Lamont Weekly Report, July 13, 2018

    The Ocean and Climate Physics Division recently welcomed new Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow Spencer Jones. A physical oceanographer, Spencer holds an undergraduate degree from Oxford University and recently completed his Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, under the supervision of Paola Cessi. With an idealized-geometry ocean-only primitive equation model, he has studied the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and found that the narrower width of the Atlantic basin (compared with the Pacific basin) may produce more efficient northward salt transport that reinforces the MOC. At Lamont, Spencer plans to explore tracer transport by the MOC in both idealized-geometry and more complex ocean models. He will work primarily in Ryan Abernathey’s group.

    A new addition to the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences office at Lamont is Kaleigh Matthews, the department’s first Graduate Program Coordinator. She holds a 2016 Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University, where she also worked as an Instructor. Before joining Columbia, Kaleigh worked at The Millennium Alliance, a technology, business, and educational advisory firm. Sally Odland writes, “As her first trials by fire, Kaleigh has taken on updating the DEES Graduate Student Guide and will shortly be sending out the Fall 2018 TA assignments.”

    Please join me in welcoming Spencer and Kaleigh to the campus!

    On Tuesday, a story posted to our web site described Lamont’s growing partnership with Geoffrey Heal and others at the Columbia University Business School to develop clear lines of communication to the business community about the expected rates of sea level rise and their impacts on coastal infrastructure ( The story – written by Bill Chaisson – focuses, as an example of those efforts, on a meeting held in Midtown Manhattan in early May with local members of the business community. Robin Bell, Peter deMenocal, and Marco Tedesco were among the speakers at that event, as were Heal and several of his Business School colleagues.

    On Thursday, Margie Turrin posted a blog on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet site ( about her fieldwork in southwestern Greenland as part of the NSF-sponsored Snow on Ice project (, led by Nicolás Young, Joerg Schaefer, Margie, and colleagues from the University of Buffalo and several partner institutions. Margie is part of a field team collecting lake sediment cores and rock samples to understand the history of changes in ice sheet extent since the Last Glacial Maximum, with a particular focus on the Mid-Holocene Thermal Maximum approximately 6000 to 9000 years ago.

    Today, Jason Smerdon posted a piece, entitled “Dropping the Ball,” on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as part of their series, “One Small Blow Against Encroaching Totalitarianism” ( Jason argues that “truth and reality matter,” notably the truth and reality revealed by science, and Earth science in particular. His essay is worth reading.

    Not surprisingly for mid-July, news stories that quoted Lamont scientists this week were focused on climate change and heat waves. A story on Saturday on EcoWatch quoted Radley Horton and Ethan Coffel on the effects of high temperatures on aircraft lift at takeoff and consequences for air travel during heat waves ( An Inside Climate News story Wednesday quoted Park Williams to the effect that high nighttime temperatures during heat waves increase the risk and severity of wildfires ( Yesterday, the East Hampton Star interviewed Mo Raymo ( on the topic of climate change; Mo will be speaking about her work at The Nature Conservancy’s Center for Conservation in East Hampton tomorrow

    For the coming weekend, may all of you find a way to enjoy New York’s July weather.