Lamont Weekly Report, September 27, 2019

    Last Friday’s Climate Strike N.Y.C. ( drew many participants from Lamont. A Kevin Krajick story Friday ( included photos taken during the march of Daniel Babin, Laura Haynes, Corey Lesk, Kai Morsink, and Adam Sobel, among others.

    The R/V Marcus Langseth has been in Alameda, California, this week for her annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection and scheduled shipyard maintenance. Sean Higgins reports that the ship is slated to begin dry dock work next Monday.

    Sean also passed on the news that the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) aired a new documentary last week on the North Pacific plastic-trash gyre that features Langseth port engineer Marty Klein. Sean wrote, “Marty sailed in July this year with Charles Moore and Raquelle Devine of the Algalita Marine Foundation ( on his second trip out to the gyre after saving up his vacation to sail in his time off. The trip hosted a film crew from KBS, and the voyage marked a 20-year follow-up of surface ‘Manta’ trawling on 12 previously sampled stations, collecting data sets for comparison with the previous 20 year’s work on plastic debris concentrations. The ORV Alguita, a 50-foot aluminum sailing-catamaran research vessel, was home and laboratory for the non-stop, 24-day, 3000-mile cruise. Working around the clock, the crew of three deployed and retrieved trawls, stood watches, and kept the ship running while supporting the Korean film team. Marty said, ‘You start with two gallons of kim chi, then you make do when that runs out, as everybody onboard likes it.’"

    On Monday, Lamont’s annual Excellence in Mentoring Award ceremony was held in Monell. This year, for the first time, mentoring awards were given in two categories, mentoring by a member of the scientific staff, and mentoring by a member of the technical or administrative staff. The scientific mentoring award went to Jerry McManus, and the award for mentoring by a member of the technical or administrative staff went to Jean Hanley. Both received a framed certificate and a cash prize, and their names will be added to a plaque that hangs in the lobby of the Geosciences Building and identifies past mentoring award winners. Mike Kaplan and Park Williams were other finalists in the scientific mentoring category, and Nichole Anest and Naomi Manahan were other finalists in the technical and administrative staff category. Kudos to Jerry and Jean, and congratulations to Mike, Park, Nichole, and Naomi, as well as all of the other outstanding mentors on the Lamont Campus!

    On Wednesday, I attended a meeting of Columbia’s Climate Task Force, an arm of the university’s ongoing capital campaign. Under the theme “Prediction and Adaptation for Extreme Events,” the meeting was moderated by Alex Halliday and included presentations by Radley Horton, Adam Sobel, Park Williams, and Kate Orff from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Lamont Advisory Board members Dan Bennett, Wendy David, Sarah Johnson, and Todd Sandoz have recently joined the Task Force and participated in the meeting. Also attending were Mike Purdy, Meghan Fay, John Palmer, and representatives of Columbia’s Office of Alumni and Development.

    Also on Wednesday, our web site gained a Sarah Fecht story on tests conducted by Lex van Geen’s lab of lead levels in residential drinking water in Newark after the city distributed water filters to residents ( The Lamont measurements generally corroborated test results announced by the city that the filters are mostly – for all but 1–4% of homes using the filters – reducing lead to levels below the 15 ppb limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

    On the occasion Wednesday of the release of a Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate ( by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bill Chaisson posted an interview of Pierre Dutrieux on the effects of warming oceans as well as changes to ocean currents and prevailing surface winds on the future melting of Antarctic ice and consequent sea-level rise (

    On Wednesday, Dorothy Peteet was quoted in a Gizmodo story about an environmental impact statement issued by the Bureau of Land Management on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the fossil fuel industry ( Yesterday, Maureen Raymo answered a question from a reader of Earth Institute blog stories about whether converting to a vegetarian or vegan diet would benefit the environment and climate (

    Yesterday morning, Adam Sobel testified before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee as part of a hearing on “Understanding, Forecasting, and Communicating Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate.” A Marie Aronsohn story about the event includes a video of the full hearing ( The other witnesses were Ann Bostrom from the University of Washington, James Done from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Berrien Moore from the University of Oklahoma, and J. Marshall Shepherd from the University of Georgia.

    Also yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a continuing resolution that will fund the federal government from October 1, the start of the 2020 government fiscal year, through November 21 ( The bill, which had been passed earlier by the House of Representatives, now goes to the White House for the President’s signature. Although 10 of the 12 appropriations bills for full funding of portions of the federal government through fiscal year 2020 have been passed by the House, the Senate has not yet passed any of their spending bills for the coming year.

    Yesterday afternoon, Lamont celebrated the restoration of our Hudson River Field Station with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the end of the Piermont Pier. The ceremony included remarks by Piermont mayor Bruce Tucker, former mayor Chris Sanders, Field Station Director Maureen Raymo, and Lamont’s Director of Educational Field Programs Margie Turrin. Lamont staff and friends and patrons of the Observatory were well represented at the event.

    Lamont today is hosting a visit by representatives from the China National Environmental Monitoring Center and the Center for Environmental Emergency and Heavy Pollution Early Warning at the Hebei Environmental Protection Bureau for a daylong meeting on “Air Pollution over China: Monitoring, Trends, Forecasting, Exposure and Climate Connections.” Presenters from Lamont and elsewhere across Columbia include Steve Chillrud, Arlene Fiore, Art Lerner-Lam, Dan Westervelt, Beizhan Yan, Bob Chen from CIESIN, Faye McNeill from the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Ruth DeFries from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology.

    This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium features our own Margie Turrin. Her seminar will be on “Communication science: What we say and what they hear.” I hope that you will join me to hear what she has to say.