Lamont Weekly Report, December 17, 2021

    Hello Friends,  Sorry about missing last week.  Max ate my final draft.  But seriously, this is a very stressful time with finals, AGU, the graduate student strike, the Climate School administration transition, omicron surging, holidays—everyone should be gentle with themselves, especially if some things have to slide.  Self-care is the most important priority, along with recognizing how long we have all been under the unrelenting stress of the pandemic.  Reach out if you need help.  Please. 

    I want to give a special shout of support to my colleagues on the first floor of Seismology who have now been displaced by Hurricane Ida by almost four months.  The remediation work is ongoing with unfortunate bumps in the road, but we are hopeful it will be done soon.  One person that has worked tirelessly on behalf of the SGT division during this crisis is the Division Administrator Bonnie Bonkowski.  For that and so much more she was recently awarded the Distinguished Staff Award of the Columbia Climate School.  Her nominators wrote, “Bonnie Bonkowski is an outstanding, experienced, and trusted Division Administrator (DA),” and her citation “commended (her) for going above and beyond what is asked of you, lifting burdens from others, and taking on daunting tasks such as restoring the division after the flooding following Hurricane Ida.”  Congratulations Bonnie! 

    You may have noticed that our new LDEO website went live earlier this week. We welcome your feedback, ideas, and collaboration on new content and features. We also encourage everyone to update their Climate School directory profiles ( and research projects ( These provide the source information for the LDEO website. Please contact our webmaster Tara Spinelli ( with your comments and questions.  

    Staff Associate Margie Turrin wrote to remind us that, throughout December, the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC), will be running a virtual Antarctic Festival Month to honor the signing of the Antarctic Treaty on December 1st, 1959.  The treaty, 62 years ago this month, established the framework for international collaboration, science, and management of this fragile continent. Lamont team members Indrani Das, Frank Nitsche, and Margie Turrin are included in festival science videos and activities, including "Ask A Scientist".   

    If you have a great idea for a summer intern project studying Antarctica or elsewhere, the deadline looms.  The Lamont Summer Intern Program is soliciting projects for undergraduate students in its 2022 program. RFP here open till December 20th. 

    Now here is a benefit I never realized we had:  511NY Rideshare's Guaranteed Ride Program (GRP). The Guaranteed Ride Program covers the cost of travel from work in case of an emergency. This benefit is available to 511NY Rideshare members who work at Lamont and commute sustainably (using carpool, vanpool, shuttle, bike, bus, train, or walking) at least twice per week. To learn more about the Guaranteed Ride Program please visit  511NY Rideshare GRP. Register for 511NY Rideshare Guaranteed Ride Program here.  Lamont will enter you to win a $25 online reward card! 

    And speaking of specialized modes of transportation, a group of Columbia undergraduates from Mechanical Engineering has been working at the Machine Shop for the past few weeks using our welding facility and the Maker Space to fabricate parts for their project—to design and build a Race Car. They brought the car up to Lamont yesterday and are testing it around the Machine Shop. Nick Frearson says that it looks and sounds great!  Vroom.... 

    Thank you to everyone who came to the reception in honor of William B. F. Ryan, Special Research Scientist, to celebrate his election as a Foreign Fellow at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. The Accademia is one of the oldest European scientific institutions, founded in 1603, with one of its original members being Galileo Galilei. In addition to myself, Roger Buck, Suzanne Carbotte, Kim Kastens, and Alberto Malinverno all shared stories and tributes to Bill.  Alberto dubbed Bill Ryan "Linceo" or he with the lynx eyes, “an animal whose sharp vision symbolizes the observational prowess that science requires”.   

    I am also pleased to announce the addition of two new staff to the Climate School's Office of Research, which as you know is being led by Marley Bauce, our Associate Dean for Research who began in October.  Michael Shelter is the new Assistant Director of Research Initiatives responsible for running internal seed funding programs that catalyze high-risk research collaborations, and who will project manage interdisciplinary teams towards successful federal grant proposals.  Previously, Michael was the Administrative Manager within EVPR supporting research operations and proposal development. Our second new hire is Natalie Trotta who will be the Senior Manager of Faculty Development, responsible for launching workshops, training, mentorship programs, and other events that facilitate the professional growth and community interdependency across Lamont and the Climate School. Most recently, Natalie was the Senior Manager of Interschool Projects at the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.  From Marley, “Of course, we're building the airplane while flying it, and it will take some time to develop the programs, policies, and procedures, but we are on the case, and are excited to support you. Michael and Natalie will begin their first few months doing listening tours of Lamont's research community, and we encourage you to reach out for time to meet them over coffee.”   

    I’ll end with a science shout-out to a collaborative study published this week in Nature Communications, Earth & Environment and led by Lamont scientists Lorelei Curtin and Billy D’Andrea. They report that people were on the Faroe Islands by 500AD, centuries before the accepted Viking settlement period in the 9th century. They determined this by pinpointing and dating the first occurrence of sheep DNA and lipids from livestock feces in a lake sediment core they collected from the Faroes. While it remains uncertain who these first occupants were (St. Brendan?), it seems likely they were British Islanders rather than the Norse—and that they liked travelling with their sheep.  But did they have sheepdogs?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

    Wishing everyone an exceptionally lovely, much-needed break and I will write again in the new year.  Happy Holidays! 









December 15, 2021 

Features Lamont scientist Richard Seager. 



December 15, 2021 

Interviews with Lamont scientist Chiara Lepore and Columbia scientist Michael Tippett. 


El Tiempo (Spain)  

December 14, 2021  

Quotes Lamont scientist Chiara Lepore.  


