Lamont Weekly Report, January 5, 2018

    Already truncated to three workdays by university holidays, this week was shortened further by weather, when a severe winter storm ( closed the campus yesterday. That we could open the campus at the usual time this morning is the result of daylong efforts yesterday by Andy Reed and a dozen of his colleagues from Facilities who plowed and shoveled out our roads, pathways, and parking lots. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to Bruce Baez, Carmine Cavaliere, Bob Daly, Tony Deloatch, Charlie Jones, Kelley Jones, Maurice Mack, Larry Palumbo, Ray Slavin, Eric Soto, Kevin Sullivan, and Ricky Trubiroha, in addition to Andy. Thanks, guys!

    Angela LoPiccolo joined Lamont this week as our new Facilities Engineer, a position that had been vacant since the departure of Mort O’Sullivan last March. Angela holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, and she most recently served as Systems Engineer at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. At Lamont, Angela will work with Pat O’Reilly to manage our energy usage and capital projects. Please join me in welcoming Angela to the campus!

    The Biology and Paleo Environment Division welcomed two new Postdoctoral Research Scientists this week. Andy Stock recently completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. His thesis involved statistical analyses of the causes and spatial patterns of human impacts on the marine environment. At Lamont, Andy will work with Ajit Subramaniam, Andy Juhl, and Alberto Malinverno on assessments of the effects of hydrocarbon seeps on microbial community structure in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the development of new techniques for detecting and mapping such seeps.

    Sophie Charvet completed a Ph.D. in biology in 2013 at Université Laval in Quebec City, where her thesis addressed the diversity and dynamics of protist communities in lakes of the Canadian high Arctic. She has held postdoctoral positions at Université Laval and the Leibniz Institut für Osteseeforschung Warnemünde. At Lamont, Sophie has joined Solange Duhamel’s group to work on an NSF-funded project on the molecular ecology of small marine protists.

    The Ocean and Climate Physics Division this week welcomed Gijs De Cort, a postdoctoral scientist at the Royal Museum for Central Africa and Ghent University, Belgium, for a one-year visit. At Lamont, Gijs will work with Jason Smerdon and others on the variability of hydroclimate in East Africa on decadal to centennial timescales from proxy-based reconstructions and climate models, with a particular emphasis on droughts.

    Also visiting OCP for the spring semester is Xinyue Wang, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University. Xinyue is working with Yutian Wu on the impact of Arctic amplification on mid-latitude climate.

    BBC this week released a 27-min-long radio documentary on the history of plate tectonics that features interviews with Lynn Sykes, Lamont alumnus Peter Molnar, former Lamont scientist Xavier Le Pichon, and others ( The radio show, tied in part to the special session at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting last month on the 50th anniversary of the plate tectonics revolution, also touches on the early roles of Lamont scientists Maurice Ewing and Marie Tharp.

    An article in Science Trends yesterday summarizing highlights of scientific research at Columbia University in 2017 ( mentions the work of Lamont’s IcePod team –­ notably Robin Bell, Nick Frearson, and Kirsty Tinto – and their survey of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica to improve our understanding of the relation between climate change and sea-level rise. Also yesterday, Lamont alumna Brenda Ekwurzel posted an article on Common Dreams on possible links among climate change, the northern hemisphere jet stream, and severe winter storms such as the one this week ( A third story yesterday, circulated by Reuters, described the first steps in a four-year project by Michael Steckler and a large international team of collaborators to deploy geodetic and seismic instruments along the IndoBurma subduction zone, an onshore plate boundary with both a high risk of major earthquakes and a high population density (                       

    On Tuesday evening next week, Einat Lev will give a public lecture at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. Attendance at her lecture, entitled “Look, but Don’t Touch! Using Close-range Remote Sensing to Study Lava,” requires advance registration (

    The Earth Science Colloquium won’t resume for another two weeks, but a special event has been scheduled for the Friday afternoon time slot next week. Lynn Sykes will speak about and read from his new book, entitled Silencing the Bomb: One Scientist’s Quest to Halt Nuclear Testing. During a reception that will follow, Lynn will sign copies of his book, which will be on sale at a discount from the regular Columbia University Press price. Whether you wish an autographed copy of the book or only to hear what a colleague has to say on a topic rendered increasingly urgent by continuing provocative exchanges between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, I hope that you will plan to join me at the event.

    In the meantime, yesterday’s storm has been followed by cold weather that threatens to challenge low-temperature records for the date this weekend at many nearby locales. May everyone – and all of Lamont’s water pipes – stay warm until next week.