Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2022 and Beyond
Thumbnail descriptions of field projects on land, at sea and in the air, on every continent and every ocean.
[This list was last updated March 6, 2023]
Researchers with the Columbia Climate School and the Earth Institute are studying the dynamics of the planet on every continent and every ocean, from big cities to the poles. Projects range from basic geology to natural hazards, pollution, the climate system, land-mine detection, sustainable technologies and more. Below, a list of field projects. Dependent on logistics and safety factors, journalists may be able to join expeditions or otherwise cover.
Projects are listed in rough chronological order, in three sections: NEW YORK CITY/U.S. NORTHEAST; WIDER UNITED STATES; and INTERNATIONAL. There is also a list of tentative projects at the end. Unless otherwise stated, projects originate with our Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. This list will be kept updated, so check back periodically. Contact: senior science editor Kevin Krajick: [email protected], 212-854-9729.
NEW YORK CITY/U.S. NORTHEAST
CLIMATE CHANGE AND PRESERVING NEW YORK’S WATER SUPPLY| Helping land owners create management plans | ONGOING
New York City collects and transports surface water from 2,000 square miles of land in three upstate watersheds—areas long vulnerable to pollution, and now, the effects of climate change. The Columbia-led Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project will assist the New York City Watershed Agricultural Council to come up with best management practices to prevent polluting runoff from farmers within the watersheds in the face of changing precipitation patterns and other climatic shifts. The project is designed to both protect the water supply and support the continuing viability of farming in the affected areas. Article on the project
WILD CITY | Surveys of urban wildlife, New York City and suburbs | April, June, July, October 2022, January 2023 and ongoing
Like many cities, New York is home to wild animals including foxes, raccoons and skunks, along with recent additions such as coyotes and river otters. With expanding green spaces, populations are probably growing, but no overall study has ever been done. A new first-of-its-kind project is censusing these creatures and investigating patterns of movement and dispersal in parks, cemeteries, community gardens and other areas. Headed by epidemiologist Maria Diuk-Wasser and ecologist Sara Kross, part of the project is deploying 40 camera traps along a 50-kilometer transect in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island’s Nassau County for four 30-day stints. A subset will provide intensive camera surveillance and analyses of overabundant raccoons in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery. Another team is physically trapping animals along the transect to tag some with GPS monitors to see where they go, and study them for presence of diseases. Efforts will soon expand into bird counts, and sampling of mosquitoes and ticks. Part of the overall aim is to minimize disease spread and other adverse animal-human interactions. Story on the project
NYC’S ANCIENT TREES | Sampling timbers from old buildings | ONGOING
Many New York City structures built in the 19th and early 20th centuries are framed with massive timbers—in many cases, now the sole remnants of eastern old-growth forests that were erased to help create the metropolis. Tree-ring scientists Caroline Leland and Mukund Palat Rao are part of a team salvaging these rare artifacts from numerous building demolitions that occur every year. Many contain tree rings that record past climate and forest history available nowhere else. Analysis of already-collected specimens is ongoing, and the scientists are working closely with a used timber dealer to prospect new demolition sites. Story on the project
BALANCED BOULDERS | Geological fieldwork to detect past earthquakes | Harriman State Park, Sloatsburg, N.Y. | SUMMER 2022
Sizable earthquakes are uncommon in the U.S. Northeast, but a few are known to have occurred since the 1600s—and the risk is significant, given dense population and infrastructure. To develop a finer estimate of their recurrence extending into prehistoric time, seismologist William Menke and colleagues will document the stability of standing stones and precariously perched boulders in the stony landscape of exurban Harriman State Park. Photography and advanced image-processing technology should enable them to assess how past shaking has affected such features. Separate analyses will constrain the times of when the stones were deposited by Ice Age glaciers. Story on the project | Earthquake Risk to NY Greater Than Thought
LYME THREAT | Studies of human/tick contacts, Staten Island | SUMMER 2022
In the first such effort in an urban green space, researchers are carrying out a multidisciplinary project to map where and how residents of Staten Island are being exposed to Lyme disease–carrying ticks, and how to best prevent infections. Researchers are tracking movements of tick-carrying deer via radio tags; surveying parks and nearby private yards for ticks; and characterizing which landscape features encourage tick presence. Citizen volunteers are using a smartphone app to track their own movements. Led by epidemiologist Maria Diuk-Wasser and Earth Institute postdoc Maria del Pilar Fernandez. Project webpages
SEASIDE METHUSELAHS | Tree-ring sampling, coastal NY/NJ and further south | MAY-NOVEMBER 2022
Only a few stands of old-growth forest have survived along the highly developed U.S. eastern coast, and even these are under threat from rising seas and powerful storms whipped by climate change. Paleoclimatologist Nicole Davi is sampling rings from these trees, some dating to the early 1800s, to see if they have recorded past events including large storms that battered them with wind and salt water. The project is aimed at teasing out the weather history of the region, and helping forecast the future. Past work has taken place at New Jersey’s Sandy Hook peninsula, Fire Island, and Montauk. This year, Davi and colleague Laia Andreu Hayles want to look further south along the Jersey shore at Cattus Island and Lighthouse Center; they are also looking into sites in North Carolina. Story and slideshow on Sandy Hook’s forest
GOTHAM GREENHOUSE | Tracking New York’s emissions by land and air | MAY-AUGUST 2023 AND ONGOING
To better understand the exact sources of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, atmospheric scientist Roisin Commane and colleagues are measuring emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other substances on hyper-local scales in and around New York City. On the ground, they will sample air by driving many miles in a van containing a mobile lab. Researchers on foot will also sample air and water. In the air, aircraft borrowed from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will fly a total of 150 hour over both high- and low-altitude transects to continuously sample air over wide swaths of New York and its suburbs. Article on the portable lab | Article on the NYC project | Air quality during the pandemic
SEWAGE FLOW | Water, sediment sampling, Hudson River |ONGOING
In cooperation with the environmental group Riverkeeper, a team led by biologist Andrew Juhl is mapping the sources and fates of sewage in the Hudson River with monthly water sampling by boat and from the shore. Water quality has improved in recent decades, but human waste still sweeps in during heavy rains and may persist in sediments. Tributaries with particular problems include outfalls at Kingston, Orangetown, New York City’s Newtown Creek, and the Sparkill, Roundout and Esopus creeks. The Riverkeeper project | Article on bacteria in bottom sludge
UNDER PRESSURE |Water sampling, Long Island Sound | SUMMER 2022
Oceanographer Joaquim Goes and colleagues are investigating the environmental health of the 1,300-square-mile Long Island Sound. Under intense pressure from surrounding populous areas, it is often stressed by excess nutrients, algal blooms and low oxygen levels. Scientists and students will collect and analyze water samples from rivers, coastal marshes and the Sound’s waters, and collate these with satellite images, to help agencies better manage the area. Article on the project
