Lamont Weekly Report, July 20, 2018

    Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game marks the approximate midpoint of academic summer, and Tuesday night’s game with its record number of home runs was no exception. But at least we still have nearly half of summer left before classes begin once again in the fall.

    The American Meteorological Society recently announced that Suzana Camargo is to receive the society’s 2019 Editors’ Award ( from the Journal of Climate. Suzana’s citation states that her award is "for providing an extraordinary number of constructive reviews on various topics in tropical climate.” Adam Sobel adds, “This [award] is well-deserved recognition of an important contribution and selfless service to our field.” Suzana will receive the award at the society’s 2019 annual meeting in Phoenix this January.

    An 11-megaton iceberg that grounded off the western Greenland village of Innaarsuit caught the attention of journalists and Lamont scientists recently. A New York Times story by Tryggvi Adalbjornsson last Friday ( quoted Jörg Schaefer on the hazard to the village of a tsunami generated by iceberg calving, and Margie Turrin devoted her Greenland blog to the topic that same day ( Fox News picked up the story two days later ( 

    The National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs has formed an ad hoc Subcommittee on the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Research Vessel Procurement to review and assess science mission requirements and operational capabilities for replacement Antarctic research vessels. The subcommittee will be updating specifications for research vessels needed for future scientific work in the Southern Ocean and along the Antarctic Peninsula and margin. The group has set up a survey tool to seek community input, so if you’ve ideas for them, please use

    Nick Frearson reports that Lamont’s Drone Lab, with generous support from Bill Ryan, has recently provided support and training to a number of field parties that have taken small drones into the field. Brett Carr is on his way back from Indonesia, where he used drones to collect infrared and visible-wavelength images to generate digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Sinabung and Ijen volcanoes. Jonny Kingslake and Elizabeth Case are in Juneau, Alaska, to study compaction in firn ice on the nearby glaciers and will be using a drone to collect images to generate DEMs. Margie Turrin, now in Greenland with a group taking sediment cores from lakes near the ice-sheet margin, is using a drone to record their work and generate a DEM of the lake margins. Yesterday, Einat's group, led by Julie Oppenheimer, filmed a controlled explosion at Lamont from an overhead drone equipped with a high-speed camera. Next week, Einat and Julie will use this technique to record larger explosions at a conference in Buffalo.

    On Tuesday, astronomers announced the discovery of 10 new moons of Jupiter, bringing the total of known Jupiter satellites to 79 ( None of those satellites are thought to have originated by a process similar to the giant impact hypothesized to have led to Earth’s Moon, which for some four and a half billion years has led a lonely existence by comparison.

    Also on Tuesday, Lamont distributed electronically the July issue of our monthly newsletter ( Under the theme “Our Changing Planet,” the issue includes links to five stories on Lamont science and scientists, an education section linked to a Margie Turrin story ( on the depiction of scientific skills as superhero traits as a means to communicate science to high school students, and eight media stories from the past month about Lamont research.

    On Wednesday, a video crew from Bloomberg Media Studios was on campus to create a video about Lamont’s two solar array farms for Siemens, which managed the construction project. Pat O’Reilly, Radley Horton, and I were interviewed for the video, which was shot in the IcePod lab, the Core Repository, and the Tree-Ring Laboratory, as well as at other sites around campus. Marie Aronsohn and Marian Mellin handled the logistical arrangements for the video team visit. The solar array farms ( were completed last November, and we remain optimistic that Orange and Rockland Utilities will complete the final step needed to connect them to the power grid in the very near future.

    That same day, our web site gained a Marie Aronsohn story on the investigation by Sonya Dyhrman’s group of an algal bloom off the island of Hawaii following the onset this spring of the latest eruption of Kilauea ( First detected from satellite measurements of ocean color, the bloom was sampled last week by a rapid response team led by investigators at the University of Hawaii. Sonya’s group will analyze recovered ocean water samples to characterize the phytoplankton species present, analyze the chemical compounds that may have enabled the bloom, and explore links between key nutrients and magmatic fluids and ash from the ongoing eruption.

    Also on Wednesday, The New York Times reposted four virtual-reality films from their Antarctic Series ( One of the films, released last year and entitled “The Shifting Continent,” features Kirsty Tinto, Nick Frearson, and the IcePod team as they surveyed the Ross Ice Shelf.

    As part of his program of visits to all Earth Institute units to learn more about their missions and recent research, Alex Halliday heard presentations yesterday on Lamont’s strategic initiatives. Dave Goldberg spoke on recent Lamont work on carbon capture and storage; Peter de Menocal gave an update on the Center for Climate and Life; Mo Raymo spoke on the Changing Ice, Changing Coastlines Initiative; Tim Crone summarized the Real-Time Earth Initiative; Adam Sobel gave a presentation on the Extreme Weather and Climate Initiative; and Jim Gaherty spoke on the Anticipating Earthquakes Initiative. Others attending from the Earth Institute were Noelle Bannister, Kathleen Crispin, Hayley Martinez, Alison Miller, and Alix Schroeder. Additional participants from Lamont included Suzana Camargo, Meghan Fay, Karen Lai, Art Lerner-Lam, and Kim Schermerhorn.

    Following that meeting, the Lamont Hall Restoration Committee met with Judith Saltzman and Inda Sechzer from Li Saltzman Architects, the firm that is working to finalize plans for the restoration of our iconic building and its surrounding grounds. Attendees from Lamont who joined me at that meeting included Meghan, Art, Mo, Kim, John Armbruster, Mary Ann Brueckner, Karen Hoffer, Angela LoPiccolo, Pat O’Reilly, and Ashley Sheed.

    Also yesterday, The Hill published an article by Marco Tedesco and Columbia Business School’s Geoffrey Heal on the imperative to recognize that rising sea level will have huge impacts on coastal real estate and capital markets ( Their article concluded, “There is no longer room for climate denial amongst policymakers. We have reached the point where action is mandatory to save our homes, our cities and our economy.”

    News stories on other topics over the past several days featured Lamont scientists. Last week, The New York Times interviewed Arnold Gordon for a story – motivated by the successful rescue of the Thai soccer team from a flooded cave – on whether climate change has affected rainfall patterns in southeast Asia ( Last Friday, Columbia News released a story and video on the collaboration of Einat Lev with Elizabeth Hillman from Columbia’s Department of Biological Engineering to acquire three-dimensional, high-resolution images of analog materials for magma ( Einat also provided commentary for an NBC News story yesterday on the use of infrasound to monitor magma movement within active volcanoes (

    Whether your tastes tend more toward fire, water, or ice, I hope that you can find time to enjoy the summer weekend ahead.