Lamont Weekly Report, December 13, 2019

    This week, many from Lamont have been in San Francisco for the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. It has been a week full of new scientific findings, meetings with professional friends and scientific colleagues, and hundreds of side meetings called to advance some aspect of one or more of the subfields of Earth and space science.

    This week also brought the good news that Lorenzo Polvani has been named the Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, effective the first of the new year. Please join me in congratulating Lorenzo on this honor, which links him to two of the major figures in the founding and early history of the Observatory!

    On Sunday, I attended the meeting of the Marine Seismic Research Oversight Committee, a committee of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) charged to provide “scientific oversight, asset coordination, and strategic advice for NSF-supported marine seismic facilities”, including the R/V Marcus Langseth. Sean Higgins – whose birthday coincided with the day of the meeting – gave a presentation on recent and planned Langseth operations and maintenance. Others attending from Lamont included Anne Bécel and Suzanne Carbotte.

    On Monday, Nature Climate Change posted online an early version of a paper by Kai Kornhuber, Corey Lesk, Radley Horton and colleagues on the role of circum-global atmospheric Rossby waves on the likelihood of simultaneous extreme weather events in distant regions. Certain midlatitude Rossby waves influence jet stream motions and can have recurrent summertime patterns, and the team highlighted the specific Rossby waves that can markedly increase – by as much as a factor of 20 – the probability of simultaneous heat extremes in portions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Two or more weeks per summer in these wave-dominated regimes could reduce agricultural crop production by an average of 4% over the affected areas and up to 11% regionally. Such multiple harvest impacts could pose a major risk to global food security. A Kevin Krajick press release was posted to our web site on Monday, and the story was carried that day by The Washington Post and a number of other media.

    On Tuesday, Lamont and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences jointly hosted our annual reception for staff, students, alumni, and their guests. The event was held at the Marriott Union Square, and the crowd size and noise level at the reception suggested that the number of attendees equaled or even exceeded that of three years ago, the last time the AGU Fall Meeting was in San Francisco. Stacey Vassallo led the logistical planning for the event, and although she could not attend the reception our development and events teams were represented by Meghan Fay, Adrienne Kenyon, and Marian Mellin.

    Jacky Austermann received the 2019 Jason Morgan Early Career Award from AGU’s Tectonophysics Section on Wednesday afternoon. The award was given in a ceremony just before the section’s named lecture. After a citation by Section President Juli Morgan, Jacky gave a gracious response.

    At the AGU Honors Ceremony on Wednesday evening, Rosanne D’Arrigo and Lorenzo Polvani were honored as 2019 AGU Fellows. Franziska Landes received AGU’s Science for Solutions Award. And Maureen Raymo received the Maurice Ewing Medal, AGU’s top recognition in the ocean sciences jointly awarded by the U.S. Navy. AGU President Robin Bell personally presented Mo the Ewing Medal on a stage in a large hall in the Moscone Center. All of Lamont’s awardees were feted at the AGU Banquet, which followed the Honors Ceremony.

    Media stories featuring Lamont scientists this week included many that were focused on presentations or remarks made at the AGU Fall Meeting. An Eos article Monday on the need for additional bathymetric mapping of the seafloor quoted Vicki Ferrini extensively. The same day, Vicki posted a guest blog about seafloor mapping on the World Ocean Initiative site, and she was also featured in an Italian video filmed following a Seabed 2030 event at which Vicki participated in London earlier this fall. A Sarah Fecht press release describing an AGU presentation by Paul Olsen, Peter LeTourneau, Clara Chang, and colleagues arguing that the track of a “sailing stone” in a 200-million-year-old sandstone slab ­– recently on display at Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut because of its preservation of a prosauropod dinosaur footprint – points to an ancient volcanic winter was posted to our web site on Monday. A Sarah Fecht story on Wednesday featured Anna Barth’s visualization of eruption patterns of the Lone Star geyser in Yellowstone, winner of a grand prize in AGU’s Data Visualization and Story Telling competition and presented on the hyperwall at the NASA booth in the meeting exhibit hall. Also on Wednesday, Jason Smerdon was quoted in an ABC News story on a report by others that satellite measurements of recent ice loss for the Greenland ice sheet have been near the upper end of the range forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And Klaus Jacob was quoted in a Gizmodo article yesterday on the resiliency of the New York City subway system to the next severe storm.

    Taro Takahashi’s family has announced that a memorial service for Taro will be held on Saturday next week, December 21. The service, open to all of Taro’s colleagues and friends, will be held at the Becker Funeral Home, at 2119 Kinderkamack Road in Westwood, New Jersey, and will begin at 4 pm. 

    To all still at the AGU Fall Meeting, may your travels home proceed safely and on schedule.