Lamont Weekly Report, June 22, 2018

    Yesterday was the summer solstice, as you could have ascertained from a measurement of the hours of daylight or the noon position of the Sun in the sky. Summer-like weather in New York and elsewhere in North America, of course, jumped the gun.

    To mark the new season, I am pleased to report several promotions for members of Lamont’s scientific staff, all effective next month. Andrew Barclay has been promoted to Senior Research Scientist; Billy D’Andrea has been promoted to Lamont Associate Research Professor, Senior Staff; and Chris Zappa has been promoted to Lamont Research Professor. Please join me in congratulating Andrew, Billy, and Chris on their new positions!

    The Center for Climate and Life announced this week the selection of Yutian Wu as a new Climate and Life Fellow. Yutian was named on the basis of her proposal to study the impact of Arctic climate change on mid-latitude weather extremes, particularly in North America. Yutian joins 10 other Climate and Life Fellows selected earlier from the Observatory, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, and the Center for Climate Systems Research. A Rebecca Fowler story on Yutian’s selection was posted on our web site on Monday (

    On Wednesday, Science Advances published a paper by Ruth Oliver, Shannon Sweet, Natalie Boelman, and their colleagues on the application of automated signal processing and machine learning to recordings of songbird vocal activity on Alaska’s North Slope. The team collected songbird activity at four autonomous recording sites during five successive Arctic spring seasons, and they applied their novel methodology to determine arrival dates of songbird communities, for comparison with local environmental conditions. The team found that fluctuations in snow cover, wind speed, atmospheric pressure and temperature, and precipitation accounted for a large fraction of the variance in the vocal activity. Application of the group’s methodology to data collected from large-scale deployments of acoustic sensors offers a promising tool to assess and forecast changes in bird migration patterns in a changing climate. A Kim Martineau story on the paper’s findings has been posted on our web site (

    On Wednesday evening, Marco Tedesco spoke on “Warmer, Wetter, Darker: The Changing Face of the Greenland Ice Sheet” at Patagonia Upper West Side. And Susan Hellauer’s “Earth Matters” column Wednesday in Nyack News and Views featured an interview of Ben Bostick on the topic of ground-level ozone (

    Several Lamont colleagues have reached important milestones. Robert Steinhaus will leave Lamont next week after more than 10 years as Senior Science Officer in our Office of Marine Operations and a key member of the Technical Services support team for the R/V Marcus Langseth. Sean Higgins writes, “Robert has contributed greatly through his work on science planning with principal investigators and the management of onboard operations for our seismic projects for more than a decade. His strong technical skills from his years in the marine seismic industry before coming to Lamont have been an enormous asset to the Langseth. He’s worked with the Technical Services team to continue to improve Langseth operations.”

    This is also the final week for Victoria Carrasco, who has been an invaluable resource to the Directorate for nearly a year. Victoria has accepted a position at EcoVadis, a firm that provides sustainability ratings for companies seeking to assess the environmental and social impacts and performance of their suppliers. As their first Event and Field Marketing Associate for North America, she will develop and manage field marketing plans, oversee the company’s portfolio of internal and external events, and help execute digital strategies. 

    Please join me in wishing Robert and Victoria well on their next career stages.

    Bruce Huber will be retiring next week after nearly four decades of service to oceanography at Lamont. A veteran of 50 oceanographic cruises, many to the Southern Ocean, Bruce has been a staff member at the Observatory since October 1978 and a Senior Staff Associate since 1984. He’s also served as a member of Lamont’s Executive Committee since 2003. Arnold Gordon writes, “Guided by his wide-ranging scientific knowledge, Bruce has been essential to the success of Lamont for 40 years, by providing crucial technical expertise in the field and in the lab.” A retirement celebration will be held in Bruce’s honor at 3:30 pm this afternoon in the Monell Lower Lobby.

    Prior to the celebration for Bruce, there will be a Town Hall meeting, open to everyone on campus, from noon to 2 pm this afternoon in Monell Auditorium. I’ll give an overview of Lamont’s budget picture for the next fiscal year, Meghan Fay will introduce the integrated development team at Lamont and the Earth Institute and offer highlights of near-term fundraising plans, and Alex Halliday will discuss his vision for the Earth Institute and some of the changes we can expect to see in the coming year.

    I hope to see you at both of this afternoon’s events.