Lamont Weekly Report, November 11, 2016

     If U.S. Presidential elections could be assigned earthquake magnitudes, this week’s election was at least a 9.5. Media articles are beginning to address the question of how federal support for scientific research may fare under a Trump administration, and Robin Bell was quoted in one such story ( on Wednesday. The topic will be one that all of us at Lamont will follow closely over the next several months.

     The European Geosciences Union this week announced the winners of its medals and awards for 2017 ( Lamont Postdoctoral Fellow Francesco Muschitiello will receive the 2017 Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award from EGU’s Climate: Past, Present & Future Division. And Adjunct Senior Scientist Denis-Didier Rousseau will receive the 2017 Hans Oeschger Medal, awarded by the same division. On hearing the news, Denis wrote, “I would like to thank you and the Lamont family for the strong support and collaborations since my first stay as a visiting scientist in 1990-1992 and thereafter through my Adjunct position. So let me share this award with my colleagues at LDEO as I measure the tremendous impact LDEO had and still has on my scientific career.” Francesco and Denis will be honored next April at the EGU’s 2017 General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. Congratulations to both!

     On Monday afternoon, Steve Cohen and the Earth Institute’s Funding Initiatives group – including Casey Supple, Greg Fienhold, Barbara Gombach, Anna Jump, and Elizabeth McNiff – visited Lamont to catch up on several of the Observatory’s strategic initiatives. Jim Gaherty, Heather Savage, Donna Shillington, and Felix Waldhauser summarized the Anticipating Earthquakes initiative; Robin Bell gave an overview of Changing Ice, Changing Coastlines; and Ryan Abernathey and Tim Crone described recent progress on the Real-Time Earth initiative. Kathy Callahan, Art Lerner-Lam, Farhana Mather, and Stacey Vassallo joined me for the discussions.

     Later that afternoon, Lamont hosted a celebration for 11 individuals who retired from their Observatory positions over the past year, after having collectively contributed more than three centuries of service to Lamont. Each honoree was celebrated with remarks by a colleague, and those celebrants in attendance were given an opportunity to offer a response. Vicky Nazario introduced Ginny Tavarone; Pat O’Reilly spoke about Pat Temple and Steve Weinstein; Peter Schlosser and Terry Plank summarized the work of Bill Smethie and Dave Walker, respectively; Sean Higgins spoke to the contributions of Steve Ackerson, Carlos Gutierrez, and Jim O’Loughlin to Lamont’s marine operations; Roger Buck described the career of Jim Cochran; Arnold Gordon lauded Mark Cane; and Mike Steckler recounted the career of Nano Seeber. To all of our 11 colleagues who marked a change in status over the past year, thank you for all that you’ve done for Lamont!

     Also on Monday, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published online a story on which Kevin Uno was a coauthor reporting on the results of radiocarbon dating of elephant ivory from large ivory seizures between 2002 and 2014. Such dating is highly precise because of the decline in atmospheric 14C since the cessation of above-ground testing of nuclear weapons. The group, led by Thure Cerling at the University of Utah, found that most ivory had been obtained from animals that died less than three years before the ivory was confiscated, indicating that the ivory came from elephants killed well after a 1989 treaty that made international trade in ivory illegal. A Kevin Krajick story on the article can be found on our web site (, and there have been several stories in the media ( on the paper’s findings.

     On Wednesday, the Graduate Student Committee – Weston Anderson, Lorelei Curtin, and Dan Sousa – hosted the 2016 John Diebold Memorial Chili Cookoff, named for the marine scientist and chili connoisseur who made his career at Lamont and on our ships ( Winners were declared in four categories: Chandranath Basak for the best meat chili, Weston Anderson for the best vegetarian chili, Hannah Rabinowitz for the best cornbread, and Pinki Mondal for the best dessert.

     Margie Turrin, now in Antarctica with the Polar Geophysics Group to study the structure and temporal changes in Antarctic ice shelves with airborne remote sensing, has begun a research blog ( Her entry from Sunday focused on the Getz ice shelf; an entry yesterday treats Pine Island Glacier. Both are lavishly illustrated with Margie’s photos taken from the air. Surveys of both regions are supported by the NASA IceBridge project, the Lamont component of which has been led by Jim Cochran and Kirsty Tinto.

     The Orangetown Daily Voice this week ran a story on the Rockland Planning Land Use with Students (RPLUS) project, a land-use planning program for students at nine Rockland County high schools hosted by Lamont, Keep Rockland Beautiful, and the Rockland Conservation and Service Corps ( The program begins with classroom workshops and culminates in a symposium at the HNA Palisades Center in March. Support for the program comes from the SUEZ North America Foundation, the Old York Foundation, People’s United Community Foundation, and the Rockland Municipal Planning Federation.

     This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by ecologist and former Marie Tharp Fellow Kathleen Weathers, a Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies  Kathy will be speaking on “Ecological puzzles and a passion for lakes: How cyanobacteria, sensors, and cyberinfrastructure helped launch scientists and citizens into a 21st century experiment.” I hope to see you there.