Lamont Weekly Report, November 5, 2021

    Hello Friends,  Last week I had the pleasure of being a guest at Reid Hall in Paris, one of the Columbia World Centers.  I gave a public talk at the Institute for Ideas and Imagination, which if you think about that name, how can one not be a little bit dazzled and impressed?  So much of our life in academia is the pursuit of ideas, preferably with a large dose of imagination tossed in.  At the Institute, writers and creative artists come together for a year-long dialogue and fellowship.  I was there to share my knowledge of climate science, a topic of intense interest to most scholars today, no matter what their field.  I am extremely grateful to Center Director Brune Biebuyck and Institute Associate Director Marie d’Origny for their wonderful hospitality during my stay.  They are actively looking for more scientists to engage with and their online portal for applications for the 2022-23 Fellowship cycle is now open.

    Now I’m back in town and the rest of the Climate School co-Deans, along with a number of our Lamont colleagues, are off in Glasgow taking part in COP26, an international conference focused on the global challenge of rapidly decarbonizing our future.  Yesterday, CU hosted a panel on “Turning Ambition into Action”, with Mary Nichols, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy; Peggy Shepard of WeAct; Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change; as well as Jason Bordoff and Alex Halliday, Deans of the Columbia Climate School. Here is the twitter thread and the video will eventually be posted to Climate School website, along with all CU COP related content here.

    One of LDEO’s postdocs, Catalina Sanchez-Roa, a scientist in Lamont’s Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics Division who is working on decarbonization, is also currently at COP26.   She wasn’t granted permission from Columbia until the middle of last week, and after obtaining a whirlwind special visa that she picked up on Friday, she flew to Glasgow on Saturday.  Her Twitter feed has lots of fun stuff, including this pic of the mythical “emergency passport”.  Nice to know these unicorns actually do exist!  And of course, if you haven’t seen this video—who doesn’t love a good dinosaur?

    Cue up the Town Halls—information is a-flowing!  On November 10th, from 3:00 - 4:00 PM, Federal Science Partners co-founders Meg Thompson and Joel Widder will host a virtual town hall on “Briefing on Federal Science Funding for FY 2022”.  Our eyes and ears on the ground in D.C. will fill us in on the latest crazy going on in a government arena trying to build-back-better.  A Zoom link will be forthcoming.  Also hold the date on November 17 at 1:00 PM for a Town Hall hosted by the ever-popular Climate School Co-Founding Deans.  We will be discussing the organizational structure for the School’s launch year as well as projects and initiatives being put in place to support our research community. Please register here.

    Note also we have extended the application deadline of the Lamont Postdoctoral Fellowship to next Friday, November 12.  Fellowships are open to candidates who have recently completed their PhD or expect to complete their degree requirements by September 2022. Please be sure to share this opportunity via email or social media!

    Please also join me in congratulating Christine Chesley who today successfully defended her thesis on “Marine electromagnetic studies of the Pacific Plate and Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand”.  Christine plans to continue her research on the tectonics and faulting of the seafloor as a WHOI Postdoctoral Scholar with Dr. Rob Evans. 

    Finally, I want to thank Art Lerner-Lam and Cassie Xu for joining me in our annual meeting with and presentation to the Trustees of the Doherty Foundation this week.  Walter Brown and the trustee board have been incredible supporters of our education and outreach programs over many years.  We are lucky to have so many ardent supporters of our research and educational missions, none more so than the Doherty family after which the Observatory is named.

    Wishing all a peaceful weekend.  Best, Mo








Statute of Liberty Photos Do Not Prove Sea Level Rise Is a Myth


November 5, 2021

“The (relative) sea level rise (SLR) in NYC (Battery tide gauge) is about 1.1 inches in every decade, or about a foot in a century,” Dr. Klaus Hans Jacob, Special Research Scientist in Seismology, Geology, and Tectonophysics at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Colombia Climate School, told Reuters (here).  “A photographic comparison between 2020 and 1920 is meaningless since the daily tides in New York harbor are several feet every day, and therefore are larger than the SLR for the last 100 years,” he added.


Climate Change Is a Universal Problem, But It Hits Some People Harder than Others

NBC News

November 3, 2021


China suffering its most widespread Covid-19 outbreak since Wuhan with 19 provinces seeing new cases

Daily Mail – Nov 3, 2021

'As the atmosphere warms up, air can hold more moisture, so when storms occur, they can rain out more extreme precipitation,' said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University. 'Chances are extremely likely that human-induced climate change caused the extreme flooding you saw this summer in places like China and Europe.'


Climate Change Is a Universal Problem, But It’s Hitting Some People Harder Than Others

NBC News 

November 3, 2021

Interview with Lamont scientist Radley Horton.


