Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Low Library 105 Geoscience 207
New York, NY 10025 Palisades, New York 10964
Assistant: Eric Meyer (212-854-8908) Assistant: Jean Leote (845-365-8608)
I’m the founding director of Columbia’s new Center for Climate and Life. We mobilize over 120 scientists to understand how climate impacts the security of food, water, and shelter, and to explore sustainable energy solutions. We partner with industry, finance, and governments, transferring knowledge to build a more resilient, sustainable world.
I use deep-sea sediments as archives of past climate change. Ocean sediments accumulate slowly but continuously and provide records of past changes in Earth climate and ocean circulation over a wide range of timescales, from centuries to millions of years. I’m interested in paleoclimate problems that address climate-human interactions and sustainability.
B.Sc. Geology, St. Lawrence University, cum laude, Honors in Geology (1982).
M.Sc. Oceanography, Graduate School of Oceanography University of Rhode Island (1986).
Ph.D., M. Phil. Geology. Columbia University. Thesis title: "Pliocene-Pleistocene Evolution of Tropical Aridity". Committee: Dr. William F. Ruddiman, advisor, Wally Broecker, Dennis Kent, Paul Olsen (1992).
Sc. D.(hon. causa) St. Lawrence University (2009).
2016 - present Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University
2015 - present Founding Director. Columbia Center for Climate and Life
2007- present Professor, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
2003-2007 Associate Professor, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
2004 Visiting Professor, Université Aix-Marseilles 3. CEREGE (invitation Edouard Bard)
1999-2003 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
1992-1998 Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964.
1992 Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
1986-1992 Graduate Research Assistant, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
1982-1986 Graduate Research Assistant, Graduate School of Oceanography, Univ. of Rhode Island.
1981 GECO Geophysical Company of Norway (US), Inc., Houston, Texas.
1980 Fisherman, Icelandic fishing fleet (Höfn)
1978 Alaska Gold Company, Nome, AK.
Awards and Honors
2014 AGU Cesare Emiliani Lecturer (awarded to "individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions to our understanding of past oceans and climates")
2013 Distinguished Brooksian Award (Brooks School, North Andover, MA. Awarded to a member of the Brooks community “whose life and contributions to society exemplify the nobility of character and usefulness to humanity embodied in the spirit of the school”)
Aug., 2003 Co-Chair, IMAGES Holocene workshop, Bergen, Norway (with Eystein Jansen and Francis Grousset)
July, 2003 Chair, INQUA meeting, Reno, NV. Marine Records of Terrestrial Climate change
April, 2003 Co-Chair, Climate CenterPliocene Tropics Meeting, Lamont (with Mark Cane)
June, 2002 Co-Chair, National Academy of Sciences, Frontiers of Science Meeting: Culture-Climate-Catastrophe
June, 2002 Co-Chair, IMAGES Holocene Working Group (with Francis Grousset)
Dec. 2001 Chair, AGU, San Francisco: Modes and Mechanisms of Holocene Climate Variability
Dec., 2000 Chair: AGU, San Francisco: Paleoclimates: Data and Modeling
Dec., 1999 Co-Chair (with Paul Baker): AGU, San Francisco. Past Changes in Tropical Ocean-Atmosphere Circulation and Terrestrial Climate: Late Neogene Linkages and Mechanisms.
Aug, 1999 Chair. INQUA International Congress, Durban, South Africa. Plenary Theme Symposium on "The environmental background to hominid evolution in Africa".
May, 1999 Co-Chair (with Gerard Bond): AGU, Boston. Complex patterns of climate change during the Pleistocene-Holocene: New insight into mechanisms of past climate variability?
Dec., 1997 Co-Chair: AGU, San Francisco: Climate/Ocean dynamics during the Holocene and Last Interglacial
Oct., 1997 Co-Organizer (with Wally Broecker and Maureen Raymo): Climate Center conference on “The Timing and Oceanographic Consequences of the Closing of the Panama Isthmus”, L-DEO.
May, 1997 Chair: AGU, Baltimore: Paleoclimates: Data and Modeling
Dec., 1997 Co-Organizer (with Gerard Bond): International Climate Center conference on “Modes and Mechanisms of Holocene Climate Variability”, LDEO.
Nov., 1996 Co-Chair: GSA, Denver, CO Hot Topics session: “Plio-Pleistocene African Climate and Evolution”
Dec., 1995 Co-Chair: AGU, San Francisco: Perspectives on Past Climate Changes from Magnetic Studies of Sediments Worldwide.
