bill Broad story on Earth’s mid-ocean ridges, “The 40,000-mile volcano,” quoted Maya Tolstoy on the scientific importance of the opening of the real-time data portal for the Ocean Observatories Initiative Cabled Array ( The Cabled Array consists of a network of seafloor instruments that span the Juan de Fuca plate, from Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca Ridge to the continental margin off Oregon (

     Natalie Boelman, Stephanie Pfirman, Marco Tedesco, and Margie Turrin were in Washington, D.C., yesterday for Arctic Matters Day at the National Academies ( Natalie gave a “TED-like talk” on “The living Arctic: How do plants and animals of the tundra respond to and shape global change?” Marco and the duo of Stephanie and Margie ran interactive exhibits on behalf of the PolarSeeds project ( and the PoLAR Partnership (, respectively.

     Last night, Ben Holtzman staged “SeismoDome 3: Sights and Sounds of Earthquakes and Global Seismology” ( at the Hayden Planetarium. Created in partnership with musician and audio professional Jason Candler, SeismoDome is an audio-visual depiction of seismicity, seismic wave propagation, and temporal and spatial variations in the ambient seismic background. A number of Lamont scientists were listed in the credits for this third showing at the planetarium, and those and more were among the Lamont representatives in last night’s audience.

     Several Lamont scientists were in the news this week. Deepti Singh was quoted in an article last weekend in The Hindu on the relative contributions of increases in greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric aerosols and changes in land use on the decrease in precipitation from the South Asian summer monsoons over the last half century ( An article yesterday on the NOAA web site about the current El Niño quotes an Adam Sobel blog on its relationship with the Madden-Julian oscillation (

     Next week, spring classes begin. So, too, does the spring season of our Earth Science Colloquium, with a lead talk next Friday by atmospheric dynamicist Paul O’Gorman of MIT ( May you take advantage of the coming three-day weekend to prepare for the resumption of the full pace of a new semester.