Paleoecologist Dorothy Peteet studies the changing environment of the U.S. East Coast both in real time and extending back more than 10,000 years to the end of the last ice age. Analyzing cores of sediment as deep as 25 feet, drilled from lake bottoms, marshes and bogs, she is plotting shifting climate, sea levels, fire histories and more. This year she will take part in a large-scale NASA-sponsored project to understand how much carbon is stored in coastal marshlands, and how much is being washed away and put back into the air through ongoing sea-level rise. Sites include the marsh adjoining the Hudson River’s Iona Island in Rockland County; the extensive marshlands of the Bronx’s Pelham Bay; and Cheesequake Marsh in coastal New Jersey. In a separate project, she will extract deep cores from a bog adjoining Budd Lake in northern New Jersey to study local conditions at the end of the last ice age, and core sediments from behind a dam at Bard College in Tivoli, N.Y. Article on Peteet’s work
TINY PLASTICS | Sampling for microplastics, studies of organisms in New York area waters| SUMMER 2022 and ONGOING
Small bits of discarded plastics from numerous sources are entering New York area waters in vast quantities. Using newly developed technology, oceanographer Joaquim Goes and geochemists Beizhan Yan have been sampling waters to map their abundance. Activity this summer remains to be determined; it may focus on water collection from beaches. At the same time, a local high-school teacher and her students have been using Lamont labs to study local fish and other organisms for the presence of absorbed plastics; they have found large amounts of the stuff inside many creatures. Article on the project / Earth Institute article on microbeads
WATERSHED MOMENT | Studies of climate and access to clean water, Catskill Mountains and beyond | MAY, JULY, SEPT-NOV 2022
The New York/New Jersey watershed, comprising the region that drains into New York harbor, includes wide swaths of the Catskill Mountains, whose reservoirs serve 9 million people. As part of a wider investigation of the socio-economic factors that expose some populations to poor drinking water, paleoclimatologist William D’Andrea will take cores from lakes, ponds and bogs in the Catskills to study how past climate changes may have affected water flow over thousands of years. Concurrently, dendrochronologist Nicole Davi will take cores from old trees to study climate swings in greater detail over the past hundreds of years. Done in cooperation with a multidisciplinary team at New Jersey’s William Paterson College.
ICE, EARTHLY AND EXTRATERRESTRIAL| High-pressure lab experiments, Palisades, N.Y. and New York City | ONGOING
Lamont geophysicists Christine McCarthy and Rob Skarbek study conditions under and in Earth’s glaciers, and the subsurfaces of other planetary bodies including our solar system’s icy moons. In one set of experiments, McCarthy and team are testing the durability of fiber-optic tethers being designed to deliver data from landing craft that one day may burrow deep into Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. In another, they are recreating the conditions at the rocky beds of glaciers, to understand how glaciers move and how climate change may affect them. McCarthy on her background and the physics of ice | McCarthy’s TED-style talk on icy moons
TURNING CO2 TO STONE| High-pressure lab experiments, Palisades, N.Y.| ONGOING
Geophysicists Catalina Roas-Sanchez and Jacob Tielke are performing high-pressure, high-temperature experiments as part of a project to inject excess CO2 underground and turn it into stone. These experiments are related to work in Oman by geologist Peter Kelemen (below) that has documented natural processes that could be harnessed and greatly sped up. Injecting CO2-rich liquid into samples of peridotite rock, the researchers are trying to nail down the ideal combination of temperature and pressure that will result in the fastest possible sequestration of carbon. Video, photo essay, story on the Oman project | Story on the experiments
DIARY OF A TREE | Real-time forest monitoring, Hudson Valley | ONGOING
Biologist Kevin Griffin has assembled a network of advanced instruments in the New York suburbs to monitor the daily physiological functions of trees, and transmit the data in real time back to the lab. He has some 60 trees wired at various sites in the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island. The instruments are revealing how trees respond to daily weather shifts, and suggest how they may respond in the long run to changing climate. In a related project, Griffin and have a live rooftop webcam atop a building at suburban Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory that takes a picture of the area canopy picture every 15 minutes—the newest addition to a global network. The project is aimed at assessing how seasonal rhythms of trees and vegetation are responding to climate change. The forest here appears to be turning colors later in the season; and long term, species composition may change. The webcam is viewable in real time. Article on the webcam |Camera livestream|Earth Institute article on the research |New Yorker article
TELLTALE MUD | Studies of Hudson River sediments, Piermont, N.Y. |ONGOING
Foraminifera are tiny water-dwelling organisms whose shells drop to the bottom when they die and build up over time; they are often collected in ocean-bottom cores and used to reconstruct ancient climates. Environmental scientists Logan Brenner and Laura Haynes are putting them to a different use as they study foram-containing cores taken from a riverside field station for their possible uses in monitoring pollution, salinity and other qualities of the Hudson River estuary. Undergraduates from Barnard and Vassar colleges are participating in the project. Hudson River Field Station site
POISONS LURKING | Lead testing, Brooklyn N.Y. and Newark, N.J. | ONGOING
Lead has long been banned in paint, gasoline and other common products, but still lurks in urban soils, where people, especially children, can absorb it. Geochemist Alexander van Geen and colleagues are using a fast-results test kit to test backyards, gardens and parkland around the former site of a smelter in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A related project is working with a community organization to test homes in Newark, N.J. Others involved: environmental scientist Brian Mailloux, and economists Radhika Iyengar and Brendan O’Flaherty. Article on testing in Brooklyn
CLIMATE JUSTICE | Coastal resilience studies with community groups, New York/New Jersey metro area | ONGOING
By 2050, sea levels around New York may rise by as much as 21 inches over 2000 levels, and storm surges and flash flooding will almost certainly increase—and those problems will especially affect low-income communities, which often cluster in low-lying areas. The new Resilient Coastal Communities Project aims to support expanded community engagement in public planning and scientific research for solutions such as sea walls, street-level green spaces and wetland restoration. Researchers are working with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to develop resilience plans. A project of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development. Leaders: environmental attorney and educator Paul Gallay and international development expert Jacqueline Klopp. Resilient Coastal Communities Project web pages | Story on the project
RESURRECTED SPRINGS | Studies of 1800s spas, Northeast states | FALL 2022
Many commercial warm springs popular in the 19th century have been left to decay or been demolished; locations of some have been lost. Working with local historians, geologists Dallas Abbott and Bill Menke are searching out sites in New England and New York state to study subterranean conditions, and how they may be evolving. They will compare century-old temperature readings with new ones to judge whether possible subtle rises could indicate if climate change has affected underground waters.