Greenland’s Ice Sheet Is Melting at Such a Fast Pace, It Is Heightening Worldwide Risk of Flooding

UK Today News

November 1, 2021

A separate observation of Greenland found its ice sheets lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on July 27, which is enough ice to cover Florida in two inches of water. Melting events can create feedback loops that drive further warming and melting in Greenland, according to Marco Tedesco, a climate scientist at Columbia University.  As snow melts, it exposes darker ice or ground beneath, which absorbs more sunlight rather than reflecting it back out of the atmosphere.  ‘It really positions Greenland to be more vulnerable to the rest of the melting season,’ Tedesco, research professor at Columbia University´s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told Reuters.


'Ordinary People Suffer Most': China Farms Face Climate Woes.

Associated Press

November 2, 2021

“As the atmosphere warms up, air can hold more moisture, so when storms occur, they can rain out more extreme precipitation,” said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University. “Chances are extremely likely that human-induced climate change caused the extreme flooding you saw this summer in places like China and Europe.”


Fall Foliage Watch: Scientists Say Climate Change Is Doing A Number On The Northeast


 November 1, 2021

Quotes Jason Smerdon of LDEO and Benjamin Cook of GISS.


COP26: This Is What Individuals Can Do to Slow Down Climate Change

ABC News

October 31, 2021

Features Lamont scientist Jason Smerdon.


'On Wall Street, there will be water': How cities will adapt to climate change

Yahoo News

October 30, 2021

Klaus Jacob has been studying climate change for more than half a century and served on the New York City Panel on Climate Change for over a decade. During that time, he told Yahoo News, he has seen "more and more severe disasters," and he has urged policymakers to prepare for far worse events to come.  Currently a Special Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and an adjunct professor at Columbia University, Jacob warns that parts of many coastal cities, such as New York, will be regularly inundated by the end of this century.


Urgency pervades COP26 climate change summit as US grapples with environmental justice

USA Today 

October 29, 2021

Quotes Radley Horton of LDEO.


Scientists express doubt that Glasgow climate change conference will be successful

Yahoo News

October 28, 2021

“We’ve got to have a global plan that works both on the mitigation side, namely to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as possible and get that financed internationally,” [Klaus] Jacob said, “and not just the main emitters — nations like the U.S., China, Brazil or Europe, and maybe India. But we also have to address it on the adaptation side, and just think about nations like Bangladesh or Vietnam, that have tens and hundreds of millions of people that by the end of the century will have to be moved.”


Floods, Flames and Heat: Images of This Year’s Extreme Weather Offer a Stark Backdrop for COP26 Climate Summit

Washington Post

October 26, 2021

“Arctic Sea Ice Is, In Fact, Disappearing,” Robert Newton, Senior Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, told Reuters Via Email. The late summer minimum sea ice extent has “diminished by nearly half in the last 40 years”, he said.


This Year’s Extreme Weather Offers A Stark Backdrop For COP26 Summit

Washington Post

Oct 26, 2012

“This was a really extreme year,” said Radley Horton, a Research Professor focused on climate extremes at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “Right now we’re seeing the climate extremes changing so fast that that alone is demonstrating that going past 1.5 Celsius will be something we won’t adapt to.”


The Fate Of Arctic Sea Ice


October 26, 2021

The peer-reviewed Journal Earth’s Future published these scientists’ study on September 2.  Co-author Robert Newton of Columbia University used the word “experiment” to describe Earth’s climate – and the repercussions of global warming – in the Arctic.


Timber Salvaged From New York City Buildings Reveals Ancient Climate

National Geographic – Oct 22, 2021

Article on research by Lamont tree-ring scientists Caroline Leland, Mukund Rao and Edward Cook.


‘Medicane’ Is a Real Phenomenon


October 27, 2021

"Medicanes are very much like hurricanes," says Dr. Richard Seager of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. He told CNN that because medicanes are "geographically confined over the Mediterranean Sea and are surrounded by land" they are typically smaller than a hurricane and often dissipate quicker.


Predicting Exactly When Natural Resources, Ecosystems And Species May Disappear Is Not Possible, Experts Say

Reuters – Oct 26, 2021




Communication is a two way exchange, yet all too often we forget the most critical part!

October 29, 2021

“The Hudson River is one of the most important geographical features in New York impacting the communities that lie along its banks. Despite the close proximity to the river, many of the communities along the Hudson are misinformed or know very little about the river. Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory’s Next Generation of Hudson River Educators Internship (Next Gen) provides high school students a summer opportunity to uncover the truth about the Hudson River.”


Tackling a 40 Million-Year-Old Conundrum

October 24, 2021

“A new study bolsters the idea that the uplift of the Himalayas and Andes that began tens of millions of years ago helped trigger the ice ages that followed.”