Lamont Weekly Report, May 4, 2018

    This week marked the end of classes for the spring semester on Monday, and record-tying to record-breaking high temperatures for the date in Central Park on Wednesday and Thursday ( Yesterday also was punctuated by an eruption, presaged by earthquakes and a disaster warning, along the East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii (

    At the end of this week, Guillermo "Fernando" Uribe will be retiring from Lamont’s Office of Marine Operations. An oiler on the R/V Marcus Langseth, Fernando has spent the last 35 years on Lamont vessels. Sean Higgins writes, “Fernando is the longest-serving member of the Langseth’s crew and has worked for Lamont’s ships since January 1983, when he was hired on as an oiler working in the engine room on the R/V Conrad.  He was hired into Maritime Operations and is the last of the remaining ship’s crew to work for that entity set up to run the Conrad. Originally from Chile, Fernando served in the Chilean Navy from 1970 to 1973 and then worked for several companies before walking into the Oceanography Building seeking a job on the Conrad at the recommendation of another oiler already employed here. He noted in his retirement letter his enjoyment of the time working on all of Lamont’s ships and will greatly miss his coworkers.”

    I spent much of this week in Columbia, Maryland, at a conference from Tuesday through yesterday on “Mercury: Current and Future Science of the Innermost Planet.” Continued discoveries distilled from the data returned by NASA’s MESSENGER mission together with mounting excitement for the launch this fall of the dual-orbiter BepiColombo mission to Mercury by the European Space Agency and the Japan Exploration Space Agency filled the three meeting days.

    On Monday, a Kevin Krajick article was posted to the Lamont web site on the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (, a large multi-national, multi-institutional investigation of the rapidly evolving Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.K. National Environment Research Council. The largest joint Antarctic project by the two nations in more than 70 years, the collaboration involves nine large teams. Lamont scientists – including Indrani Das, Jonny Kingslake, Frank Nitsche, and Margie Turrin – are participating on four of the nine teams. Fieldwork will begin this fall and extend to 2021, and two years of data analysis will follow.

    On Wednesday, our web site gained a story on the recent fieldwork of Billy D’Andrea, Lorelei Curtin, Nick Balascio, and their Chilean and American colleagues on Easter Island. The team recovered lake sediment cores, from which they hope to reconstruct from molecular biomarkers the climate, environmental, and human land-use history of the island over the past 30,000 years ( Their work was facilitated by the Columbia Global Center in Santiago, Chile.

    Also on Wednesday, another web story featured a Rebecca Fowler interview with Laia Andreu-Hayles ( The interview focused on Laia’s research project, funded in part by the Center for Climate and Life, to collect tree-ring data as paleoclimate proxies from tropical forests in Bolivia and Peru.

    On Thursday, Lamont distributed electronically the May issue of our monthly newsletter ( Under the theme “From Farmlands to Polar Regions, Predicting Future Climate Impacts,” the issue includes links to seven stories on Lamont science or scientists, a new section on Lamont’s Education and Outreach Office, and ten media stories from the last month about Lamont research.

    No Lamont media stories this week could top the copiously illustrated Henry Fountain story in The New York Times last Friday that featured the work of Peter Kelemen on the mineralization of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the peridotite outcrops of the Oman Ophiolite (

    This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by paleoecologist and biogeographer Jacquelyn Gill (, an Assistant Professor at the Climate Change Institute and School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine. Jacquelyn will be speaking on “The past is not dead: Climate change and extinction in the Quaternary fossil record.” Whether you’re seeking to change or merely to avoid fossilization, I hope that you will hear her talk.