WIDER UNITED STATES
TRIASSIC TRIP | Geologic mapping, fossil hunting, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia | JUNE 2022 and ONGOING
The 200-million-year-old Gettysburg sedimentary formation, spanning parts of southern Pennsylvania and neighboring Maryland, could yield key insights into natural planetary climate cycles and the evolution of dinosaurs, but it has been only roughly mapped. Geologist Paul Olsen and colleagues are re-examining it, using remote sensing, paleomagnetism and old-fashioned foot travel. The basin formed at a hinge point in the earth’s history, when mass extinctions took place, and dinosaurs began to dominate. Olsen will continue on to the even older fossil-rich Taylorsville Basin of Maryland/Virginia to prospect for remains of ancient reptiles and, he hopes, dinosaurs (not yet found in this area). Planetary cycles’ effects on Earth’s climate
MICROBE HOTHOUSE| Geologic fieldwork, U.S. Southwest | May 15-19, 2022
Scientists have come to understand that the subsurface is a vibrant home for microbes, but little is known about this environment and its evolution. Geochemist Stephen Cox and a student will join a new effort to study the evolution of the deep biosphere in the U.S. Southwest. They will sample the apparent remains of 30-35 million year-old hydrothermal pipes from the Navajo sandstone, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. Later lab analysis should shed light on the fluids that once moved through these pipes, and likely nourished ancient subsurface life. Overall project is led by the University of Arizona. Story on the project
EXPLOSIVE POTENTIAL | Using drones to find land mines, Stillwater, Okla. | JUNE 6-17, 2022
More than a dozen countries are sown with some 100 million land mines, which kill thousands of civilians every year during conflicts, and long after, because finding and defusing mines is slow, expensive and dangerous. A team co-led by grad student Jasper Baur is testing new ways to quickly and cheaply find them using drones and artificial intelligence. Drones can carry newly miniaturized geophysical instruments that, with help from AI, zero in on mines’ thermal or visual signatures. At an experimental range containing real but defused devices, Baur and colleagues will hone their technology. One target: the toy-like but deadly Russian PFM-1 mine, which Russia is now scattering across Ukraine. In collaboration with Oklahoma State University’s Global Explosive Hazard Mitigation project. Story on the project | Global Explosive Hazard Mitigation | Explosives in Ukraine
ALGAE AND CLIMATE CHANGE | Community-run microbial observatory, northwest Alaska | ONGOING
Scientists working in areas inhabited by Indigenous peoples often fail to incorporate local knowledge. A new project led by biological oceanographer Ajit Subramaniam aims to change this paradigm in the coastal Chukchi Sea community of Kotzebue. Here, warming has led to declines in sea ice and thawing of permafrost. As a result, blooms of cyanobacteria that could harm ecosystems and humans’ food supplies are becoming common. Kotzebue citizens, who helped design the program, sample waters regularly by boat and autonomous underwater vehicles to better understand the changes and their implications. The program may serve as a template for projects in other indigenous areas. Article on previous Kotzebue work
CHANGING TUNDRA |Arctic vegetation studies| Northern Alaska |JULY-AUG 2022
The Toolik Lake research station, on Alaska’s North Slope, has been the site of continuous ecological research for 45 years, part of a worldwide network aimed at understanding long-term cycles and changes in nature. Principal investigator at Toolik is plant physiologist Kevin Griffin. Along with ecologists Duncan Menge and Shahid Naeem, he will spend part of July on several projects aimed at studying plants and permafrost. In August, atmospheric scientist Roisin Commane will study carbon fluxes among mosses and fungi. Much other terrestrial and aquatic work will be carried out by researchers from other institutions. Toolik Field Station website
FROM SINK TO SOURCE | Measuring natural greenhouse-gas emissions, southwest Alaska | SUMMER 2022
The Arctic has long stored vast amounts of carbon in soil and permafrost—twice as much as in the atmosphere. But rapid thawing of the ground has reversed the equation; microorganisms appear to be releasing stored CO2 and methane back to the air. Grad student Sarah Ludwig and colleagues are measuring the flux in the Yukon-Kuskowim river delta of southwest Alaska with instruments on the ground and in the air. The planned result is an improved map of what is happening at the atmospheric interfaces of tundra, wetlands and small ponds. Project web page
BOLT FROM THE BLUE | Studying human influence on lightning | Houston, Texas area | JUNE-SEPT 2022
Houston and its suburbs emit huge amounts of aerosol pollution from oil refineries, ships and the city itself. It also suffers frequent violent thunderstorms. Do aerosols play a role in generating this weather? Meteorologist Marcus Van Lier-Walqui of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies is part of a team studying this question. He will forecast and analyze lightning via specialized ground-based instruments. The team will also use ground radar, tethered balloons, various types of drones and a C-130 aircraft to sample air and study the development of updrafts, downdrafts, clouds and other phenomena that could be affected by aerosols. Project science plan
TEAM VOLE | Small-mammal studies, northern Alaska | JULY 2022
Researchers have been studying the effects of warming climate on tundra plants for nearly three decades, but little is known about the small animals that eat them, and their role in tundra ecosystems. Plant physiologist Kevin Griffin and ecologist Natalie Boelman are studying rodents at plots near Nome, Alaska; the northern foothills of Alaska’s Brooks Range; the southerly Seward Peninsula; and the northwestern coastal village of Barrow. The project, now in its last of five years, aims to project trends in small-mammal populations and plant growth over the next 50 to 100 years. Story, video and slideshow on related tree line project | Tundra ecology website
SOUNDS OF A CHANGING ARCTIC | Bioacoustic/camera wildlife studies, Alaska/Yukon | SUMMERS THRU 2024
Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could eventually be exposed to fossil fuel development. With this in mind, ecologist Natalie Boelman and colleagues are assessing the potential effects of human intrusion on wildlife in such areas, from caribou to birds. Using bioacoustic sensors and camera traps at 90 locations, they are comparing three areas: Alaska’s heavily industrialized Prudhoe Bay; the Wildlife Refuge; and Canada’s protected Ivvavik National Park. Acoustic sensors pick up everything from bird calls to mosquitoes buzzing, along with human noise. Artificial intelligence will combine the sounds with camera images to analyze the abundance and activities of animals, and their reactions to disturbance. Boelman hopes to recruit volunteers to help count animals in the camera images.
