William and Mary Digest April 3

Staff writer

A deep-ocean current shift gives 400-year notice of massive climate change

The warm waters of the Gulf Stream flow up along the east coast of North America, moderating the climate in areas of northern and western Europe.

Once the Gulf Stream gets far enough north, the warm waters cool. As it cools, the water sinks and starts flowing south, forming what scientists call the North Atlantic Deep Water. The Gulf Stream/Deep Water system is known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

Nick Balascio, an assistant professor in the College of William and Mary’s Department of Geology, is a member of a group of scientistswho found evidence that changes in the strength of AMOC can serve as an indicator to future climate changes.

Their findings were published in the journal Nature Communications, titled “Deep-water circulation changes lead North Atlantic climate during deglaciation.” Deglaciation, or the widespread melting of glaciers, has triggered massive shifts in climate. Balascio explains that the team’s evidence shows that a strengthening in the AMOC flow was followed by a sudden warming trend about 11,000 years ago.

Conversely, a weakening AMOC was followed by what is known as the Younger Dryas stadial, a major cooling period about 13,000 years ago. Balascio pointed out that each shift in AMOC strength preceded the climactic shift by the same amount of time — around 400 years.

He also noted that the AMOC has been weakening for the past century.

“These results suggest that changes in ocean circulation precede major global climate events,” he said. “So we should therefore take seriously the evidence that suggests the AMOC has been slowing down over the past century or more.”

The second annual National Security Conference will focus on women leaders

Dr. Kathryn H. Floyd, the director of The Whole of Government Center of Excellence at William and Mary, is assembling a group of female leaders for the 2nd Annual National Security Conference.

The conference, “National Security Today through 2028: Women Leading the Next Decade” will be held April 4 from 8 a.m. to noon in Chesapeake room A at the Sadler Center. The event is free and open to the public with registration.

“William and Mary has been celebrating both the inauguration of our first female President, Katherine A. Rowe, and 100 years of co-education at the university,” Floyd said. “Carrying that proud banner into this conference, we are showcasing the incredible role that women plan in national security, whether directing cyber operations, managing the crisis operations center, or responding to natural disasters.”

Rowe will speak at the opening of the event and Dr. Nadia Schadlow, former deputy national security advisor for strategy and assistant to President Obama, who is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, will give the keynote address.

Professors at the school will chair a panel discussion on Surveying Critical National Security Challenges.

The conference will end with presentations by student members of The Project on International Peace and Security on topics ranging from Boko Haram to peacekeeping, global recycling and Russia’s military elite.

Swem Library debuts short-story dispenser, first of its kind in Virginia

On March 1, William and Mary unveiled a short-story dispenser that prints out pieces of flash fiction on demand. The dispenser, produced by French company Short Edition, is the first of its kind in Virginia.

Users press a button to choose a one, three or five-minute story, and the dispenser prints an original short story on a scroll of eco-friendly paper free of charge. The dispenser selects from 100,000 stories written by 8,000 independent authors. The randomized stories are chosen to inspire any number of reactions from readers, from “living a daily moment” to “changing the universe.”

Lisa Nickel, associate dean for research and public services first encountered the machine at the American Library Association Conference in the summer of 2018 and led the acquisition of the dispenser.

“As librarians, we work with students and faculty conducting scholarly research all the time. But, we also believe in promoting the joy of reading for fun, lifelong learning and building community,” Nickel said. “We think the short-story machine will help us do all of that and more.”

Art students learn to see scale through the school’s community lab microscope

William and Mary art students studying scale got to see every aspect of tiny objects writ large as they learned to use the scanning electron microscope at the school.

The idea was to focus on the magnification of very small items for comparison of scale and form, according to Professor of Art and Art History Elizabeth Mead.

Students in her class, Three-dimensional Design: Form and Space, visited the new Small Hall Makerspace which serves as an open community lab incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and studios. Faculty members are exploring ways to integrate various available Makerspace equipment into their lesson plans.

Items used are from William and Mary news releases.

Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at sararose.martin@vagazette.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.

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