Lamont Weekly Report, March 22, 2019

    This week has been Spring Recess at Columbia. There have been no classes, and there is no Earth Science Colloquium this afternoon.

    I’ve spent the week in The Woodlands, Texas, for the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, for which the organizers select its meeting week each year to coincide with as many university spring-break weeks as possible. This particular conference is the 50th in the series, marking 49 years since the first such conference was devoted to reports from the first analyses of the lunar samples returned by the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969.

    With two Associate Directors taking turns as acting directors, the Observatory showed multiple signs of scientific progress.

    The Lamont Core Repository was the backdrop for Sunday evening’s edition of PBS NewsHour Weekend, which featured an interview of Maureen Raymo by news anchor Hari Sreenivasan ( A transcript of the interview ( has been posted separately.

    For anyone who missed last Friday’s Diversity Lecture, by Erika Marín-Spiotta, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, her presentation has been posted on our web site ( The title of Erika’s lecture was “Building partnerships to transform workplace climate in the geosciences.”

    On Wednesday, Nature Communications published a paper by Francesco Muschitiello, Billy D’Andrea, Nicole deRoberts, and colleagues addressing the response time of the North Atlantic climate to changes in the formation rate of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) during the last deglaciation, 11,000 to 18,000 years ago. From a synthesis of terrestrial, marine, and ice core data, the team showed that changes in the NADW formation rate in the Nordic Seas preceded by about 400 years abrupt climate changes recorded in Greenland ice cores at the beginning and end of the Younger Dryas. Francesco and his coauthors concluded that changes in Nordic Seas deep-water circulation generally presage abrupt climate change and should be taken into account in climate model studies. A Sarah Fecht story on the paper’s findings was posted to our web site on Wednesday (

    Sid Hemming and Mo Raymo are on the JOIDES Resolution for Expedition 382 of the International Ocean Discovery Program ( Entitled, “Iceberg Alley and Subantarctic Ice and Ocean Dynamics,” the expedition aims to “investigate the long-term climate history of Antarctica, seeking to understand how polar ice sheets responded to changes in atmospheric CO2 in the past and how ice sheet evolution influenced global sea level.” At six sites in the Scotia Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, the scientific party hopes “to recover >600 m of late Neogene sediment that will be used to reconstruct the past history and variability in Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss and associated changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation.” Mo is one of two Co-Chief Scientists on the expedition, and former Lamont scientist Trevor Williams is onboard as Expedition Project Manager.

    Today’s issue of Science includes a full-page obituary for Wally Broecker written by Aaron Putnam and Bob Anderson ( Their piece is well worth the read.   

    In other media coverage this week, Brad Linsley was quoted in a Skymet Weather story last Friday ( on the consequences to the world’s oceans of continued global warming. On Monday, Live Science carried an article on the field expedition led by Conny Class to investigate the provenance of quartzite deposits on the volcanic Comoros Islands archipelago ( A Nyack News & Views story Tuesday was based on a conversation with Robin Bell about her work and two events on climate change and sustainability scheduled next month at the Nyack Center ( On Wednesday, Popular Science published an article describing the recent paper of Mathieu Levesque, Laia Andreu-Hayles, and Neil Pederson on the development of oxygen and carbon isotope measurements of tree-ring material as a proxy for net primary productivity of forest ecosystems (

    The vernal equinox fell on Wednesday this week. May you all enjoy the first weekend of northern hemisphere spring.