ANCIENT SEAWATER VS. MODERN | Collection and culture of plankton, Santa Catalina Island, Calif. | JULY-AUG 2022 and 2023
Oceanographer Bärbel Hönisch has shown that fast-increasing CO2 in the oceans is causing rapid changes with little past precedent. Her knowledge of past conditions is based in part on comparisons between shell-building plankton recovered from ancient sediments and their modern cousins—but there are some uncertainties. To better resolve paleoclimate records, Hönisch and colleagues will conduct scuba dives and net drags to collect modern plankton. To duplicate ancient seawater qualities, they will culture the plankton under varying chemical and temperature conditions at a lab on the island, and study the effects. Humans Are Outpacing Ancient Volcanoes as a Carbon Source | Modern Ocean Acidification Is Exceeding Ancient Upheaval
TROPICAL TREES, STORMS AND CLIMATE | Forest surveys, Puerto Rico | ONGOING
Beyond destroying infrastructure and killing people, Hurricane Maria killed or severely damaged a quarter of Puerto Rico’s big trees. Forest ecologist Maria Uriarte and colleagues are working throughout the island to assess the damage and outlook for forests. In the long term, they aim to project how global warming and resulting more intense storms could affect the makeup of forests across the tropics and subtropics. Much of the work focuses on Luquillo Experimental Forest, near San Juan, where the researchers are censusing trees as part of a decades-long study, and carrying out work on experimental plots. Story, video, slideshow on Uriarte’s work
ANCIENT ROCKS, MODERN PURPOSE | Deep coring and groundwater studies, Navajo Nation and southwest Utah | Fall 2022, spring 2023
An interdisciplinary team will carry out a rare combination of research into ancient rocks and modern pollution as it drills a series of deep cores from the 200-million-year-old Chinle formation. These spectacularly colored desert rocks formed at the juncture of the Triassic and Jurassic periods, when mass extinctions swept the earth and dinosaurs began to rise. Scientists want to understand how climate changes may have contributed, and these cores could be key. At the same time, there is a more modern disaster: massive groundwater contamination from uranium and metals mining, and extraction of oil, gas and coal. The boreholes should provide information on how manmade contaminants and natural ones like arsenic interact with local geology and move around. They will also serve as testing sites for new technologies to filter out poisons. Scientists and Navajo students will reconnoiter sites this fall; drilling may begin in spring 2023. Project co-led by geologist Paul Olsen in collaboration with Navajo Technical University. Petrified National Park drilling
UNDERGROUND POISON | Cleansing wells in tribal lands, North and South Dakota | ONGOING 2022-2027
U.S. tribal lands in the Dakotas contain more than 15,000 hazardous waste sites and 7,000 abandoned mines, many of which send arsenic, uranium and other dangerous substances into drinking water. This is likely linked to high levels of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In collaboration with the Oglala Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux and Spirit Lake Tribes, a five-year Superfund project will investigate the pathways contaminants take, health effects, and ways to mitigate hazards. Led by Ana Navas-Acien of the Mailman School of Public Health, with investigators including Benjamin Bostick, Steven Chillrud and Alexander van Geen. Among other things, the project will test new technologies to detect and remove contaminants using solar energy and photosynthetic bacteria. The technology could be transferred to other areas where arsenic and other substances are problems. Arsenic taints many U.S. wells
WARNING SIGNS | Volcano monitoring, Aleutian Islands | SEPT 2022, WITH REVISITS THRU 2025 | Costa Rica |LATE 2023 OR EARLY 2024
At any one time, some 80 volcanoes around the world are active, threatening some 800 million people. But accurate eruption forecasts have largely eluded scientists, in part because many volcanoes are in underdeveloped areas, and not monitored with the technology available to richer nations. To remedy this, volcanologists Terry Plank. Einat Lev and colleagues are refining methods to better understand warning signs, and create a standardized system of instruments and protocols for worldwide use. They are now testing arrays on the Aleutian Islands’ highly active Cleveland and Okmok volcanoes. Using helicopters and drones, and hiking on foot, the team has deployed sensors to detect gas emissions; seismometers to detect shaking; GPS instruments to measure surface inflation or deflation; and infrasound detectors to detect rising lava. Data is transmitted continuously via satellite. In Costa Rica, the team plans to install a similar array at either Poas or Turrialba, both highly active volcanoes that have erupted explosively in the past several years. | Project web page
BETTER SEPTIC | Innovative small wastewater systems, Alabama | ONGOING
In some rural U.S. communities, poverty and challenging soil conditions mean that disease-causing sewage and other pollutants end up in groundwater. This is true in central Alabama, where 90 percent of septic systems function poorly, and many residents simply run a drainage pipe to a nearby ditch or stream. Here, teams will build 15 modular small-scale wastewater systems, each serving about 20 households or businesses. Similar systems are already used by the military, but have so far found only limited civilian use. If this pilot is successful, such systems could be built to serve much wider areas elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world. Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center, co-leads the project. Project web pages
CO2-Eating Rocks |Carbon sequestration, central Minnesota | ONGOING
The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy is working to both improve the yield of nickel/copper ore and pump atmospheric carbon underground, where natural chemical reactions will lock it into solid mineral form. At a planned mine in Tamarack, Minn., a rare formation of porous ultramafic rocks will naturally power the reactions. The project will use technology developed by Columbia scientists in Oman, where similar rocks exist. Project announcement | Previous work in Oman
WANING GLACIERS | Citizen surveys, Washington state, Peru, Italy | TBD
Anthropologist Benjamin Orlove of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society is studying how people are affected by and adapting to declines of nearby glaciers. Work is taking place in Washington’s North Cascades, Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, and the Italian Alps. Research focuses on changes in water availability, increases in natural hazards, and alteration of culturally or economically significant landscapes. The small Washington towns of Concrete and Baker, below glaciated Mt. Baker, depend on tourism and skiing, and 40-plus years of melting is challenging them. In the Alps, the issue is more about hazards and hydropower, as sudden melting events send debris flows downhill. In the Andes, residents are trying to cope with reduced water for irrigation and domestic use.
