Lamont Weekly Report, June 11, 2021

     Hello Friends,  A big shout-out to Lamont Research Professors Billy D’Andrea and Marco Tedesco who were elected to the University Senate this week!  The third seat was filled by Daniel Wolf Savin, a Senior Research Scientist in the Astrophysics Laboratory.  To have this level of representation and voice on the senate is a huge benefit to the Lamont campus, to the EI, and to the emerging Climate School.  Billy and Marco write “Thanks to everyone who turned out to vote us both into the University Senate. As was pointed out earlier today, this is a testament to the power of organization and strategizing among the Professional Research Officers on our campus — PROs have more influence than we typically realize. We will serve the best we can in the interest of our fellow Research Officers at Columbia and, obviously, within the Earth Institute and our Lamont Community.”  Save those campaign buttons—they will be collectors’ items someday!

     On June 8, Lamont published its monthly newsletter under the header: “Celebrating the Oceans that Sustain Us All – World Oceans Day 2021”.  In an engaging video by Marie DeNoia Aronsohn, Lamont Scientists describe their research to “understand and conserve our oceans — vital to life on Earth—and connect ocean science with the needs of society”. Also featured is Pod of the Planet Episode 16: World Oceans Day 2021 entitled “Mapping the Mysterious Deep”, hosted by Marie DeNoia Aronsohn and Francesco Fiondella.  Marie speaks to Vicki Ferrini, marine geophysicist at Lamont, about the oceans and Seabed 2030, a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation and GEBCO to map the entire ocean floor by 2030.

     This week AGU featured in its June newsletter a new paper titled “Online labs to introduce undergraduate students to scientific concepts and practices in tree-ring research” by Adjunct Senior Research Scientist Nicole Davi, IRI Director of Communications Francesco Fiondella, DEES PhD Candidate Rose Oelkers, and colleagues. Their paper, which was published in the  Journal of Geoscience Education, presents online labs that guide undergraduate students in exploring the field of dendrochronology and learning about the significance of scientific methods and findings. To learn more, visit their education website Tree-Ring Expeditions (TREX).  I love the idea of offering more programming like this as we continue to develop the concept and reality of our Lamont Sanctuary Forest. 

     For me, this week has also included numerous meetings getting ready for the presentation by the Co-Founding Deans of the Climate School to the CU Board of Trustees tomorrow.  One of the goals listed in our final slide, “The Climate School in Ten Years”, is that Lamont has become a net-zero campus, an ambitious and aspirational undertaking.  To that end, I conducted two tours of our iconic campus in the last week.  One with Dan Zarrilli who has recently joined Columbia as Special Advisor on Climate and Sustainability Issues.  Some may recognize him as the former Chief Climate Policy Advisor in the NYC Mayor’s Office.  The second was yesterday with Professors Amale Andraos and Jorge Otero-Pailos of the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, where Amale is also the Dean.  All were deeply impressed by the campus and its long-storied history and are enthusiastic about engaging in a visioning and planning process for its future.  I have already sent our energy usage data to Dan and Jorge is planning to make the Lamont campus a focus of his fall graduate design studio class, which is an incredible opportunity for us to engage in wide-ranging and creative thinking about the future of our campus. From Jorge, “In my experience, the best studios result from very involved "clients", so the more you tell us about what you want, the better the work will be.” Time to think big fellow Lamonters.

     Under comings and goings, I’d like to thank two of our Associate Directors who will be stepping down on July 1.  First is LRP Rosanne D’Arrigo who has capably led the BPE division since at least before I arrived in 2011—Rosanne, speaking also as a BPEer, you have been an exceptional advocate and leader of our division and I know I speak for all of us in thanking you for your service.  Andy Juhl has graciously agreed to step into the giant shoes Rosanne leaves behind.  Secondly, LRP Roger Buck of MGG is also stepping down and I believe he also has been AD since before I arrived.  Roger, your unfailing good cheer and advocacy for your division was equally notable.  You are a hard act to follow but Robin Bell will be stepping into the AD role on July 1.  Robin, it won’t quite be at the level of running the American Geophysical Union, but I could not be happier that you agreed to take on this important leadership role at Lamont.

