NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security–Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission is returning to Earth carrying an estimated 250 grams (8.8 ounces) of material gathered from the surface of an asteroid. Takahiro Hiroi, DEEPS Senior Research Scientist and Spectroscopy Specialist, shared his optimism for the mission, saying, “Returned samples can additionally [preserve] microscopic, including nanophase, materials that can be evidence of space weathering or shock events, most elements and isotopes, grain density, [and] material strength.”
A new 3-year grant from the Department of Energy will investigate carbon storage in soil. The project is led by Rice University scientists, Assistant Professor Mark Torres and Postdoctoral Fellow Evan Ramos. DEEPS Assistant Professor Daniel Ibarra is one of the grant's co-investigators.
DEEPS Professor Baylor Fox-Kemper and EEOB Professor Stephen Porder have co-authored a piece in TIME about the Earth's rising temperatures. "As earth system scientists, we've learned it's sometimes more helpful to look at Earth as, well, a system. In this case, the system of the air and the oceans. Understanding how they interact is the key to understanding what is, and what isn’t, unusual about this very hot year."
Providence’s sewer systems are not prepared for the amount of rain falling on the city this year, according to Mayor Brett Smiley. And all that extra water is wreaking havoc and endangering lives. Professor Baylor Fox-Kemper commented saying it’s good that the city is taking action on upgrading its sewer infrastructure, given that we can only expect more rainfall and flooding as the climate continues to warm.
Professors Kim Cobb and Alberto Saal have been elected as American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fellows. They join 53 other individuals in the 2023 Class of Fellows. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space sciences association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors. Since 1962, the AGU Union Fellows Committee has selected less than 0.1% of members as new Fellows.
Professor Karen Fischer was selected to receive the AGU Inge Lehmann Medal, which is given annually to a senior scientist in recognition of outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core. AGU, the world's largest Earth and space science association, annually recognizes a select number of individuals for its highest honors.
Professor Meredith Hastings discussed Providence air quality and the Breathe Providence project with the Providence Journal. Breathe Providence has set out to address what its researchers see as a gap in air quality data by investing in a network of measuring instruments that they hope will yield more detailed information that reflects a person’s actual exposure to ozone and other pollutants.
Three members of IBES faculty will join Director Kim Cobb and Director of Undergraduate Studies Dawn King to form an expanded IBES Leadership Team, as outlined in the Institute’s 2023-2028 Strategic Plan. Dan Ibarra, Assistant Professor in IBES and DEEPS, has been appointed Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He sees his new role as having two aspects: promoting inclusivity within IBES and working to diversify environmental science as a whole.
Assistant Professor of Practice Seda Şalap-Ayça has been selected as a Sheridan Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow. The Fellows program is a yearlong, cohort-based learning community that provides the opportunity for a small group of junior faculty from across the disciplines to come together to reflect upon and discuss their teaching and their students’ learning with Sheridan staff. "As an early career faculty," said Şalap-Ayça, "I strongly believe that this fellowship experience will help me to improve my pedagogic knowledge, collaborate with teaching-related projects, and more importantly apply what I learned in my courses and share with the teaching community."
In a recent episode of The Agenda, Juliet Mann speaks to James Head, Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, who helped select landing sites for the Apollo moon program, and Xu Yansong, Director-General of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Program.
As part of an annual excursion geared toward incoming graduate students in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, about 20 students joined Brown faculty on a Save the Bay tour.
Brown University is getting ready for the Fall Semester and the new academic year, and everyone in DEEPS is looking forward to welcoming new colleagues, starting new projects, and more opportunities for growth. We asked a number of the DEEPS community to highlight what they were looking forward to this Fall, and this is what they had to say:
The SBB Research Group Foundation named Michelle Vong a recipient of its STEM scholarship. Michelle Vong, a junior, studies environmental science at Brown University. Vong recently interned at Colgate-Palmolive to design and deliver zero plastic waste solutions for their products.
SBUDNIC, built by an academically diverse team of students, was confirmed to have successfully reentered Earth’s atmosphere in August, demonstrating a practical, low-cost method to cut down on space debris.
The ancient glaciers hint at an Archaean Earth that may have looked similar in some ways to our own time. Assistant Professor Dan Ibarra commented on the researchers' work, saying that the Pongola oxygen-18 values “would be some of the highest elevations [found on Earth today] like Tibet or the peaks of the Rocky Mountains."
“The oceans do a lot of the work in reducing the level of warming,” DEEPS Professor Baylor Fox-Kemper told CNBC. “Over 90 percent of the excess energy on earth due to climate change is found in warmer oceans, some of it in surface oceans and some at depth.”
Associate Professor Victor Tsai has published a new article in GeoScienceWorld's Seismological Research Letters about the challenges with available Earth imaging techniques, and explores opportunities for improvement.
A new technique for measuring past topography shows the Himalayas were more than halfway to their summit before a continental collision made them the highest range in the world. “Experts have long thought that it takes a massive tectonic collision, on the order of continent-to-continent scale, to produce the sort of uplift required to produce Himalaya-scale elevations,” said DEEPS Assistant Professor Daniel Ibarra. “This study disproves that and sends the field in some interesting new directions.”
The project, supported by the National Science Foundation, will focus on creating a set of tools and convening experts to address climate change related challenges faced by communities along the New England coast.
From lake sediments to post-fire landscapes, many DEEPS undergraduate students are engaged in groundbreaking research throughout the summer break. We are proud to showcase some of these research projects with this photo series.
This summer, an article was published in AGU's Geophysical Research Letters representing work from former Ph.D. graduate Aron Buffen, Professor Meredith Hastings, and other colleagues using a model to better understand how sunlight changes snow nitrate. The work was featured as the cover art for the June issue of AGU's Geophysical Research Letters.