DEEP BIOSPHERE | Seafloor drilling, South Atlantic Ocean | APRIL 7-JUNE 7, 2022
The International Ocean Discovery Program will collect sub-seafloor cores along the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where rocks are 7 million to 60 million years old. Scientists will investigate hydrothermal interactions between the aging volcanic basalt that comprises the crust, and overlying sediments. It is thought that these zones contain a largely unexplored world of microbial ecosystems, so the drilling should bring new insights into this deep biosphere, as well as how the oceans have evolved during past intervals of rapid climate change. Crew will include Lamont researchers Michael Kaplan and Angela Slagle. IODP Expedition 390 web pages
OMINOUS GAP | Seismic surveys off western Mexico | MAY 11-JUNE 30, 2022
A major tectonic feature in the Pacific off of Mexico, the Guerrero Seismic Gap, is so named because it should be generating frequent earthquakes—yet has remained ominously quiet since 1911. If strain has been building, it could cause a quake exceeding magnitude 8 that could hit coastal cities and reach all the way to Mexico City. The research vessel Marcus G. Langseth will take to the sea for about 48 days to produce 3-D images of the gap structure below the seafloor, and understand its potential hazard. Images are produced by sending sound waves to the sub-seafloor and reading the echoes. Cruise leaders include Lamont marine geologists Anne Becel and Brian Boston. Project blog | Article on Guerrero Gap
DISAPPEARING WATER|Studies of glacial lake drainage, western Greenland | May and August 2022 and 2023
Each summer, meltwater lakes form atop parts of the Greenland ice sheet—and many suddenly drain when their bottoms fall out. Little is known about what triggers these events, where the water goes, and how it might influence ice movement. To address these questions, a team will helicopter in east of the coastal town of Ilulissat to place and maintain geophysical instruments in and around where lakes typically form. These will include GPS units to measure minute movements of the ice, radars to detect water pathways underneath, and water depth recorders for the lakes themselves. Team includes seismologist Meredith Nettles and glaciologist Jonathan Kingslake. Article on meltwater within the ice
RIVERS ON ICE | Studies of glacial streams, northwest Greenland | JUNE 2022
In addition to meltwater lakes atop the ice, summers in Greenland see the development of meltwater rivers. A new project will combine satellite imagery and in situ measurements to create the first Greenland-wide map of such features, and reach a greater understanding of their volume and where the water ends up. As part of this, glaciologist Alexandra Boghosian will directly measure the flow of in-ice rivers in the remote northwest of Greenland. Project is led by Brown University. Article on Boghosian’s work
ISLAND MYSTERY | Rock sampling, Azores | EARLY JULY 2022
The volcanic Azores archipelago, lying far out in the Atlantic Ocean, is located at the complex and restless juncture of three tectonic plates—the North American, the Eurasian and the African. Its evolution is of great interest to geologists. Geologist Ricardo Ramalho and geochemist Sidney Hemming will spend a week on tiny Corvo Island (population about 400), where very little is known relative to the other islands. They will chisel off samples of rock from various sites to perform later lab analyses aimed at revealing when and how the island formed.
ANCESTRAL LAND | Studies of ancient climate, tectonics and life, northwest Kenya | SUMMER 2022
Paleoclimatologist Kevin Uno and other Lamont scientists are part of the large-scale Turkana Miocene Project, which is studying many aspects of landscape and biological evolution and their relation to climate, from 23 million to 5 million years ago. The region is of special interest because it later became a center of human evolution. The team, involving researchers from a dozen institutions, will excavate four to six fossil-rich sites this summer. Project website | Human origins in the Turkana region
POLLUTED TREASURE | Measuring effects of gold mining, Peruvian Amazon | SUMMER 2022, WINTER AND SUMMER 2023
The Madre de Dios river basin of southeast Peru is heavily pocked by deforestation and small-scale illegal gold mines. A team including grad student Jennifer Angel Amaya will investigate the hydrologic effects of mines and the implications for polluting mercury (used for processing gold) and release of greenhouse gases from old mine sites. They will compare water quality and flow in two streams, one heavily affected by mining and one relatively untouched, using both repeated sampling and fixed instruments. The work should help inform strategies to restore impacted areas. Part of a wider National Geographic-sponsored effort to study the Amazon from source to mouth. Amazon Basin project announcement
HIGH MOUNTAINS, DEEP EARTH | Geologic fieldwork, Indian Himalayas | July-August 2022
In the high Himalayan desert of the Ladakh region, rocks normally found 100 kilometers down have somehow been thrust to the surface, as the Indian subcontinent slowly collides with Asia. Geologist Peter Kelemen and Indian colleagues will travel the beautiful and sparsely populated landscape around Lake Moriri to sample exposures of these rare rocks, for clues to how carbon and sulfur cycle through the mantle, where the rocks came from. Later lab analyses will be done at Lamont-Doherty. Story, video on Kelemen’s work on mantle rocks in Oman
WARMING MOUNTAINS | Ecological surveys, Colombian Andes | LATE AUGUST 2022 AND ONGOING
The wetland páramos of the Andes, the treeless high-altitude regions between the glaciers and tree line, harbor visually stunning ecosystems with plants and creatures found nowhere else. They also provide water to major cities. But climate change is thinning clouds, drying land and increasing wildfires, stressing plants and other biota. Since 2004, scientists led by Daniel Ruiz Carrascal of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society have been monitoring one area in Colombia’s Los Nevados National Park, documenting changes in ecology, and collecting temperature, humidity and other data from sensors. Los Nevados observatory web page | Watch a slideshow on the project | Story on the project
ISLANDS RISING | Past sea-level analyses, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas | June and November 2022
To improve forecasts of future sea level rise, scientists are turning to coastlines that have preserved geologic markers of where sea levels were during past times when the planet warmed rapidly, similar to today. Many islands in the Caribbean contain such markers. Geodynamicist Jacqueline Austermann, paleoclimatologist William D’Andrea and colleagues will sample and measure coral and rock formations along coastlines in the Turks and Caicos in June, and tentatively in the northern Bahamas in November. One focus will be the interglacial period about 120,000 years ago, when temperatures were close to what is projected for later this century, and seas may have risen precipitously. Story on related research in Barbados
AFRICAN SMOG | Air pollution monitoring, sub-Saharan Africa | JUNE 20-JULY 8, 2022 AND ONGOING
Many of Africa’s fast-growing megacities suffer from drastic air pollution, killing as many as 700,000 people a year. Yet most cities cannot even measure pollution, much less address it. Atmospheric scientist Dan Westervelt and colleague are setting up affordable monitoring networks in more than a half dozen cities to help chart soot, ozone and other substances produced by cooking with wood and charcoal, vehicle emissions, diesel generators and burning of garbage. Installations this summer in Porto-Novo, Benin; Accra, Ghana; and Lomé, Togo. Other sites: Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya; Kigali, Rwanda; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Air Pollution in the Global South | Measuring pollution in Togo | Bridging the Pollution Data Gap in Sub-Saharan Africa
PLUNGING CANYONS | Geologic fieldwork, South Australia | EARLY JUNE-MID AUGUST 2022
The period 720 million to 540 million years ago was marked by violent swings in climate, including ice ages that glaciated most or all of the planet, and evolution of the first complex organisms, during the Ediacaran Period. Geologists Nicholas Christie-Blick and Sarah Giles will sample rocks and examine carbon isotopes from around this time in the deep canyons of the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. The canyons are thought to have formed underwater, and thus may hold evidence of how marine life evolved over long stretches of time. The researchers will also examine new evidence suggesting the canyons could have been cut by rivers during a brief but extreme drawdowns of sea levels.