     In science news, we now need to confront our own Pluto problem—are there four oceans or five on our planet?  What do we teach our children?  Does an ocean need to be bounded by continents?  I’m reading that five is the new four, but I’ll be canvassing opinions from our oceanographers, possibly starting with aquatic exploress of the deep, Vicki Ferrini.  

     In Eos, an article by postdoc Jane Baldwin was highlighted this week.  Jane demonstrated how some simple adjustments to model orography can lead to dramatic improvements in how General Circulation Models (GCM) reproduce the crucial Intertropical Convergence Zone of the atmosphere.  This insight will lead directly to improvements in the ability of GCMs to predict future climate.  Many other links below reference the continuing extreme drought conditions in the west and the fast approaching forest fire season.  Thank you, Jason Smerdon, Park Williams, Ben Cook, Ed Cook, Kasey Bolles, Seung Baek, and so many others for the critical research you do, from mapping the Holocene drought history in the west, to projecting future climate trends and impacts.

     Finally, if you missed the spectacular partial eclipse of the sun yesterday, here are some images taken by Lamonters Neville Shane and Arturo Pacheco-Solana.  The celestial occultation reminded me how much I am looking forward to April 8th, 2024, when the Great American Solar Eclipse will swing across much of the central U.S., then over upstate NY and northern New England.  Lucky me, my daughter will be living in the path of totality which is less than 200km wide.

     Did anyone ever see a gosling?  I’ve seen baby groundhogs, baby rabbits, and baby turkeys in last week, but no goslings.  I’m stumped.  Have a lovely weekend.









How Many Oceans Are There on Earth? National Geographic Now Says Five.

Washington Post

June 10, 2021

Article quotes Lamont marine geologist and geophysicist Frank Nitsche.


Hoover Dam Reservoir Hits Record Low, in Sign of Extreme Western U.S. Drought


June 10, 2021

Article quotes Lamont climate scientist Benjamin Cook.


Scientists Reveal the Wild History of Earth’s CO2 Since the Dinosaurs Died


June 10, 2021

Article quotes Columbia Climate School co-founding dean and Lamont director Maureen Raymo.


Raising Central American Orography Improves Climate Simulation


June 9, 2021

Article on study led by Lamont climate scientist Jane W. Baldwin.


Megadrought in the Western United States


June 8, 2021

Article quotes Lamont climate scientist Jason Smerdon.


New Records of Singapore's Sea-Level History Going Back 10,000 Years

SciTech Daily

June 4, 2021

Article quotes Columbia Climate School co-founding dean and Lamont director Maureen Raymo.


Utah Drought Is So Bad, the Governor Appeals for 'Divine Intervention'


June 4, 2021

Article quotes Lamont climate scientist Benjamin Cook.


We Are in for an Especially Sh**ty Fire Season, and It's Already Begun


June 4, 2021

Article quotes Lamont bioclimatologist Park Williams.


Scientists Establish New Records of Singapore's Sea-Level History

Science Daily

June 4, 2021

Article quotes Columbia Climate School co-founding dean and Lamont director Maureen Raymo.


California’s Epic Drought Is Parching Reservoirs and Worrying Farmers


June 3, 2021

Article cites research by Lamont scientists Park Williams, Edward Cook, Jason Smerdon, Benjamin Cook, Kasey Bolles, Seung Baek, and colleagues.




Pod of the Planet Episode 16: World Oceans Day 2021

June 08, 2021

Today we’re celebrating World Oceans Day with a deep dive into an international project to map the entire seafloor.


A Brief History of Ocean Research at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Past and Present

June 08, 2021

In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8.


Celebrating World Oceans Day

June 07, 2021

Happy World Oceans Day!


Pod of the Planet Episode 15: Flying Into the Eye of the Volcano

May 28, 2021

In this episode, Kevin Krajick talks with volcanologist Einat Lev about her recent trip to study and film Iceland’s spectacularly erupting Fagradalsfjall Volcano.