Lamont Weekly Report, October 15, 2021

    Hello Friends,  Isn’t October great!?  I’d give it the best month award any year.  I received some good news from downtown yesterday.  The campus federal indirect cost return rate has been revised upward by 1.5%, which will put more money into our operating budget next fiscal year. The fact that this news made me so happy makes me worry I have a bad case of directoritis. 

    In other news from Washington D.C., the National Academiesrecently released a new report on Next-Generation Earth Systems Science at the National Science Foundation. Quoting Federal Science Partners,The report concludes that to explore the complex interactions between the natural world and society and enhance our understanding of Earth’s systems — the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and the individuals, institutions, and technologies that respond to and influence these dynamics — the National Science Foundation should create a next-generation Earth systems science initiative.  The report says NSF’s next-generation Earth systems science initiative should innovate, advance, and nurture an integrated research approach for the field. This will require NSF to place an increased emphasis on research inspired by real-world problems while maintaining its strong legacy of curiosity driven research across many disciplines — and to enhance the participation of social, engineering, and data scientists, and strengthen its efforts to include diverse perspectives in research.”   

    It is hard to read this and not appreciate how aligned this vision is with the strengths of the Lamont Campus, especially as the Climate School continues to expand and deepen our transdisciplinary connections across the university.  This all bodes very well for us, especially as we maintain a parallel commitment to increasing diversity, and diverse perspectives, on our campus. 

    Thank you to everyone who engaged with Lamont Open House this week.  So many great events unfolded online over the last few days.  It was my pleasure to introduce a lively moderated discussion on wind power with Dave Goldberg, Robin Bell and Róisín Commane.  So often our work unfolds in exotic distant locations of great natural beauty, but Róisín’s work in our backyard of NYC was an informative and (dare I say) entertaining exposé of just how awful and polluting the power delivery grid of this great city is.  We have a long way to go to a cleaner, more sustainable future and hopefully offshore wind will help blow us along that path.   

    Big shout-outs go to Kevin Uno, Kailani Acosta, Cassie Xu, Stacey Vassallo, Christine McCarthy, Yves Moussallam, Jacky Austermann, Chris Zappa, Marie deNoia Aronsohn and so many more who contributed to the success this year’s Open House.  I especially appreciate your efforts given that the level of pandemic fatigue seems to be at an all-time high.   

    But let’s not let pandemic fatigue lead to wallet fatigue!  Next Wednesday, October 20th, is the one, the only, Columbia Giving Day—a 24-hour online event where a community of alumni, students, parents, friends, neighbors, faculty, and staff come together to show their support for our great institution.  I am delighted to share that Lamont supporters Ed Botwinick and Vicki Brown have, once again, donated a $100,000 challenge match this year.  This means that all gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000.  Ed and Vicki, we at Lamont thank you for your tremendous generosity.  I hope everyone will visit the Lamont Giving Day page and show your support on October 20th.  Of course, your help in getting the message out with likes, retweets, and shares of Lamont’s social media posts is also appreciated.  Let’s surpass last year’s total together! 

    Also next week, on October 18th at 6:00 PM, Columbia Climate School Earth Series will present “Going to Extremes: Global Hazards and the Path to Resilience", a conversation moderated by Alex Halliday, Founding Dean of the Columbia Climate School, with the participation of Suzana Camargo, Marie Tharp Lamont Research Professor, Jeff Schlegelmilch, Research Scholar and the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Columbia Climate School, and Daniel Zarrilli, Special Advisor for Climate and Sustainability at Columbia University. Please mark your calendars and register here. 

    I’ll wrap up by reporting that I observed a Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) on a campus walk yesterday.  It was on cement but it was heading toward the grass and, presumably, a more hospitable amphibian home.  Fun fact, they have no lungs—they breathe through their skin.  Linda Pistolesi of CIESIN also observed something interesting on a walk across campus this past week—a Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula).  This is a highly invasive and destructive species that should be reported when spotted.  It is hard for me to even write this, but the recommended action is death-by-stomping.  For more information on this invasive go here.  We apparently are near ground-zero in Rockland County. 

    From the Cornell Cooperative Extension site:Orangeburg is the site of the largest current infestation in Rockland County. The other infestation in Sloatsburg is significantly smaller. The point of origin for the Orangeburg Infestation is the intersection of the Joseph B Clarke Rail Trail and Route 303. It is imperative for people who are within three miles of this location to check their cars, any shipments they are involved with, and person for any Spotted Lanternflies. Any instances should be reported and then killed. The easiest way to kill them is by swatting them or stomping on them. Currently, this site is being treated with pesticides and circle traps to lower the population of Spotted Lanternfly present.” 

    Pancrustacean hexapod invertebrate death sentences aside, have a peaceful weekend.    

    Best, Mo 

 

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LAMONT IN THE MEDIA:   

 

FEATURED NEWS  

 

Daily Mail – Oct 13, 2021 

''If the year-round ice goes away, entire ice-dependent ecosystems will collapse, and something new will begin.',' Robert Newton, a research scientist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory said in a statement.    

  

Sapiens – Oct 13, 2021 

Quotes Lamont grad student Rachel Lupien. 

  

The Energy Mix – Oct 13, 2021 

Cites research at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. 

  

ZME Science – Oct 13, 2021 

Story on research coauthored by Lamont scientists Ben Cook and Jason Smerdon. 

 

Express October 14 

“GLOBAL WARMING is threatening to render the Arctic Ocean year-long ice a thing of the past, as scientists warn the region's "Last Ice Area" may collapse before the end of the century 

 

LiveScience – Oct 13, 2021 

  

Environmental News Network – Oct 13, 2021 

  

Earth.com – Oct 13, 2021 

  

El Espectador (Spain) – Oct 12, 2021 

  

Europapress (Spain) – Oct 12, 2021 

(wire service report; widely syndicated) 

  

FuntitechOct 12, 2021 

  

Mashable – Oct 12, 2021 

  

Inverse – Oct 12, 2021 

 

Gothamist – Oct 7, 2021 

Klaus Jacob, a geophysicist at Columbia University who studies climate change in cities, said the phenomenon has been observed across the city. "When people started to get [the city's] water supply, that’s when suddenly the water table rose, even in Manhattan," he said. "People suddenly had flooded basements." 

 

BLOGS 

 

Climate change has severely reduced the length of the seal hunting season in a rural Alaska village, potentially threatening a key feature of the community’s way of life. Several new scientific studies, designed and carried out with members of the village, give a close-up look at exactly what is happening.” 

 

“Study Sees a Daunting Outlook for Year-Round Ice and Its Ecosystems”