QUICK ACTION | Assessing flash-flood risks, Ecuador | LATE JUNE-EARLY JULY
Flash floods are a growing concern, from Germany to Indonesia to the United States and other nations. But assessing the risks and developing warning systems are challenges, because these events generally arise from sudden downpours over limited areas. Andrew Kruczkiewicz of the International Research Institution for Climate and Society and Carolynne Hultquist of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network are developing improved early-warning systems around the world. In one such project, they will do fieldwork in Ecuador, involving remote sensing, mining of historical weather data and mapping geophysical properties of potential flood areas. Hosted and coordinated by the Ecuador Red Cross. Improving flash flood warnings
SINKING AND SHAKING | Studies of Bangladesh land subsidence and earthquake risk| ONGOING
Across much of low-lying Bangladesh, sea levels have risen and the land is sinking, due to natural compaction of sediments. This threatens not only flooding, but pollution of fresh water aquifers. And, it has recently become clear that the region faces substantial risk of an earthquake that could be so catastrophic, it could change the course of rivers. Geophysicist Michael Steckler and colleagues are studying the forces at work with precise measurements of underlying geology and changing land levels, especially near the coast. The studies are aimed in part at design and maintenance of the many dikes that keep the sea at bay, and better mapping seismic hazards. Bangladesh earthquake risk | Watch a documentary | Project blog
BEDROCK CLUES | Coring of rock under Greenland ice | JULY-AUG 2022-2026
In 2016, scientists announced that a rare sample of rock from deep under the Greenland ice indicated that the sheet had melted to bedrock at least once in the recent geologic past—a shock to many, as it suggested the same could happen with human-influenced climate change. However, the evidence came from just a single core, taken in the 1990s. Now a team led in part by Joerg Schaefer, author of the original report, is following up by drilling through the ice to bedrock at four other sites. Also on the project: Nicolás Young and Gisela Winckler. Geophysical work is already underway at the sites. Story on the project | Greenland ice melted to bedrock in the past
END OF AN ICE SHEET? | Glacial geology, Baffin Island, Canada | JULY-AUG 2022
The Barnes Ice Cap, located on Canada’s Arctic Baffin Island, is one of the last remnants of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which once covered North America as far south as New York and New Jersey. It is receding, and recent modeling suggests it could disappear by 2200, due to warming climate. But are current conditions unprecedented? Geologists and geochemists including Nicolás Young, Joerg Schafer and Gisela Winckler will travel to the edge of the ice to collect samples from bedrock that has emerged from under the ice in the last decade. They will later measure rare cosmogenic nuclides that will indicate whether the ice pulled back to a similar extent at some point after the last ice age. Abstract of the project
LAND’S END | Lake coring, archaeology, northern Greenland |AUGUST 2022 & 2023
Peary Land, an uninhabited peninsula in far northern Greenland was once an oasis, if an extremely harsh one, for early Arctic people; its dry climate keeps glaciers from building, making it the world’s northernmost ice-free region. Little is known about how people survived here as far back as 2500 BC, or why they eventually left. Paleoclimate scientist William D’Andrea will join a team of archaeologists and others studying the once-occupied Wandel Dal valley. By coring lake sediments, he and colleagues hope to retrieve leaf remains, pollen, ancient DNA and other material to outline past temperatures, precipitation, and plant and animal life. A separate expedition including paleoclimatologist Tobias Schneider will core lakes in another area of Peary Land. Wandel Dal project website | D’Andrea’s work in Arctic Norway
NAVIGATING THE NEW ARCTIC | Mapping Greenlandâs coastal waters | SEPTEMBER 2022 AND ONGOING
Sea levels in most of the world are rising, but levels in Greenland are dropping, partly because Greenland is losing so much ice, the land itself is reboundingâin places, up to an inch a year. This threatens to strand many roadless coastal communities, which depend on already shallow waters for travel and fishing. In conjunction with local people, a group led by polar scientists David Porter, Robin Bell and Kirsty Tinto are mapping coastal waters near four communities in detail, and cooperating with local residents to install and maintain tide gauges and other instruments to understand real-time changes and future prospects. Work takes place in Kullorsuaq, Aasiaat, Tasilaq, and Nuuk. Custom-built low-cost instruments are currently being tested at a Hudson River pier near the Lamont-Doherty campus. Project web pages | Story on the project | Story, video, slideshow on the melting of Greenland
1,000 YEARS OF WEATHER | Tree-ring sampling, Peru, Bolivia | SEPTEMBER 2022
As part of a five-year project to reconstruct weather patterns and extremes over the past millennium, scientists led by Laia Andreu-Hayles will sample rings from ancient trees in Peru and Bolivia. Work will extend from 15,000 feet in the Andes into lower elevations of the western Amazon. The team will merge the data with separate studies of cave formations to yield a long-term picture of climate variations in this region. This year, researchers will sample near Abancay, southern Peru, and in Boliviaâs Madidi National Park. Abstract of the research
MILLENNIA OF CLIMATE ADAPTATION | Ethnographic, archaeological investigations, southwest Madagascar | LATE 2022 or EARLY 2023 and ONGOING
A team of researchers co-led by environmental archaeologist Kristina Douglass is using archaeological, ethnohistorical, ethnographic, ecological and geospatial methods to investigate the long-term interactions of people with their environment, including how people have adapted farming, fishing, foraging and herding to big climate swings in the western Indian Ocean over the last 3,000 to 5,000 years. Co-led by the Indigenous people, the study is aimed at discovering how residents have sustained their livelihoods, partly with an eye to learning how Madagascar and other nations can successfully adapt to ongoing climate change. Spinoff projects include investigations of the early settlement of Madagascar, past megafauna extinctions, and the effects of coral harvesting.Â Project website
SAFE HARBOR | Protecting Children From Disasters, Dominica | ONGOING 2022
Thalia Balkaran of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness is helping communities on the Caribbean island of Dominica develop disaster preparedness plans that focus on children. Working with child-oriented organizations, she is applying a resilience initiative pioneered at U.S. sites, mainly among the indigenous Kalinago people. Resilient Children/Resilient Communities Initiative | Story on the project
OCEAN INVADERS| Studies of harmful plankton off Oman | ONGOING THRU MAY 2023
Itâs part plant, part animal, and itâs taking over. Itâs Noctiluca scintillans, a floating organism that forms thick, slimy mats on the ocean, feeding on everything from sunlight to fish eggs. It is thriving in the Arabian Sea, where climate change has created the right conditions, damaging fishing and aquaculture, clogging water intakes of oil refineries and desalination plants, and hurting tourism. Oceanographer Joaquim GoesÂ is leading a study of the organism and how to deal with it, working at sea to understand the forces that drive its life cycle, and how Oman can adapt. The creatures are now spreading off southeast Asia and India, and may eventually reach other areas. Studying Bioluminescent Blooms in the Arabian Sea
