Lamont Weekly Report, September 29, 2017

     A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken last week indicates that 55% of Americans now agree with the statement that climate change has contributed to the severity of the largest recent hurricanes ( The majority who hold that view rises to 67% for adults under the age of 30. Evidently the conclusions of climate scientists are beginning to persuade our fellow citizens, particularly the millennial generation.

    Back on campus, the Geochemistry Division welcomed the return on Monday of Visiting Senior Research Scientist Erik Hauri for his second fall visit in two years. A Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science (, Erik applies isotopic and chemical measurements to a broad range of questions on the origin and evolution of the Earth and Moon and other planetary bodies. A recipient of both the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal and the European Association of Geochemistry’s Houtermans Medal, Erik will be giving the Geodynamics Seminar one week from Monday on the topic of “Petrological and geophysical implications of a higher mantle temperature.” His host at Lamont is Terry Plank.

    The Biology and Paleo Environment Division last week welcomed part-time Staff Associate Xiaoping Feng. Xiaoping is a visiting Ph.D. student from the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where she is specializing in paleoclimatology and organic geochemistry. During her 16-month visit to Lamont, she will work with Billy D’Andrea to analyze sediment cores obtained from lakes in the Hengduan Mountains in southwestern China to develop paleoclimate records sensitive to changes in monsoon dynamics since the Last Glacial Maximum. 

    Lamont’s web site gained a multi-media Kevin Krajick essay Tuesday about Billy’s work with Nick Balascio, Lorelei Curtin, and others on past climate and sea level changes in the Lofoten archipelago off Norway’s northern coast and their impact on Viking settlements in the region ( The site features video footage and about 30 of Kevin’s photographs of the fieldwork, the setting, and the local population.

    Another new addition to our web site this week is a YouTube video on Ben Holtzman’s SeismoDome show (, a video and audio display of seismicity, seismic wave propagation, and the seismic noise field. The video, a product of VICE News and HBO, gives a nice snapshot of Ben’s ever-evolving outreach production, slated for another public airing at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium this fall.

    On Wednesday, I participated in a discussion with the Directors of the Columbia Global Centers on the university’s research programs in climate science and the impacts of climate change. I was part of an Earth Institute group that included Steve Cohen, IRI’s Lisa Goddard, CIESIN’s Bob Chen, and Vijay Modi from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The purpose of the discussion was to explore mechanisms to improve communication between the Global Centers and the Earth Institute and to foster partnerships targeted to address climate-related projects within the regions served by each of the centers.

    On Thursday, I was visited by David Lodge and David Dieterich, the Director and Executive in Residence, respectively, at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University. In preparation for the crafting of the center’s next strategic plan, the two visited a number of unit directors at the Earth Institute to learn more about what they view as a parallel, albeit larger, academic organization.

    Later this morning, I will join representatives of the Lamont Hall Restoration Committee at a presentation by Li/Saltzman Architects on their current ideas for the creation of a conference center and meeting facility on the first floor and renovated offices on the second floor of Lamont Hall. Considerable additional fundraising will be needed to bring this restoration to completion, but it will be interesting to hear creative proposals from experienced professionals on what we hope to accomplish.

    Vicki Ferrini was featured in Science magazine Monday as a “data wrangler” in a story in their Science Careers series ( Mike Steckler and Nano Seeber were quoted in an article on, also on Monday, about a plan advanced by the government of Bangladesh to relocate Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to a recently emerged, uninhabited island in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, an area subject to rapid movement of deltaic sediments and vulnerable to rising sea level and storms ( John Mutter was interviewed for a story Wednesday on Inside Climate News on the challenges facing recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastation of that island by Hurricane Maria ( And John Armbruster and Won-Young Kim were quoted in an article Wednesday on on earthquake hazards in northern New Jersey (

    On Thursday and Friday next week, Lamont’s Climate Center will host a workshop on “Ozone dry deposition: Constraints from multiplatform observations and multi-scale modeling” ( The two-day workshop, to be held in the Monell Auditorium, “aims to facilitate collaboration among the scientific communities that measure and model ozone dry deposition to the terrestrial biosphere and its relevance to atmospheric chemistry, canopy processes, and surface-atmosphere exchange.” Arlene Fiore is serving as local host.               

    Few need reminding that one week from tomorrow will be Lamont’s annual Open House. Photos and videos from prior years ( and good weather forecasts for next weekend suggest that this year’s event should be similarly memorable. Please pass the word to friends and colleagues!

    This afternoon’s Earth Science Colloquium will be given by hydroclimatologist Elfatih Eltahir, the Breene M. Kerr Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT ( Prof. Eltahir will be speaking on “Projections of future regional climate change: Examples from Africa and Asia.” I hope that the projection of your location at 3:30 pm is centered on Monell Auditorium and that you will join me for the lecture.