This week set high-temperature records at a number of locations in North America and Europe (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/hot-planet-all-time-heat-records-have-been-set-all-over-the-world-in-last-week/). Given the mid-week holiday and the local weather, it was a good time to be away from New York City, and I was among many who followed this advice. This report is therefore shorter than usual, but the last several days included several milestones worthy of note.
Late last week, Kassandra Costa successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis on “Geochemical fingerprints of paleoceanographic variability in the Subarctic Pacific over the last 500,000 years.” Her thesis committee included her advisor, Jerry McManus, as well as Bob Anderson, Suzanne Carbotte, Gisela Winckler, and Stephanie Kienast from the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University. Kassandra has accepted a postdoctoral position at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she will work with Delia Oppo and Valier Galy. Congratulations, Dr. Costa!
Also late last week, Lamont and Columbia University alumnus Jim Robertson – who completed his Ph.D. in 1975 under the supervision of Jim Hays and now lives in Houston – wrote about the passing last fall of Anthony “Tony”Amos, who worked at the Observatory from 1963 until 1976, when he moved to the University of Texas Marine Seismic Institute. Jim included links both to an article about Tony in this month’s issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife (https://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2018/jul/LLL_amos/index.phtml) and an earlier obituary (https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sanantonio/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=186747006). At Lamont, Tony was on the research staff of the physical oceanography group and worked with Arnold Gordon, Stan Jacobs, and others who may remember him.
Last week, Lamont gained a new webmaster in Pablo Pedraza. Pablo brings more than 10 years of digital communications experience from work in industry and government, including website design and management, graphical and multimedia design, and social media. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Please join me in welcoming Pablo to the Lamont Campus!
On Monday, the Center for Climate and Life announced a $2 million gift from Columbia University alumni Dirk and Daniel Ziff to support research on ocean health and the impacts of and adaptation to climate change. Center director Peter deMenocal added, “these funds will be used to build an endowment whose income will provide continuing support for our research and scientists.” A Rebecca Fowler story on the gift and its contribution to the mission of the center appears on Lamont’s web site (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/2-million-donation-will-support-climate-change-research-and-adaptation).
The Periodic Update this week from Joel Widder of Federal Science Partners – one of Columbia University’s two federal lobbyists – drew attention to two funding opportunities that may be of interest to some Lamont scientists. The Office of Naval Research is soliciting proposals for its Young Investigator Program, which “seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment, who have received their Ph.D. or equivalent degree on or after 1 January 2011, and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research” (https://www.dropbox.com/s/k77kjj0oylodwm9/N00014-18-S-F009.pdf?dl=0). The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with NOAA, is seeking proposals to restore and strengthen natural systems so they can protect coastal communities from the impacts of storms and floods and enable them to recover more quickly, while also enhancing habitats for important fish and wildlife populations (http://www.nfwf.org/coastalresilience/Pages/2018rfp.aspx).
Wednesday’s issue of Nyack News and Views included an “Earth Matters” column by Susan Hellauer on the passage last month by the New York State legislature of the Drug Take Back Act, which requires pharmaceutical companies to provide a safe and convenient mechanism for pharmacy customers to return unused medications. The column made the point that the work of Andy Juhl, Greg O’Mullen, and their colleagues from Riverkeeper and the Environmental Protection Agency drew attention to the problem that the legislation addresses by documenting high levels of pharmaceutical compounds along the length of the Hudson River estuary, in a paper published last winter (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/researchers-map-high-levels-drugs-hudson-river).
It should not have escaped your collective attention that Scott Pruitt resigned yesterday as EPA Director (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/climate/scott-pruitt-epa-trump.html). From the perspective of environmental protection, the move was about a year and a half too late.
Nonetheless, may we all take a moment this weekend to think about our environment and how the Observatory’s work can contribute to its sustainability from local to global scales.