Lamont Weekly Report, September 2, 2016

     The arrival of new students to the Morningside Campus this week foreshadowed the end of summer for all of us. The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, too, welcomed 17 new graduate students. Those individuals, their undergraduate institutions, and their DEES and Lamont advisors, are as follows: 


Undergraduate Affiliation


Jordan Abell

University of Arizona

R. F. Anderson, Winckler

Colleen Baublitz

University of Florida


Daniel Bishop

Cornell University


Nicholas Bock

Boise State University

Duhamel, O. R. Anderson

Michael Deluca

Union College

Christie-Blick, Hemming

Megan Freiberger

Bowdoin College

R. F. Anderson, Winckler

Marina Gemma

Columbia University


Carlos Martínez-Zayas

Texas A&M University

Kushnir, Goddard

Una Miller  

University of Washington


Elise Myers  



Athena Nghiem  

Univ. California, Berkeley


Bar Oryan

University of Tel Aviv


Julian Sperge

University of Chicago


William Towbin

Oberlin College


Rebecca Trinh

Univ. California, Berkeley

Ducklow, Subramanian

Thomas Weiss

Cornell College


Yuxin Zhou

Univ. Southern California

Smerdon, deMenocal

One opportunity to meet our new students will be from 3 to 6 pm on Friday afternoon next week, when DEES will host a welcoming party behind Lamont Hall. I hope to see you there. 

     I am also pleased to report that Pierre Dutrieux has been appointed a Lamont Assistant Research Professor, effective this week, in the Observatory’s Ocean and Climate Physics Division. A physical oceanographer, Pierre combines field observations, remote sensing, and modeling in studies of ocean-ice shelf interactions, the melting of polar ice shelves, and the processes that control sea level rise and the lower branch of the meridional overturning circulation. His Ph.D. thesis, completed in 2009 at the University of Hawaii, was on the intraseasonal variability of currents in the tropical western Pacific. Following the completion of his doctorate, he spent six years in the Polar Oceans Program of the British Antarctic Survey, and for the last year and a half he held the position of Senior Research Scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington. Please introduce yourself to Pierre and welcome him to the Lamont community! 

     On Tuesday, Lamont hosted a visit by Columbia University’s new Senior Executive Vice President, Gerald Rosberg. Gerry heard a general introduction to the Observatory over sandwiches with Art Lerner-Lam, Kathy Callahan, Edie Miller, and me. He then took a tour of the Tree-Ring Laboratory led by Ed Cook, the Lamont Core Repository led by Mo Raymo and Nichole Anest, the Polar Geophysics Laboratory led by Kirsty Tinto, and the Gary Comer Geochemistry Building led by Sid Hemming. As he boarded the shuttle to head back to Morningside, Gerry commented that he didn't realize he could have such fun for three hours learning about a Columbia campus. 

     Elections are now underway for officers of two scientific societies, the American Geophysical Union ( and the American Meteorological Society (, and Lamont scientists are on the ballots for both. Robin Bell is a candidate for AGU President-Elect, and Bob Anderson is a candidate for President-Elect of AGU’s Ocean Sciences Section. Kerstin Lehnert is a candidate for one of the AGU Council positions, and Adam Sobel is a candidate for AMS Council from the Academic Sector. For all of you who are members of one or both organizations, I hope that you will join me in supporting our colleagues. 

     In a paper published online yesterday in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Deepti Singh, Justin Mankin, and colleagues from Stanford and Northwestern universities described the common pattern of anomalously cold winter temperatures in eastern North America and anomalously warm winter temperatures in western North America, a pattern particularly strong during the winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Deepti and her coworkers found that this pattern, which they call the North American winter temperature dipole, is associated with mid-tropospheric ridging in the west and downstream troughing in the east and has increased in severity and rate of occurrence since 1980, a result attributable to anthropogenic sources. Climate models indicate that the severity of the low-temperature extremes in eastern North America are likely to lessen in the future, however, as winter temperatures generally warm across the continent. A press release on the paper’s findings was posted on our web site yesterday ( 

     Andy Juhl and Greg O’Mullan participated last month in a health check of the Hudson River system, from the headwaters to the mouth, organized by Riverkeeper on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Andy and Greg hiked for two days to sample Lake Tear of the Clouds, the Hudson’s source. Their analyses of bacterial and chemical species provide baselines against which to compare samples taken downriver. A Stacy Morford story on their work, complete with two 360° videos from their field sites, was posted on our web site on Wednesday ( A Riverkeeper press release from the same day also features Andy and Greg ( 

     The Fall 2016 issue of Columbia Magazine includes a selection of stunning photographs of natural objects taken by researchers at Lamont and the Zuckerman Institute ( Included are photos of a Noctiluca specimen by Alexandra Bausch, a calcite-filled garnet in thin section by Anna Barth, a pahoehoe lava flow by Einat Lev, and Siberian pine tree rings by Dee Breger. 

     Several recent stories on the web address Lamont’s past, present, and future. Smithsonian Magazine posted a feature article Tuesday on Marie Tharp and her openness to evidence from her seafloor bathymetric maps that mid-ocean ridges are sites of rifting, a view contrary to then-prevailing dogma ( Last Friday, for the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog, Environmental Science and Policy Program intern Alexandria Nakao-Eligado interviewed Park Williams about his research and his career choices ( A Rebecca Fowler piece on our web site this week ( describes ongoing work by Ryan Abernathey and Richard Seager on the interplay among ocean dynamics, sea surface temperature, and extreme weather and climate events, part of the research supported by the World Surf League through the Center for Climate and Life. 

     On Wednesday and Thursday next week, Lamont will host a NASA-sponsored Greenland Surface Mass Balance Workshop ( The goal of the workshop, to be held in Monell Auditorium, is to develop and propose a strategy to improve estimates of the surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet. Outcomes of the workshop will include community-driven guidance to funding agencies on targeted research activities. Robin Bell, Indrani Das, and Marco Tedesco are members of the workshop organizing committee. 

     In the meantime, may you have occasion to give thanks to the American labor movement for giving us a work-free day and a three-day weekend.