Lamont Weekly Report, January 11, 2008

I flew out to Bermuda on Tuesday to spend three days with the leaders of ocean institutions from around the world. The unusual ten-year- old international entity hosting this meeting (Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean - POGO) is working to play a bigger role in the planning for GEOSS (Global Earth Observing). The breadth of international representation was impressive - Director-level folks from fifteen different nations, plus many government representatives. The meeting exceeded expectations (mine at least) with regard to the substance of the dialog, and was an 'eye-opener' with regard to the level of coastal and ocean observation activity world-wide. It was something of a novelty to hear the representative from the Chinese Academy of Sciences defining the direct economic benefit of multi- million dollar investments in coastal monitoring, impressive to hear the British describe the operational predictions from models assimilating observations in real time from the Irish Sea, and the six or seven decades of data from Plymouth's Continuous Plankton Recorder program, though seen before, never cease to make the case strongly for sustained programs of careful and systematic ocean observations. All this as Tony Knapp announced that NSF had decided discontinue funding for the Bermuda Test Bed mooring after 13-14 years of operation...

A few semi-random tid-bits: The rumor is that the Japanese delegation will bring Climate Change as a primary theme to the next G8 meeting in Tokyo in July, so GEO and POGO are planning appropriate advocacy activities related to this. An interesting theme that pervaded the meeting was the need to work more closely with the economics community to be able to better quantify societal risks and benefits... and Elke Weber's work on decision-making was widely quoted. It was good to see Jim Baker (ex-Head of NOAA) again after so many years - he has recently taken on a new role working with the Clinton Foundation on the use of remote sensing approaches to the monitoring of forestry related to carbon sequestration. Jim talked about the need for a 'Stern Report for the Oceans'. Concerns about data exchange, data openness, and of course interoperability. I was unpleasantly surprised by the apparent acceptance of the inevitability of ocean fertilization as one of the approaches to carbon sequestration (although pleased that SCOR is about to release a formal statement on this issue in the 3-4 weeks time frame).

I was also unpleasantly surprised to discover that the Swizzle Inn has taken meat pies off its menu, and the White Horse is yuppified beyond recognition, and worst of all, the Pub on the Square in St. Georges is no more...

Speaking of food and drink, and bringing things much closer to home: for sometime we have been looking into establishing a new contract for operation of our cafeteria. In recent years, it has simply been costing us too much money - we can no longer afford to sustain it. So, we have negotiated a new management contract with a new vendor: Unique Food Management of Cresskill, NJ, a private firm that operates a number of corporate cafeteria's of similar size throughout New Jersey. They will take over our cafeteria operations on Monday, January 28th. An old friend, Dawn, who worked in our cafeteria when Lamont ran the service with our own employees, will be returning. We are looking forward to this opportunity to improve the quality of the services we provide. I hope you will stop in and give the new management a warm welcome. On-campus catering is important to generate enough business to sustain our cafeteria operations, so please keep the cafeteria in mind when hosting your next event.

I will be home this weekend, and back in the office on Monday. It has been sunny and 70 degrees in Bermuda. Not sure that I am ready for New York weather again.

- Mike