Lamont Weekly Report, March 16, 2018

    This week marked Spring Break from classes at Columbia, and the arrival Monday night of the third nor’easter in 11 days, albeit a storm that did not match the first two in either top wind speeds or snow accumulation levels. The week even included Pi Day (, complete with a dedicated rap number (

    On Monday, Lamont’s Advisory Board met at the Columbia University Club in Midtown Manhattan. The scientific highlight of the meeting was a presentation by Gisela Winckler and Joerg Schaefer on “The Greenland Ice Sheet instability.”

    The April issue of Journal of Climate includes a paper by Jan-Erik Tesdal, Ryan Abernathey, Joaquim Goes, Arnold Gordon, and Thomas Haine of The Johns Hopkins University documenting freshening of the North Atlantic over the past decade. The group tied large negative interannual excursions in salinity in the western subpolar gyre and the Labrador Sea to gyre intensification, the result of stronger winds associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. Continuing decreases in salinity have the potential to enhance water column stratification, reduce vertical fluxes of nutrients, and reduce biological production and carbon export in the North Atlantic. A Kim Martineau story on the paper’s findings was posted to our web site on Tuesday (

    Also on Tuesday, the March issue of Lamont’s electronic newsletter went out to a broad distribution ( The issue included links to the 2018 guide to Lamont field projects, three stories on recent Lamont research projects, a video on carbon management solutions featuring David Goldberg and Peter Kelemen, and nine stories on Lamont science in the web, in print, or on radio and television.

    On Thursday, Lamont announced the receipt of a gift of seismic technology equipment from the leading geoscience firm, CGG Inc. The donated equipment substantially builds on the NSF-funded purchase from CGG in 2015 of the R/V Langseth’s new streamer and seismic data acquisition system, which replaced a much older and outdated system. Sean Higgins writes, “The generosity that CGG showed in doing this is remarkable…The new seismic capability on the Langseth allows academic researches to pursue projects that were previously not possible. We’re able to resolve deeper targets, and imaging is much improved. There is lower noise and better towing, and the technology is more reliable, which makes the ship’s cruises more effective.”  A news release on the receipt of the new equipment has been posted on Lamont’s web site (

    Last night, Lamont Advisory Board member Jeffrey Gould and his wife Lenore hosted a cocktail reception for friends and neighbors at their home in Sarasota, Florida, for a discussion on “Marine ecosystems in a changing ocean.” The featured presenter at the evening event was Sonya Dyhrman. Joining me at the event were Farhana Mather and Cassie Xu. Lamont is proposing to work with the Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota ( to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on marine science, ocean health, and sustainability for initial implementation at the elementary school level. Sonya spoke at the school and met with faculty and students yesterday and this morning, and Cassie is leading the curriculum development efforts.                                                                                           

    In the news this week, Robin Bell was quoted in a Chris Mooney story Monday in The Washington Post on the review by the National Academy of Sciences of the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment (; Robin chairs the committee that reviewed the report. The Langseth was featured in an Alexandra Witze story in yesterday’s issue of Nature on the suite of investigations that have recently targeted the Hikurangi subduction zone off New Zealand and its recurring slow-slip events along the plate boundary; the culminating expedition involves drilling by the JOIDES Resolution  – with Hannah Rabinowitz and Heather Savage aboard – on both sides of the subduction zone and the installation of long-term geophysical observatories in two of the drill holes (

    On Friday next week, Lamont will co-host with St. Thomas Aquinas College, Keep Rockland Beautiful, Rockland Conservation and Service Corps, and Rockland Economic Development Corporation a symposium for high school students participating in the Rockland Planned Land Use with Students (PLUS) program (  According to the event web site, “The symposium is the culminating event for students who are enrolled in Environmental Science and Public Policy classes in school districts throughout the county. Rockland PLUS provides hands-on educational experience planning for sustainable development in students’ own communities.” Margie Turrin leads the Lamont portion of the Rockland PLUS program.

    Because of Spring Break, there is no Earth Science Colloquium scheduled for this afternoon. The next Colloquium will be one week from today, when we will hear from Charles Stock (, a Research Oceanographer at the NOAA Geophysical Dynamics Laboratory interested in marine ecosystem dynamics and physical-biological interactions in the oceans. Until then, may you enjoy whatever change in routine this week’s break has conferred.