Director’s Message

Dear Friends,

The past year was again one of extraordinary scientific discoveries at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Behind the Observatory’s accomplishments are our outstanding scientists and students, each deeply devoted to improving our knowledge of the workings of our planet. Lamont is now home to nearly 300 doctoral-level scientists, who hail from all over the world and whose passion for innovative research fuels the intellectual energy of the campus. The Observatory also benefits from a broad array of collaborators, both within Columbia University and across the global scientific community.

Sean Solomon

Sean Solomon, Director

A third and equally noteworthy group contributing to our success is that of our friends, alumni and staff, who collectively provide sustained support for all of our research and educational endeavors. It is their loyal dedication to our mission that makes each of our achievements possible.

During the last year, Lamont scientists made notable advances in our understanding of ocean acidification, drought and the impacts of global warming on polar ice sheets, yet further work is needed. And as atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide continue to increase, water supplies are stressed to meet increasing demand, and extreme weather events become more frequent and severe, global decision-makers will increasingly need fresh scientific insight and ideas for mitigation of the sort that Lamont researchers are particularly well prepared to provide.

At least in part to meet these challenges, we recently completed a scientific strategic plan for the Observatory. We identified five initiatives that offer special scientific promise, build on Observatory strengths and will serve as areas of particular focus for research investments in the coming decade. The initiatives address links between climate and life, extreme weather and climate, an improved understanding of earthquakes and faulting, changes to ice sheets and sea level on a warming planet, and the development of tools to observe and model the dynamic Earth in real time.

In the next few years, through an emphasis on these research themes as well as the maintenance of our core strengths, the Observatory will be well poised to address critical environmental issues and at the same time maintain leadership in basic research and education in Earth science.

If you are new to Lamont or curious about our latest initiatives, you can learn more about who we are and what we do from the stories in this report. For those who have contributed to our efforts during the last year, I hope that you’ll be pleased by this account of some of our accomplishments.

All of us at the Observatory are extremely grateful to our donors and everything they make possible. Thank you for your support.

Sean C. Solomon