Lamont Weekly Report, November 15, 2019

    This week was notable for the unseasonably cold temperatures that broke record lows for the date in New York City and hundreds of other locations across much of the country. Notwithstanding this foreshadowing of winter, scientific progress at the Observatory continued.

    Hugh Ducklow learned this week that a geographic feature in Antarctica is to bear his name. The Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (ACAN) of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has recommended the name Ducklow Inlet for a bay “at the northwest part of Charcot Island along western Bellingshausen Sea, just south of Mount Monique about 75 miles west of Desko Mountains and 135 miles west of Douglas Range.” The ACAN citation goes on to read, “Dr. Ducklow served as the Director of the NSF Long Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) at Palmer Station, Antarctica, for 16 years. He is highly accomplished, having made extensive, noteworthy, and exemplary contributions to the advancement of marine biology in Antarctica. Much of Dr. Ducklow’s research and activity includes seasons at Palmer Station and is associated with Charcot Island.” Hugh thus joins a number of other current and former Lamont scientists for whom features in Antarctica or on the ocean floor have been named. To the namesake for Ducklow Inlet, congratulations, Hugh!

    Also this week, Anna Barth learned that she has won a grand prize in the American Geophysical Union’s competition on Data Visualization and Storytelling. Her winning visualization, on patterns of activity at the Lone Star geyser in Yellowstone National Park, will be shown on a hyperwall at the NASA booth in the exhibit hall at the AGU Fall Meeting next month. Anna wrote, “[Please] give a shout out to Ben Holtzman, as this is the second year in a row that a project from his data visualization and sonification class has won this prize.” Kudos to both Anna and Ben!

    Last Friday, the November issue of Lamont’s electronic newsletter was broadly distributed. The issue includes six stories about the Observatory’s science or the Lamont campus, and links to 49 media stories last month that featured the work or commentary of Lamont scientists.

    On Monday, William Hawley and Theresa Sawi set up a telescope on the Lamont campus to offer views of Mercury’s transit of the Sun, an event that won’t recur on Earth until 2032. This event is the first in a series of planned Lamont Star Parties, most of which will offer views of objects in the night sky (before the departure of the 7 pm shuttle to Morningside). The telescope was purchased with funds from the Campus Life Committee.

    Wednesday marked the seventh Lamont Fun Run, with a 5 k course designed by organizers Genevieve Coffey, Chloe Gustafson, and Mike Sandstrom, as well as a shorter course for walkers and joggers. In the 5 k, the top three females by time were Bailey Nordin, Carly Peltier, and Arlene Fiore; the top three males by time were Stephen Cox, Sam Kodama, and William Hawley; and the top three individuals normalized by age and gender were Gilles Guerin, Stephen Cox, and Sam Kodama. The top divisional team – the winners of the coveted Golden Shoe award – consisted of Stephen Cox, Sam Kodama, Toby Koffman, and Roseanne Schwartz from Geochemistry, the division that also fielded the largest number of runners (17). The top three joggers were Lauren Kipp, Yating Shen, and Shujie Wang; and the top three walkers were Lulin Song, Jing Yuan, and Won-Young Kim. Kudos to the top finishers, and thanks to the organizers and all who ran, jogged, walked, or braved the cold to watch and cheer!

    Following the Fun Run Wednesday was the John Diebold Memorial Chili Cook-off, held in the Lamont Café. Organized by the Graduate Student Committee under the leadership of Chloe Gustafson and Lauren Moseley, the cook-off included contests for the best meat chili, best vegetarian chili, best cornbread, and best dessert. In the meat chili category, Colleen Baublitz took first place, and second and third places went to Jeff Turmelle and Ben Bostick. In the veggie chili category, Asher Siebert took first place, followed by the entries from Laura Gruenburg and Helen Habicht. First place for cornbread was a tie between Helen and the team of Lloyd Anderson and Lauren Moseley, with second place going to Sarah Giles. Among desserts, Rya Inman took top honors, followed by Anne-Laure White and Janine Birnbaum. Congratulations to all winners, and thanks to all who contributed to the festivities!

    On Thursday, Brendan Buckley served as part of a panel discussion on “Understanding climate change on the Tibetan Plateau: Environmental conservation research and climate science approaches ”. The event was hosted by Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute and was held on the Morningside Campus.

    Lamont scientists in the news this week included Winslow Hansen, quoted in a CNBC story Saturday on the impact of climate change and land use practices on California wildfires. A Yale Climate Connections story Tuesday on compound extreme climate events quoted both Jane Baldwin and Radley Horton. Stan Jacobs was quoted on ocean-ice interactions in a Scientific American story Wednesday on the vulnerability of ice shelves in Greenland and Antarctica. And Park Williams was quoted in a story yesterday in The Sacramento Bee on the contribution of climate change to recent drought conditions and the consequent severity of wildfires in the region.

    On Wednesday next week, Columbia will host an event in the Risk Mitigation Leadership Forum Series of RenaissanceRe on “Climate change: Response and resilience leadership forum”. Forum themes include flood risk, wildfire risk, severe storms, coupled extremes, and the role of government. Speakers at the forum will include Arlene Fiore, Radley Horton, Chia-Ying Lee, Robert Field from Columbia’s Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Mike Gerrard from the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Darby Jack from the Mailman School, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh from the Business School, and representatives from the insurance industry; city, state, and federal governments; and non-governmental organizations.                                                                                            

    In the meantime, today’s Earth Science Colloquium will feature Lamont’s own Alberto Malinverno. Alberto will be speaking on “Updating the geomagnetic polarity time scale by steadying the global variation of spreading rate.” I hope that you can steady your own activities this afternoon and spread over to Monell to join me in his audience.