Lamont Weekly Report, June 1, 2018

    The flip of the page on our monthly calendars today reminds us that Lamont Summer Interns will be arriving early next week, in time for a welcoming reception next Tuesday. This summer the program will welcome 28 interns from 19 colleges and universities. The interns will work on research projects supervised by 35 mentors. A list of the interns, their undergraduate institutions, and their mentors follows:

Zoe Aarons Bowdoin College Camargo
Kimberly Acevedo Dominican College of Blauvelt Kozdon, Poirier, Raymo
Alyson Churchill Colby College McManus
Tyler Clemens University of Idaho D’Andrea
Bridget Craig Columbia University Goldstein, Kiro
Bronte Dalton Columbia University Commane, Fiore, Stute
Mamadou Diallo Brooklyn College Abbott, Block
Natalia Figueredo Barnard College Juhl, Myers
Darian Fried- Fernández Dominican College of Blauvelt Factor-Litvak, Juhl, Yan
Madison Gaetano The College of William and Mary Kozdon, Poirier, Raymo
Solana Huang Brown University Ferrini
Ingrid Izaguirre University of Miami Haynes, Hönisch
Juan Jaramillo Queensborough Community College Chillrud, Ross
Zoe Krauss Colorado College Menke
Jingyu Liu SUSTech Goes, Yan
Brigid Lynch Columbia University Chillrud, Yang
Bridget McCann Kingsborough Community College Abbott, Bostick
Katharine Nordmark Scanlan Barnard College Mallioux
Tiara Ogus SUNY - College of Environmental Science and Forestry Nichols
Sarah Ortiz Barnard College Goes, Yan
Celeste Pallone Barnard College Kenna, Nitsche
Annemarie Pillsbury Dutchess Community College McManus
Michael Pirrie Housatonic Community College Menke
Connor Sauceda University of Chicago Goes, Gomes
Sarah Shi Columbia University Uno
Sara Sobolewska Kingsborough Community College Lindoo, Oppenheimer
Jasmine Vera Orange County Community College Chillrud, Yang
Katherine Wegleitner Columbia University Lev

    Late last week, Joaquim Goes passed on the good news that former Lamont Summer Intern Alexandria Ang won fourth place in the Earth and Environmental Sciences category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. A senior at Bronx High School who worked in Joaquim’s lab, Alexandria showed that the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans – notable for its recent widespread blooms that have disrupted the regional food web in the Arabian Sea and elsewhere – grows faster when seawater has higher concentrations of carbon dioxide. This characteristic will favor the organism over its competitors as atmospheric and marine levels of carbon dioxide increase in the future. A Marie Aronsohn story on Alexandria’s winning work is on our web site (

    Also late last week, Geophysical Research Letters published a paper by Park Williams and coauthors reporting that the warm-season frequency of daytime stratus clouds in coastal southern California, including wildfire-prone areas, has decreased by 25–50% since the early 1970s. From statistical models of the effects of clouds on warm-season surface energy fluxes in the region, Park and his colleagues showed that reduced cloud shading leads to enhanced solar daytime radiation and evaporative demand. Loss of cloud shading correlates with wildfire burned area, indicating that reductions in cloud cover have enhanced warm-season wildfire potential in the region. A Kevin Krajick story on the paper’s findings was posted on our web site on Wednesday (, and Earther and other media picked up the story (

    On Monday, Nature Climate Change published a paper coauthored by Christian Otto and Anders Levermann reporting projections of increased river flooding as a result of global climate change over the next two decades. The paper, led by Sven Willner of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, looked in particular at the economic impact of such flooding. Such impacts are expected to vary strongly by region, including both local effects and outcomes tied through the global trade and supply network, with direct losses particularly severe in China. A press release on the paper’s findings was posted on the Lamont web page on Monday ( Anders penned an opinion piece Tuesday for The Hill about the folly of ignoring climate change in the development of U.S. economic and trade policy by the Trump administration (

    On Wednesday and Thursday, I was in Houston to chair the Lunar and Planetary Institute Science Council, a visiting committee that reports to the institute’s managing organization, the Universities Space Research Association. LPI, located near the NASA Johnson Space Center, works closely with the center’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division; conducts planetary science research; and manages a number of meetings, workshops, and publications for the planetary science community.

    Robin Bell was quoted in an NBC News story Saturday about evidence from airborne radar surveys of bedrock topography beneath the Antarctic ice sheet for surprisingly deep canyons in a region near the South Pole (

    Mike Steckler has been devoting time to scientific outreach. Last week he answered questions on earthquakes, via Google Hangout, from more than five dozen students in three Earth science classes at a middle school in Richmond, Virginia. On Tuesday this week, he hosted two showings of The Himalaya Connection – a PBS film featuring his work on the far-reaching effects of the plate collision in Asia on the region’s geology, climate, and people – and answered questions at the Rockland County Learning Collaborative.

    The process of planning for this year’s Lamont Open House is well underway. Vilma Gallagher from the Earth Institute Communications Department will be reaching out soon to members of the Open House Committee, and planning meetings will follow shortly thereafter. The date 13 October should be circled on all of your calendars.

    In the meantime, may all of you enjoy the rain-filled weekend.