24/7 News (Turkey)   

December 14, 2021  

On the other hand, tornadoes seem to concentrate in fewer days. When they form, they “tend to contain more” at the same time, explains Chiara Lepore, a researcher at Columbia University. And “this has consequences in terms of damage,” he stresses.   



December 14, 2021  

“We have been expecting that ice shelf to fail, and that’s one of the reasons that there has been such a coordinated international effort to study Thwaites — it’s big and important, but it’s also been clearly poised on the brink of change,” says Kirsty Tinto, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, who has studied Thwaites. The latest work, she says, reveals more about how ice shelves fail. “Understanding those processes helps us to understand not just Thwaites, but also all the rest of Antarctica, past, present, and future,” she added.   


Cruise Critic   

December 14, 2021  

Lamont scientist Vicki Ferrini named ‘godmother’ of ship.   


New York Times   

December 13, 2021  

Map data provided by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.   


Cruise Trade News  

December 13, 2021  

Lamont scientist Vicki Ferrini named ‘godmother’ of ship.   



December 13, 2021  

Lamont scientist Vicki Ferrini named ‘godmother’ of ship.   


Agence France-Presse   

December 13, 2021  

What's more, when tornadoes do form, the outbreaks have become more clustered, even though the sum total across the year is about the same, said Chiara Lepore, a researcher at Columbia University.  

(wire service report; widely syndicated across the world)  


NPR All Things Considered   

December 13, 2021  

Interviews with Lamont-Doherty scientist Chiara Lepore and Columbia Climate scientist Michael Tippett.   

Inside Climate News   

December 13, 2021  

Quotes Lamont scientist Chiara Lepore and Columbia scientist Michael Tippett.   


El Economista (Mexico)   

December 13, 2021  

Quotes Lamont scientist Chiara Lepore.   


The Canadian (Canada) – Dec 13, 2021 n the other hand, tornadoes seem to concentrate in fewer days. When they form, they “tend to contain more” at the same time, explains Chiara Lepore, a researcher at Columbia University. And “this has consequences in terms of damage,” he stresses.   


The Australian  (Australia)  

December 13, 2021  

What's more, when tornadoes do form, the outbreaks have become more clustered, even though the sum total across the year is about the same, said Chiara Lepore, a researcher at Columbia University.  - What to expect next? -  Scientists, therefore, can only study changes in the conditions potentially favorable to them forming.  But it's still difficult to infer how this would translate to more tornadoes, said Lepore, the study's lead author.  However, very violent tornadoes will remain "rare events," rather than a "new normal," he predicted.    



December 10, 2021  

Ben Bostick, an associate professor at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, takes exception to this thesis, fearing it is the wrong approach. “One of the things in our society that we’ve done is created a dichotomy. Either you are for the economy or for the environment.  “It creates this idea that permeates all society on various levels. By definition, there is an economic cost to an environmental protection and similarly, there is an environmental benefit to an economic loss. Both of which are probably not necessarily well-grounded in the basics,” he said.   


IFL Science   

December 9, 2021  

“One woman who was is justifiably credited with great breakthroughs in terms of ocean mapping, Marie Tharp, as a graduate student could not accompany her scientific colleagues to go out and take the measurements that led to defining the Mid Atlantic Ridge; seafloor spreading plate tectonics; this whole revolution about understanding the nature of the earth. She had to wait until the calculations that her male colleagues assembled came back and then she crunched the numbers. She made the images, but she never got to gather the evidence herself.”  


Clean Technica   

December 8, 2021  

“I went down the rabbit hole of mineralization. I talked to lots of professors in that field, and eventually landed on Peter Keleman, who had a few great ideas on mineralization. Mineralization just means using rocks to capture CO2 out of the air. Many people are not aware that carbonates in the earth’s crust is the largest carbon sink we have. Period. More than biomass, more than trees, more than the ocean. Rocks have the most CO2 sequestered. How? Over geological time frames, these carbonates captured CO2 out of the air, and it was important to maintain the carbon balance of our atmosphere, just like how biomass helps maintain the carbon balance.”  


El Confidencial (Spain)   

December 9, 2021  

Profile of the Lamont scientist.  


The Hill  

December 8, 2021  

Some scientists like Marco Tedesco, a research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, called his camp ”Little Venice.” Some models indicated increased snow over the next two decades or more but then the rain would come. Now the rain has come.  The melting glaciers would have humbled even the most diehard skeptics.  


Cruise Radio   

December 6, 2021  

Lamont scientist Vicki Ferrini named ‘godmother’.  


Miami Herald  

December 1, 2021 

“They’re very hard to forecast. We know when they happen, we know the conditions where they tend to happen but it’s very hard to say this storm is going to have rapid intensification and when,” said Suzana Carmago, a research professor in the division of ocean and climate physics at Columbia University. “There’s a lot to be understood.” 




December 16, 2021 

It was long accepted that the Vikings were the first people to settle the Faroe Islands, around 850 A.D. until traces of earlier occupation were announced in 2013. But not everyone was convinced. New probes of lake sediments clinch the case that others were there first. 

December 15, 2021 

The continent’s western ice sheet turns out to once have been much bigger than previously thought. This implies that the now smaller version could waste quick 

December 14, 2021 

Natural hazards expert Chiara Lepore explains some of the factors that contributed to making the outbreak uncommonly dangerous. 

December 14, 2021 

A laboratory experiment found that as CO2 solidified, it caused the rock around it to crack. In real reservoirs, this process could open up space to pump in more CO2. 

December 07, 2021 

A guide to some of the most provocative talks at the world’s largest gathering of earth and space scientists.