RIVERS IN THE ICE | Hydrographic studies, northern Greenland | SUMMER 2023
In 2019, Lamont scientists announced the first known observations of estuariesârivers that flow back and forth with meltwater and ocean tidesâpenetrating an ice shelf, in Greenland. The discovery is an ominous sign, as this movement has the potential to weaken and eventually shatter the ice. In 2023, a team including glaciologist Alexandra Boghosian will land by air at the newly discovered estuary in northwest Greenland’s Petermann Ice Shelf, to make the first-ever in situ measurements of water velocity, discharge and temperature, and study the effects on surrounding ice. Report of the estuary discovery | Scientific American article
LAND AND CONFLICT | Studies of protected areas, Japan | ONGOING 2021-2024
Joshua D. Fisher, who co-directs the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity, will visit rural regions to investigate how well different systems of governance are working in protected areas. With many Japanese moving to cities, populations in many of these areas are declining, not increasing, presenting issues not seen in many other countries. This is part of a wider international project based at Hiroshima University designed to magnify positive social, economic and environmental effects of managing protected areas. Project web pages
UNCERTAIN THREATS | Studies of earthquake faults, New Zealand | TBD
Much of New Zealandâs landscape is dominated by visible earthquake faults, but little is known about their long-term dangers, because it is hard to tell when the last big quakes occurred. To address this, Lamont-Doherty geologist and geochemist Stephen Cox and seismologist Genevieve Coffey of New Zealandâs GNS Science will collect rock samples from major faults in the sparsely populated Wairarapa region of the South Island. Most work will be done along the coast, where faults are visibly exposed at low tide. Samples will be analyzed using chemical methods newly developed at Lamont that allow scientists to detect and date earthquakes that occurred tens of thousands to millions of years ago. ‘Quiet’ Part of San Andreas May Be ThreatÂ | How Earthquakes Leave Chemical Clues in Rocks
FIRE UNDER ICE | Geologic fieldwork, James Ross Island, Antarctica | DEC 2022-JAN 2023
Located near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, James Ross Island hosts alternating layers of marine sediments, glacial debris and volcanic flows, laid down as sea levels and ice fronts surged back and forth in tandem with dramatic changes in climate over millions of years. The presence of the volcanic flows â some of which erupted under ice â means that the the climate-driven changes to the landscape can be finely dated, using radiometric methods. Geochemists Sidney Hemming and Michael Kaplan will join with Argentine colleagues to investigate the period from 3.3 million to 1.7 million years ago, when the planet moved from the generally warmer Pliocene to the Pleistocene, when temperatures dropped and drove the planetâs most recent cycle of ice ages.
SLOW EROSION. VERY SLOW. | Geologic fieldwork, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica | NOV-DEC 2022
Using innovative new instruments, geochemist Jennifer Lamp and colleagues are measuring erosion of rocks in Antarcticaâs cold, windy McMurdo Dry Valleys, Earthâs best analog to Mars. It may take millions of years for visible erosion to take place here, but the instruments pick up minute acoustic emissions that signal openings of tiny cracks in rocks; from these, scientists hope to extrapolate erosion rates. The work is expected to open new vistas onto the evolution of the surfaces of both planets. Project blog
SLIDING INTO THE SEA | Geophysical measurements, Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica | NOV 2022-FEB 2023
West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is wasting at a quickening pace, already contributing four percent of current global sea-level rise. In one of the biggest international Antarctic collaborations ever, some 100 scientists from seven countries are studying every aspect of the glacier and its bed. Among them, geophysics grad student Elizabeth Case will camp on the ice with colleagues to collect data on the rocks and sediments beneath the glacier, using radar, seismic and electromagnetic measurements. Story on the project | Project web page
FORCED MIGRATION | Access to health care, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon; potentially Eastern Europe | ONGOING
The REfugees Act and Communicate for Health (REACH) program is working to improve health literacy and access to care for the many young people driven from their homes by the Syrian civil war. One tool is a cell-phone app used in Turkey that offers reliable information on physical and mental health, and geolocated referral support for services, in Arabic, Turkish and English. The team plans to increase the number of languages and expand the app to other regions, including countries affected by the war in Ukraine. Headed by Dr. Ozge Karadag of the Center for Sustainable Development. REACH website
RESCUING SLAG AND CO2 | Steelworks recycling, northern China | ONGOING
Researchers from the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy are working with Baotou Steel in Inner Mongolia to run a revolutionary new plant designed to recycle slag and waste CO2 into raw materials used in paper, plastic, paint, cement, and the oil and gas industries. A pilot run has been completed; as researchers analyze the data, the team is moving forward with a phase-2 demonstration, which is near commercial scale. Project led by Lenfest director Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park. Article on the project
SOUNDS OR SILENCE? | Bioacoustic recording, central, south India | ONGOING
Project Dhvani (Sanskrit for “sound”) is placing recorders in the biodiverse dry tropical forests of central India, including the famous Kanha Tiger Reserve, and in the country’s mountainous, misty Western Ghats. Using newly developed algorithms, researchers are plotting the abundance of many creatures that communicate with sound, including insects, amphibians, birds and mammals. The aim is to study how human presence is affecting them, and how different approaches to restoring degraded landscapes affect wildlife. Some sounds are transmitted in real time, enabling researchers to pick up signs of poaching or logging. Project overseen by Climate School co-dean Ruth DeFries. Project Dhvani website | Western Ghats site
NEW GROWTH | Monitoring tree responses to drought, Costa Rica, Sweden, Florida | ONGOING THRU 2024
Many forests across the world are projected to see expanded periods of drought as climate warms. Ecoclimatologist Mukund Palat Rao is studying potential effects by installing dendrometers, sensitive instruments that record how individual trees respond to changing conditions hour by hour, over long periods of time. He has installed instruments at Costa Rica’s La Selva Biological Station, at Svartberget, Sweden, and in northern Florida. He will go back periodically to maintain them and download data. Colleagues working on the project are monitoring sites in Alaska, Saskatchewan, Belgium and Denmark.
