The first snowstorm of the season from yesterday afternoon through this morning was made more memorable for many by traffic accidents on the George Washington Bridge that delayed traffic – including the Lamont shuttle – for hours (https://abc7ny.com/traffic/snow-snarls-evening-commute-overcrowding-at-port-authority-/4695686/).
Director's Weekly Reports
This week began for me at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America. On Sunday morning, I co-convened (along with the University of Oxford’s John Dewey, MIT’s Wiki Royden, and Celâl Şengör from Istanbul Technical University) and co-chaired a special session held in honor of the late Kevin Burke.
The extended Lamont community was saddened to learn this week of the passing of former Lamont seismologist Keith McCamy on October 13. Keith first joined Lamont as a Research Associate in 1966, following Ph.D. work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, under Bob Meyer. Keith left Lamont in 1968 for a research position at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, but he returned for the period from 1970 to 1977.
The Earth and other rocky planets were in the news this week. On Friday night, the European Space Agency launched the dual BepiColombo spacecraft to Mercury, on a trajectory that will involve nine planetary flybys over seven years before the two probes are captured by Mercury’s gravitational field (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/science/bepicolombo-mercury-launch.html).
This week began with Open House on Saturday. The total attendance was 3452, a good showing given that morning rain darkened the skies and turned the fields soft with mud. The official head count was certified by Howie Matza, who logged 425 individuals arriving by automobile to the campus, 665 attendees delivered by bus from the city, 2324 riders on the shuttles from the HNA parking lot, and 38 who came on other buses. This year’s attendance was down from last year’s record of 3891.
Four weeks after the widespread flooding from Hurricane Florence, a broad swath of the southeastern U.S. was hammered by Hurricane Michael, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane along the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, passed through half a dozen states, and headed out to sea earlier today (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/us/hurricane-michael-live-updates-florida.html).
This week was launched last Friday by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami off Sulawesi, Indonesia, that tragically took more than 1,500 lives.
This week has been Climate Week in New York City (https://www.climateweeknyc.org/), and a Sarah Fecht story posted to our web site on Tuesday describes six options for decreasing one’s personal carbon footprint (https://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/6-ways-our-team-taking-action-climate-change%E2%80%94and-how-you-can-too).
The flooding across the Carolinas caused by the extraordinary rainfall during Hurricane Florence continued this week long after the storm dissipated and moved north, as swollen rivers crested to different degrees and at different times.
Today’s landfall of Hurricane Florence, as well as the unusually large number of concurrent tropical cyclones (https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2018/09/12/seemingly-overnight-oceans-are-exploding-with-tropical-cyclone-activity/), provides us with a timely reminder of the importance of Lamont’s work on severe storms and other forms of extreme weather and climate in a world undergoing climate change.
For the second week in a row, the Observatory was saddened by the loss of a member of the extended Lamont family. Erik Hauri, a Visiting Senior Research Scientist in Lamont’s Geochemistry Division hosted by Terry Plank during the fall semesters of 2016 and 2017, passed away after a long battle with cancer (http://dtm.carnegiescience.edu/news/dtm-staff-scientist-erik-hauri-passes-away).
Lamont was saddened to learn this week that petrologist and long-time Lamont staff member John Longhi passed away last week. John earned his Ph.D. in 1976 from Harvard University, where he worked in the lab of Jim Hays, along with fellow students Dave Walker, Ed Stolper, Tim Grove, and others on melting relations in basaltic systems and lunar basalts in particular.
This week has served as the approximate midpoint of a gradual transition from summer to fall schedules, marked most visibly by the demographics of the students on campus.
There’s a George Harrison song with the lyrics, “Here comes the Sun, and I say it’s all right.” This week the Sun featured in two important news items.
The week has been a difficult one for those faced with natural hazards. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/05/world/asia/indonesia-earthquake.html) hit Indonesia Sunday near the island of Lombok, in an area that had experienced a magnitude 6.4 quake only one week earlier, and destroyed more than 40,000 structures, killed more than 160, and displaced more than 150,000 residents.
On Monday, the American Geophysical Union – via an article in Eos written by AGU President-elect Robin Bell (https://eos.org/agu-news/2018-agu-section-awardees-and-named-lecturers) – announced the 2018 Section awardees. Steve Goldstein is to receive the Norman L.
The Director’s Weekly Reports, although typically circulated before midday every Friday, are often written the day before, particularly in weeks with multiple Friday morning meetings. On such a schedule, important milestones late in the week are often not mentioned until a week later. This week provides several examples of such a pattern.
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game marks the approximate midpoint of academic summer, and Tuesday night’s game with its record number of home runs was no exception. But at least we still have nearly half of summer left before classes begin once again in the fall.
The Ocean and Climate Physics Division recently welcomed new Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow Spencer Jones. A physical oceanographer, Spencer holds an undergraduate degree from Oxford University and recently completed his Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, under the supervision of Paola Cessi.
This week set high-temperature records at a number of locations in North America and Europe (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/hot-planet-all-time-heat-records-have-been-set-all-over-the-world-in-last-week/). Given the mid-week holiday and the local weather, it was a good time to be away from New York City, and I was among many who followed this advice.