Lamont Weekly Report, July 3, 2014

    This holiday-shortened workweek features the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane shares its name with our Deputy Director.
    On Monday, the campus was visited by 64 students from the Master’s Program in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. The visit, hosted by program faculty members Ben Bostick and Jason Smerdon, included introductions to the Observatory, IRI, and CIESIN; scientific talks by Park Williams, Gisela Winckler, and Sonya Dyhrman; and tours of the campus, the Comer Building laboratories, and the Core Repository, led by Jason, Ben, and Nicole Anest, respectively.
    Also on Monday, Sean Higgins and Paul Ljunggren hosted visits to the R/V Langseth, in town for several days at SUNY Maritime College. I joined a visiting delegation that day that also included Roger Buck, Kathy Callahan, Miriam Cinquegrana, Kuheli Dutt, Jim Gaherty, Jacqui Geaney, Arnold Gordon, Karen Hoffer, Art Lerner-Lam, Kim Lundberg, Edie Miller, and Bill Smethie.
    On Tuesday, the Geochemistry Division welcomed the arrival of Postdoctoral Research Scientist Sascha Serno. Sascha received his Ph.D. last month from the University of Potsdam, where his thesis was on “Marine productivity and eolian dust supply in the Subarctic North Pacific: Proxy development and evaluation in marine sediments.” A portion of his thesis research was conducted at Lamont, and Bob Anderson and Gisela Winckler served as thesis co-advisors. Gisela will be Sascha’s postdoctoral advisor.
    Lamont’s Annual Report for fiscal year 2013, written and produced by Rebecca Fowler and her colleagues in our Office of Strategic Initiatives, Development, and External Relations, was posted online this week ( and distributed broadly by e-mail earlier today. In addition to providing a snapshot of the Observatory’s income and expenses for the year, the report features articles on scientific highlights from the year as well as Lamont’s accomplishments in education and development. This is the first year that our Annual Report has been published online. The new format not only saves on printing and mailing expenses, it is more interactive and permits the inclusion of videos with several of the stories. Your feedback on the new format is welcomed.
    The American Geophysical Union announced the 2014 winners of the society’s medals and awards this week. Lamont and Columbia alumni Bryan Isacks and Dan Fornari will receive AGU’s Bucher Medal and Flinn Award, respectively, and former Lamont postdoctoral scientists Rajdeep Dasgupta and Jessica Tierney will each receive a Macelwane Medal.
    Lamont’s scientists in the news this week included Richard Seager, whose paper with NOAA’s Martin Hoerling on the atmospheric and oceanic causes of North American droughts in the June issue of Journal of Climate was the subject of a story Monday in The Guardian ( The paper places the contributions of increased atmospheric greenhouse gases in the context of natural variability. An article in the July issue of Capital New York on the seismic hazard to the nuclear power planet at Indian Point quotes Lynn Sykes on the ground motions that might be expected from nearby and regional earthquakes (
    New to the Lamont Log ( this week is a National Geographic video of an interview conducted in New Orleans with Adam Sobel on extreme weather and climate, including prospects for an improved understanding of risks and mitigation strategies. Also on the Log is a story on a new work by sound artists Annea Lockwood and Bob Bielecki entitled Wild Energy and featuring a variety of sounds recorded from nature, including earthquakes sounds provided by Ben Holtzman and acoustic recordings of mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal vents provided by Tim Crone. The work is part of an exhibition of sound art that may be heard through early November at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, New York (
    Notwithstanding the contribution to local weather and possible flash flooding by the passage of Hurricane Arthur, I hope that you have an enjoyable Independence Day and weekend.