Lamont Weekly Report, January 17, 2020

    Our planet was much in the news this week, from the continuing wildfires in Australia to earthquakes in Puerto Rico and Sunday’s eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines 

    This was also a week for the celebration of Lamont science. At the Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society this week in Boston, Suzana Camargo was given a welcome surprise. In the question period following Suzana’s scientific talk, the chair of the AMS Committee on Climate Variability and Change raised her hand as if to ask a question. Instead of a question, however, she announced that Suzana is the inaugural recipient of the committee’s Distinguished Scientific/Technical Accomplishment Award. Suzana was cited, in particular, “in recognition of her profound and extensive contributions to problems in tropical climate variability and climate change.” At the same meeting, Adam Sobel and Mingfang Ting were formally awarded AMS Fellow status, and Arnold Gordon received the Henry Stommel Research Medal, the society’s top award in oceanography. To Suzana, Adam, Mingfang, and Arnold, congratulations!
    Lamont’s web site has attracted an unusual range of stories recently. Last Friday saw the addition of a Marie Aronsohn article on the custom-designed dresses worn at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Awards Ceremony and Banquet by four Lamont scientists: Robin Bell, Rosanne D’Arrigo, Nicole Davi, and Maureen Raymo. The occasion was the celebration of Rosanne’s election as AGU Fellow and Mo’s receipt of the Maurice Ewing Medal from AGU and the U.S. Navy, and Robin as AGU President was master of ceremonies for the Union’s top awards. Rosanne and Nicole wore clothing that included an image of tree rings, Mo’s dress featured images of deep-sea sediment cores, and Robin wore a dress that displayed a radar cross-section of an Antarctic ice sheet. The citation for Mo’s medal, and her response, were published in Eos today.

    On Monday, our web site gained a Kevin Krajick interview with Karl Coplan, a professor of environmental law at Pace University and author of Live Sustainably Now, a chronicle of his efforts to lower his personal carbon footprint recently published by Columbia University Press. Karl is also known to many at Lamont as the spouse of Robin Bell.

    Mike Steckler continued his field blog from Bangladesh this week. Mike is leading a project to document geodetically the relative contributions of subsidence and sedimentation to surface elevation changes in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta region, and this week’s posting described the range of challenges to finding and reoccupying geodetic monument sites in that region.

    Media stories about Lamont and our scientists over the past week included a Medill Reports story last Thursday about the symposium held in October to celebrate the life and science of Wally Broecker, with mention of comments by Mark Cane, Jerry McManus, Dorothy Peteet, Bill Ryan, Peter Schlosser, Maayan Yehudai, and alumni Michael Bender and Jean Lynch-Stieglitz. An Eos article last Friday described an effort led by Bärbel Hönisch to compile all available data on past atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on a community website. Bärbel was also interviewed for the American Geophysical Union’s Third Pod from the Sun about her work on boron isotopes as a proxy for seawater pH and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Park Williams was quoted in a story Monday on Wired about the impact of Australian wildfires on climate and future wildfire risk. Peter de Menocal was quoted in a story Wednesday on the impact of climate change on investment decisions by major wealth management firms. And Dave Goldberg was quoted on the technology status of direct air capture of carbon dioxide in a National Public Radio story yesterday on a pledge by Microsoft to reduce its carbon emissions to a negative figure by 2030 and to remove from the environment all carbon dioxide that the firm has emitted since its founding by 2050.

    This afternoon, starting at 4 pm in the lower level of the Monell lobby, we will celebrate the many scientific contributions of Doug Martinson, on the occasion of his retirement from the Lamont Research Faculty at the end of this month. There will be an open microphone for informal remarks about Doug, his research, and his teaching, and Arnold Gordon promises that there will be a number of "Doug stories.” I hope to see many of you there.