Lamont Weekly Report, October 22, 2021

    Hello Friends,  It was so great to see how many people contributed to support Lamont science and scientists on Columbia University’s Giving Day!  Thanks to the generosity of Ed Botwinick and Vicki Brown, long-time supporters and friends of LDEO, Lamont had a $100,000 challenge match that was met and surpassed.  I am delighted to share that on October 20, 2021, LDEO received 163 gifts totaling $235,341. We are so deeply grateful to all for this support of Lamont’s mission and research.  In addition to donations, LDEO will win challenge funds for their spot on the leaderboard and $2,000 from this great throwback tweet by Lamont alumna Christa Farmer.  Christa thank you!  A special thanks to the Development Team who led the Giving Day efforts, as well as to all the members of our community who contributed or participated in the day’s activities.  

    Within the Directorate, we continue to strive to use our resources wisely for maximum impact, appreciating that sometimes the biggest impact can come from a free cookie and cup of coffee with colleagues.  So great that we can still be outside with nibbles enjoying this beautiful weather.  On a grander scale, we are nearing a critical milestone in the building of a new Observatory website.  Today I got a presentation of the new site and it will be awesome—far more versatile and informative, not to mention better organized, than what we have now.  A soft launch is planned for December and more info will be sent in the coming weeks.  There will be a last-minute scramble to get as much content migrated as possible, with the weak link being the content that needs input from individual scientists.  A big thanks goes to the IT and Comms teams at EI and LDEO, and especially Tara Spinelli for her Herculean efforts in making this dream become a reality. 

    The news from the federal agencies in Washington continues to be good.  Our Federal Science Partners, Joel Widder and Meg Thompson, agreed to come give a Town Hall presentation to our scientists during early November.  They plan to give an overview of the opportunities they see evolving as the federal budget process continues to trundle forward.  Keep an eye out for an email to save the date.   

    Other efforts moving forward include the buildout of the Office of Research in the Climate School.  Of course, this office is there to help us all.  Marley Bauce, formerly of the EVPR Office, is the new Director of this office and he is working hard to hire needed staff and build out new programs, including Climate School seed funding programs.  I have invited Marley to also give a town hall presentation in a few weeks, which he has enthusiastically agreed to do.  This is a great time to be connecting our LDEO strategic plan with ambitious proposals, and I am thrilled to hear that many groups are engaging in conversations around these topics.  I also want to thank Marley for his presentation at ExCom today and for the incredibly useful follow-up discussion on how we move forward with the implementation of the Lamont Strategic Vision Plan. 

    The last bit of news this week concerns the University Senate Plenary Meeting which was held earlier today.  They met to consider a resolution to amend the University statutes to allow the formation of a Faculty for the new Columbia Climate School.  I am happy to report that the resolution passed resoundingly.  This is an historic moment in the history of the University—a critical step in the formation of a new school focused on climate, Earth, and society—an action that will reverberate through the Lamont campus for decades to come.  Thank you especially to our Lamont representatives on the Senate, Billy D’Andrea, Marco Tedesco, and Sonya Dyhrman.  As we continue to move forward with the establishment of the Columbia Climate School, may it bring many wonderful and new opportunities to Lamont, IRI, CIESIN, and DEES as we work together to address the twin challenges of global warming and global sustainability. 

    In closing, enjoy this lovely weather and have a peaceful weekend.  I highly recommend reading the last blog post below about DEES Prof. Renata Wenzcovitch’s recent paper in Nature….it is pretty amazing stuff.   

    Best, Mo 








Smithsonian Magazine 

October 19, 2021 

In 2020, Rachel Lupien, a postdoctoral research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, used chemical signatures in plant leaf waxes preserved in the sediments of the Turkana Basin to identify a sudden shift in climate—from arid to humid and rainy—that roughly coincides with the rise of this technology. 



October 15, 2021 

By Lamont scientists Mukund Rao and Ben Cook. 



October 15, 2021 

Features Lamont scientists Jason Smerdon and Ben Cook. 



 October 15, 2021 

By EI professor John Mutter. 


Nature World News 

October 15, 2021 

Artic Study by Robert Newton, Senior Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth   Observatory 


Live Science

October 14, 2021 

"Unfortunately, this is a massive experiment we're doing," study co-author Robert Newton, a senior research scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a statement. "If the year-round ice goes away, entire ice-dependent ecosystems will collapse, and something new will begin." 

October 14, 2021


The Science Times 

 October 13, 2021 




Sharelle Pampo Copple is a recent alumna of the Sustainability Science (SUSC) program (‘21). “Sharelle has witnessed the effects of coral bleaching firsthand. This experience is what initially sparked her passion for climate change and sustainability.” 


“After spending most of her childhood in New Delhi, India — one of the most polluted cities in the world — air pollution had become a fact of life for Garima Raheja.” 


“Scientists have for the first time documented areas in the deep earth where materials have undergone changes on a subatomic level. There, crushing pressures apparently are bringing about a long hypothesized but until now unproven quantum phase transition called a spin crossover, which affects the magnetic state of a key deep-earth mineral.”