Lamont Weekly Report, June 23, 2017

    The summer solstice fell on Wednesday this week. The hours of daylight will progressively shorten each day for the next six months, but thankfully there is compensating good news.

    Allison Jacobel learned late last week that she has been awarded a Rolex Explorer Grant ( Allison’s award will support fieldwork in the North Atlantic and research at the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility, housed at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. Allison joins Lorelei Curtin among this year’s Rolex Explorers.

    Also late last week, a story was added to our web site by freelance writer Renee Cho on the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for field studies in Earth science ( The article highlights observations by drones that aid the work of Einat Lev in volcanology, Alessio Rovere in coastal processes, and Chris Zappa in air-sea interaction.

    On Tuesday, the Center for Climate and Life announced the selection of several new Climate and Life Senior Fellows. Ed Cook was picked for his proposal on “A benchmark northern hemisphere drought atlas for climatic, environmental, and human impact studies.” Joerg Schaefer and Gisela Winckler were tapped for their joint proposal on “Greenland ice sheet stability – higher sea level rise projection and the impact on climate and life.” And IRI’s Andy Robertson was selected for his proposal on “A seamless real-time forecasting system for sub-seasonal weather and climate impacts.” The three proposals, chosen from among 14 submitted by senior investigators across the Lamont Campus and the Center for Climate Systems Research, will be awarded three years of support beginning on 1 July.

    I spent yesterday and today in the Washington, D.C., area. On Thursday the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory celebrated the end of the MESSENGER spacecraft project, and many of the engineers and scientists who had worked on the mission were in attendance. This morning, I was at NASA Headquarters to be interviewed about the MESSENGER mission by Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green for the division’s podcast series. Along with Columbia University lobbyists Meg Thompson and Joel Widder, of Federal Science Partners, I then visited Allen Cutler and Molly McCarthy, majority and minority staffers for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science, to make the case for continued federal investment in research in the geosciences at the National Science Foundation and NASA. This afternoon, I am scheduled to meet with Bill Easterling, NSF’s new Assistant Director for Geosciences, along with Marge Cavanaugh, Deputy Assistant Director for Geosciences.

    In the news this week, Ben Bostick was interviewed by Susan Hellauer on the topic of tropospheric ozone for the Earth Matters column in Nyack News & Views in a story posted Saturday ( On Monday, Temblor quoted Meredith Nettles in an article ( on a magnitude 4.1 earthquake last weekend in western Greenland that apparently triggered a landslide into a fjord; the slide generated a large tsunami that inundated several small settlements. The summer 2017 issue of Columbia Magazine includes a story about the evidence documented by Yael Kiro and Steve Goldstein for strikingly arid periods in the history of the Dead Sea region (

    Whether your work is closer to questions of air quality, tectonic hazards, or drought, may you enjoy the first weekend of summer.