Message from Interim Director Maureen E. Raymo
Our year has been one of remarkable progress and discovery in the Earth and climate sciences. For Lamont, the pandemic, political unrest, and social upheaval have served to underscore the urgency of our research and deepen our commitment to diversity and inclusion within our scientific community.
On July 1, 2020, when my colleague, the renowned geophysicist Sean Solomon stepped down from his role as director, I became the first climate scientist to lead the Observatory—a deeply gratifying honor and a profound responsibility.
Days after becoming Lamont’s Interim Director, Columbia University announced its plan to establish a first-of-its-kind climate school, opening a new chapter in Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory's long and distinguished history. As the heart of climate and Earth science research at Columbia University, our mission of inquiry and discovery will be expanding ever further. Our aspirational goals are reflected in a new strategic plan, outlining our way forward in a world with growing and urgent needs for science-informed solutions to the climate crisis.
This year we have pushed the frontier of knowledge in the Earth and climate sciences—from producing measurable evidence that human-caused global warming is causing the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to connecting unprecedented algal blooms in the Arabian Sea to disappearing snowpack in the Himalayan-Tibetan mountains to linking the increase in devastating wildfires in the west to increasing, climate-driven drought.
Our discoveries continue to illuminate the mechanisms and mysteries of our extraordinary planet and inform the pathways to a sustainable future.
In the spirit of our enduring passion for creating new knowledge, as well as fostering a community of inclusion where innovative scientists can explore and thrive, we present our annual report for 2020.
Maureen E. Raymo