Lamont Weekly Report, March 2, 2018

    The Earth itself was once again in the news this week, beginning with unusually warm temperatures in the high Arctic on Saturday, an event that prompted a story on Vox Media ( quoting Marco Tedesco. Two days later, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Papua New Guinea involved shallow thrust-faulting and ground motion that induced multiple landslides (

    The Ocean and Climate Physics Division this week welcomed the arrival of Visiting Research Scientist Gwangyong Choi. Dr. Choi, an Associate Professor of Geography Education (Climatology) and Vice Dean for the College of Education at Jeju National University in the Republic of Korea, is spending his sabbatical year at Lamont. Prof. Choi holds a 2007 Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers University, and his research deals with extreme climate events at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, as well as the impacts of changes in such events on human society and ecosystems. His recent projects include studies of changes in global climate systems associated with mega-heat waves and of the influence of changes in Arctic climate (e.g., circumpolar vortex and northern hemisphere snow cover) on extreme climate events in mid-latitude regions. Prof. Choi’s Lamont host is Mingfang Ting.

    Over the last two weeks there has been a flurry of e-mail traffic across the Lamont community, understandable after the Valentine’s Day tragedy in Parkland, Florida, over campus security. Stephen Cox reminded everyone on Monday that Lamont follows Columbia University policies ( and New York State law prohibiting unauthorized firearms on campus. On Wednesday, Pat O’Reilly sent out a broadcast directing everyone to the resources in Lamont’s Security Office (, including a video from the City of Houston Office of Public Safety and Department of Homeland Security on safety measures and recommended actions should you find yourself in an active shooter situation. I endorse Pat’s recommendation that everyone familiarize yourself with this video.

    On Tuesday, our web site gained a Sarah Fecht story on Marco Tedesco’s X-Snow Project (, a citizen science effort to characterize spatial variations in snowflake size and the depth and reflectance of snow deposits from ground measurements, with a geographic focus on the Catskills ( The project is being conducted in partnership with public radio station WNYC (

   Also on Tuesday, I met with Lamont’s Associate Directors and Division Administrators to hear summaries of the financial health of each division and early estimates of federal and private grant income for the coming fiscal year. Attending the meeting were Nina Aguilar, Bonnie Bonkowski, Roger Buck, Victoria Carrasco, Rosanne D’Arrigo, Jean Economos, Jim Gaherty, Dave Goldberg, Steve Goldstein, Sean Higgins, Karen Lai, Art Lerner-Lam, Jean Leote, Lori McCaleb, Edie Miller, Vicky Nazario, Linette Sandoval-Rzepka, Kim Schermerhorn, Moanna St. Clair, June Tallon, Mingfang Ting, and Sandra Tiwari. Projected grant revenues for the coming year still have considerable uncertainty, so much work remains to be done before a scheduled budget presentation­ to Columbia University administration in April.

    Last night, I was at the de Young Museum in San Francisco for a Columbia University development event on the Columbia Commitment to climate response and Columbia World Projects. Speakers included Radley Horton, Adam Sobel, IRI’s Lisa Goddard, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy Director Alissa Park, Senior Researcher for Columbia World Projects Avril Haines, Columbia President Lee Bollinger, and Columbia Trustees Wanda Holland Greene, Jonathan Schiller, and Claire Shipman. Others in attendance from Lamont were Susan Holgate, Farhana Mather, and Ashley Sheed.

    A Scientific American article late last week on a report that recent increases in snowfall in East Antarctica may offset ice mass losses in West Antarctica (the actual answer is much more nuanced) featured comments by Indrani Das, Anders Levermann, and the ubiquitous Marco Tedesco ( On Saturday, Mike Steckler added an entry to his blog from Bangladesh on the final stages of installation of a temporary network of seismic and geodetic instruments across the landward extension of the Sumatra subduction zone beneath the thick sediments of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta And tomorrow, Margie Turrin will be describing Lamont research at a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) Expo at Suffern High School (

    Under the leadership of Kuheli Dutt, our Assistant Director for Academic Affairs and Diversity, March has been designated Harassment Awareness Month at Lamont, and a number of activities have been scheduled on this timely and critical topic. Next Monday, there will be a lunchtime discussion in the Comer Seminar Room on Gender Bias in the Geosciences. Two weeks later, sessions are planned on Bias Training and LGBTQ Awareness. The following week will feature a session on Bystander Intervention and a lunchtime discussion on Harassment in the Field.

    The kickoff event for Harassment Awareness Month is today: Lamont’s annual Diversity Seminar will be given by Michael Kimmel, the SUNY Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University ( Kuheli writes, “Prof. Kimmel, who was [called] by The Guardian ‘perhaps the world’s most prominent male feminist,’ has lectured on gender issues at more than 300 colleges, universities, and high schools...Among his books are Manhood in America, Angry White Men, The Politics of Manhood, The Gendered Society, and Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. With funding from the MacArthur Foundation, he founded the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook in 2013.” Prof. Kimmel’s lecture, entitled “Engaging men in gender equality,” will be given at 3 pm (rather than the usual Colloquium time slot) in Monell Auditorium. I hope that at least as many men as women will be in his audience.