CATALYZING ENERGY | Mapping potential electric investment, Uganda | ONGOING THRU 2024
Efforts to improve access to energy in the developing world frequently focus on homes, schools and health facilities. This project focuses instead on mapping areas where agriculture could expand if more energy were available, and create profitable markets for investors in new infrastructure. Guided in part by satellite imagery, researchers are traveling Uganda to interview people and gather visual data on crops, livestock, wells, irrigation systems, and agricultural processing and storage systems. Co-led by engineer Vijay Modi. Project web page
CLEARER AIR | Moving households to cleaner fuels, central Ghana | ONGOING
Some 3 billion people cook with wood and other biomass on rudimentary stoves, producing a fifth of the world’s black-carbon emissions, and substantial adverse health effects. In a central Ghana region with 30,000 people, researchers are exploring ways to transition people to new cookware and cleaner fuels, including propane. Staff includes geochemist Steven Chillrud, who measures human exposure to dirty air. Project web page
DANGEROUS WELLS | Testing for arsenic and fluoride, Southeast Asia| ONGOING
Naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater is a major problem in wells across much of Asia. Geochemists Alexander van Geen and Ben Bostick are studying the causes and possible mitigation measures, working across Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Cambodia and western China. A related problem is excess fluoride. In the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, researcher Radhika Iyengar of the Center for Sustainable Development has recruited college students to sample wells on a regular basis and inform communities which are safe or unsafe. Fluoride testing in India | Videos and story on Asian geological and health studies | Arsenic pollution near Hanoi
GONE GLACIERS | Geologic fieldwork, Chilean and Argentine Andes |TBD
Glacial geologist Michael Kaplan and colleagues at Chilean and Argentine institutions are working to investigate how changing climate and the fast tectonic uplift of the Andes have interacted to form the precipitous landscapes of today. The researchers collect rocks and other debris left by former glaciers for lab analysis. The ultimate goal is to understand long-term changes in climate, and their role in the evolution of these areas. Fieldwork will take place intermittently over coming years.
SUSTAINING PEACE | Field interviews/workshops, New Zealand, Costa Rica | POSTPONED
While most research frames peace within the context of conflict and war, social psychologist Peter Coleman and colleagues from the Advanced Consortium on Conflict, Cooperation and Complexity are studying the factors that contribute to harmony in societies that are outstandingly peaceful. Fieldwork was recently completed in Mauritius. The researchers hope to move on to Costa Rica and New Zealand when conditions permit. Report on Mauritius | The Sustaining Peace Project | Researchers Study How Mauritius Achieves Peace
MORE POTENTIAL RESEARCH; DETAILS WHEN AVAILABLE
In the wake of the Russian war against Ukraine, Irwin Redlener, founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, has visited Poland, where many refugees are lodged. He is in the process of organizing a project to asses and assist displaced children and youth. Redlener has written about the war’s effects on children.
In July 2022, glaciologist Marco Tedesco and dendrochronologist Brendan Buckley will visit Iceland and the Netherlands to core rare old surviving trees, in order to refine understanding of precipitation patterns over the last several hundred years, and their effects on the mass balance of ice in Greenland.
In August 2022 oceanographer Joaquim Goes will take part in a federally funded cruise to investigate ongoing ocean acidification off the U.S. East Coast, and its potential implications for fisheries.
Earth Institute postdoctoral researcher Leah Jones-Crank is spending spring 2022 investigating how institutional and governance structures dealing with food, energy and water make Singapore one of the world’s most sustainable cities.
Marine seismologist Spahr Webb will participate in several research cruises this year. June-July 2022 will see a trip to Axial Volcano, off Oregon, to investigate the structure of the magma chamber below. Later cruises include retrieval of ocean-bottom seismic instruments from off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, where they were dropped following three recent large earthquakes. And he will be part of a team to deploy similar instruments off New Zealand to study slow-slip seismic events in the Hikurangi subduction zone.
Physical oceanographer Andreas Thurnherr will be chief scientist on a US GO-SHIP hydrographic cruise from Honolulu to San Diego, June 13-July 16, 2022. It is part of a sustained effort to measure ocean chemistry, temperature, dissolved carbon and other qualities across the world.
In summer 2022, the Piermont Marsh Secondary School Programs will have high-school students work in suburban marshland along the Hudson River and green spaces along the New York City waterfront. They will collect data on carbon flux, nutrients, sediment accumulation, plastics contamination and wildlife. This feeds into a long-term study on the estuary’s health and evolution in the face of sea-level rise and other forces. Program heads: Margie Turrin and Laurel Zaima.
In fall 2022, Jorge Otero-Pailos, a professor of historic preservation at the Graduate School of Architecture, will take a group of graduate students to Venice to study how the city is adapting to rising sea levels. The group will propose possible projects to deal with the issue.
The International Ocean Discovery Program’s cruise 397 will take scientists off the coasts of Portugal and Spain Oct. 11-Dec. 11, where they will take multiple deep-sea cores believed to offer high-resolution records of climate over the last 3 million to 5 million years. Scientific crew will include marine sedimentologists Jerry McManus and Celeste Pallone.
The long-running GEOTRACES program, in which scientists are investigating biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in the oceans, will send a ship from Tahiti to Chile by way of Antarctic waters, Dec. 22, 2022-Jan 23, 2023. Among others, Lamont researchers Martin Fleisher and Jennifer Middleton will be sampling water for a number of projects.
In February 2023, geologists Nicholas Christie-Blick and Folarin Kolawole will lead a student field trip to California’s Death Valley. The group will look at a wide variety of geologic features, and work on original research projects. The trip is a yearly event.
Using a wide variety of methods, geologist Folarin Kolawole is mapping and investigating often previously unknown seismic faults generated by the slow rifting of East Africa. In January 2023 he will do fieldwork in Uganda; May 2023, Botswana; and July 2023, Malawi. The research is aimed at understanding earthquake risk over wide areas.