Department of Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences
The Community Noise Lab and Swearer Center at Brown University organized a forum titled, "Firing Back" held on November 13 at the School of Public Health. At the event, Juliet Fang, a second-year undergraduate student at Brown studying Public Health and Geology-Biology, shared data indicating that the noise levels from the firing range were higher than what the city of Cranston legally allows. Her study underscored the link between noise pollution and various health issues, including disrupted sleep, heightened stress, and cognitive impairments, as well as chronic conditions like hypertension and heart disease.
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DEEPS Professor and IBES Director Kim Cobb offered commentary to TIME on the Fifth National Climate Assessment, noting, "at the center of the report are people ... who have escalating risks associated with climate change as well as clear opportunities for win-win climate action."
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The last 12 months were the hottest Earth has ever recorded, according to a new report by Climate Central, a nonprofit science research group. IBES Director and DEEPS Professor Kim Cobb commented that the heat of the last year, intense as it was, is tempered because the oceans have been absorbing the majority of the excess heat related to climate change, but they are reaching their limit. “Oceans are really the thermostat of our planet ... they are tied to our economy, food sources, and coastal infrastructure.”
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News from DEEPS

Careers Day 2023

At the annual Careers Day, DEEPS students and community members had the opportunity to hear from two alumni, Isabella Gama Dantas and Mali'o Kodis, about their career journeys outside academia. 
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DEEPS & IBES Professor Meredith Hastings is a co-PI on a new project that will center on a field safety, anti-harassment, and bystander intervention training certificate program. “In scientific work, hostile behaviors such as bullying and harassment create a negative work environment that is more often experienced by people of color and those with disabilities. This is an important reason why the geosciences remain one of the least diverse STEM fields,” said Hastings.
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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Justice has released a new environmental justice policy to prioritize racial and socioeconomic fairness in its agency practices. Professor Meredith Hastings commented, saying she listened to input from community members when deciding where exactly to put the air monitors for her research. “More needs to be done to better understand what residents are exposed to, what sources/industries are responsible and our regulatory system needs to move beyond simply expecting industry to comply by making it harder for these businesses to cause harm in the first place,” Hastings wrote to The Public's Radio.
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News from DEEPS

Remembering Malcolm "Mac" Rutherford

Malcolm “Mac” Rutherford, professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences emeritus, passed away unexpectedly on October 3, 2023, in Providence, Rhode Island, at the age of 84.
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Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Uranium isotopes as tracers of serpentinite weathering

Assistant Professor Emily Cooperdock and colleagues have published new research on uranium isotopes in serpentinite rocks found both underwater and on land. The team discovered that the uranium isotope ratios in submarine serpentinites are influenced by seafloor weathering and differ from seawater ratios. Overall, the results show exciting evidence that U-isotopes can be used to measure recent weathering of ultramafic serpentinites. The findings also caution against using these systems as indicators of ancient geological events.
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Researchers used temperature and humidity data along with climate models to analyze humanity’s exposure to potentially lethal heat as the world warms. IBES Director and DEEPS Professor Kim Cobb said the study’s conclusions are “compelling” but not surprising. “Extreme heat is already responsible for countless deaths worldwide every year,” Cobb told CNN.
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Assistant Professor James W. Dottin III is featured on a recent episode of PBS's science documentary series, NOVA. In the episode, "Ancient Earth: Birth of the Sky," scientists explore the creation of Earth's atmosphere and our familiar blue sky.
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The Wall Street Journal

China Is Gaining Long-Coveted Role in Arctic, as Russia Yields

In response to economic isolation due to the Ukraine invasion, Russia is seeking help from China to develop shipping routes through the Arctic. Professor Amanda Lynch shared her perspective with The Wall Street Journal, including concerns about traversing the icy passages with limited emergency support options.
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The Brown Daily Herald featured a review of a new EEPS course exploring New England, teaching geological mapping and hands-on skills to ‘read rocks.’EEPS 1250: “New England Field Geology” is teaching hands-on fieldwork skills to 11 students over the course of nine field trips during the semester.
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News from DEEPS

Yongsong Lab watches OSIRIS-REx Return

Members of Professor Yongsong Huang's Lab gathered to watch and celebrate the historic return of NASA's Bennu sampling capsule arrival in Utah.
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DEEPS Alumna Rocío Paola Caballero-Gill '15 was selected to receive the 2023 AGU Award for Advancing Inclusive Excellence in STEM, which recognizes exemplary efforts made by an individual or team for developing programs, systems, or networks that have led to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Earth and space sciences community.
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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.”
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University of Central Florida planetary scientist and DEEPS alumna Kerri Donaldson Hanna is counting the days until NASA’s Lunar Trailblazer mission launches from Cape Canaveral and begins its journey to search for water on the moon.
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Rice University

DOE backs Rice study of how soils store carbon

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.
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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."
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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.
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