May, 1995 Co-Chair: AGU, Baltimore: Paleoclimates: Data and Modeling
Invited or Honorary Lectures (2010-Present)
Harvard (2016), Oxford (2016), Yale University (2016); Archeological Inst. America (2016; Plenary), Royal Society of London (2015), Aspen Ideas Festival (2015), CalTech (2015), CARTA San Diego (2015, invited), AGU Emiliani Lecturer (2014), Syracuse Univ. (2014), College de France (2014), MIT (2014), UMASS (Amherst, 2013); Universite de Marseilles (2012), AAAS Meeting (Vancouver, 2012); Simon Fraser University (2012), Yale (2012), Rutgers (2012), University of Toronto (2011); Harvard University (2011)
United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (Jan. 6-10, 2014; Feb. 4, 2014)
Green Schools Alliance, International Advisory Council (2014-present)
2016-present Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University
2015-2016 Department Vice Chair, Earth Institute Faculty
2015-present Exec. Committee, Columbia Sustainability Plan
2015-present Search Committee, Earth Institute Director
2015-present Earth Institute Executive Committee
2013-2015 Co-Chair Science Core Committee (with Philip Kitcher)
2014-2015 Department Vice Chair, Dept. Earth and Environmental Sciences
2011-2014 Department Chair, Dept. Earth and Environmental Sciences
2011, 2010 Columbia Alumni Lectures
2008-2011 Associate Chair, Dept. Earth and Environmental Sciences
2008-2010 Director of Graduate Studies, DEES
2008-2011 Columbia Academic Review Committee
2008-2010 Columbia Committee on Science Instruction
2008-2009 Chair, Paleoceanography Research Scientist selection committee
2005-2010 Columbia Univ. IGERT Program Applied Math & Dept. Earth Env. Sciences Faculty
2003-2010 Frontiers of Science curriculum planning
2003-present CU-DEES, Planning Committee
2003-present Academic Committee, Earth Institute of Columbia University
2002-2010 Student-Faculty relations committee
2001-2010 CICAR steering committee (Cooperative Institute for Climate Applications and Research; NOAA Lamont-GFDL Joint Institute)
National Public Radio, March 2017: WNYC with Brian Lehrer Show: http://www.wnyc.org/story/climate-science-refresher/ FastCompany How wealthy private investors might save climate research https://www.fastcompany.com/3067566/innovation-agents/how-wealthy-private-investors-might-save-climate-research
National Public Radio, Jan. 2017: Morning Edition: http://radio.wosu.org/post/trump-team-moves-climate-scientists-watch-and-worry
National Public Radio, Dec. 2016: Morning Edition: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/13/505309445/trumps-election-leaves-scientists-in-a-climate-of-uncertainty
Vox Populi Aug. 2016. “The surf organization driving ocean research” http://voxpopuli.earth/thetidings/introducing-wsl-pure
Huffington Post Science, May 2016 – “Talk Nerdy To Me” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/talk-nerdy-to-me-anthropocene-epoch_us_5734f2aae4b08f96c182a500
Talks@Columbia May 2016 – “Why Climate Matters” http://talks.sps.columbia.edu/videos/why-climate-matters
PBS, SciTech Now – “What is the Climate Innovation Gap?” (TV, 2/2016) http://www.pbs.org/video/2365718703/
60 Minutes - CBS (TV, 1/2016) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/greenland-60-minutes-climate-change/
COP21-Paris – “Science, Business, and Policy”, International Chamber of Commerce side event (12/2015)
Al Jazeera (TV interview, 9/2015)
The Great Human Odyssey (2015 Documentary Film, CBC and PBS. http://www.cbc.ca/greathumanodyssey/
Al Jazeera (TV interview, 8/2015) https://ajam.boxcn.net/s/wf5sm5u0upune0eonbqt8243ivfzv1x1
Devon Yacht Club (8/2015)
Aspen Ideas Festival (6/2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPSAj3QsEVg
LA Times (3/2015)
Science Friday (Radio, Sept., 2014)
Lycee Francais. Earth Day Symposium. Keynote speaker (2013, 2014)
International Center for Photography, NY City. Keynote speaker. (2014)
CNN, (TV interview, 2013)
Huffington Post, 12/7/2011 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-b-demenocal/beyond-denial-the-next-fr_b_1135050.html
CNN with Christiane Amanpour, (TV interview, 2012), Human Connection to Extreme Weather,
BBC (TV 2012), Human Evolution Series
History Channel(TV, 2009), How the Earth Was Made: The Sahara
CNN (TV interview 2009)
NOVA(TV feature, 2009), Becoming Human
NPR(Radio, 2009) Science Friday
National Geographic (TV, 2009), The End of Earth
ABC News (TV feature, 2009) 2100
The DNA Files, National Public Radio. “The Heat is On: Evolution in Action” (2008)
NOVA, (TV,2007), Human Evolution and Climate Change
Discover Channel(TV, 2007) Why Ancient Egypt Fell
National Public Radio, 2007
Eleventh Hour (Climate change film by Leonardo diCaprio, 2007 release)
History Channel Little Ice Age, Big Chill (TV, 2006)
Artist as Citizen, “Oil, Culture, Democracy” Multimedia social/political/cultural project, New York City (www.artistascitizen.org)
Climate of Uncertainty (Radio, American Public Media, 2004 release)
*EESC W4920 – “Paleoceanography” – Graduate-level core curriculum course co-taught with Jerry McManus and Bärbel Hönisch (2009-2011)
* EESC W4937y – “Cenozoic Paleoceanography” (Offered Spring 2005). Graduate-level core curriculum course on ocean sediments, sedimentary geochemistry, and stratigraphic principles. P. deMenocal and W. Ryan. (2005-present)
* EESC G9802 – “Seminar in Geochemistry”. (2000-present)
U4735 - Environmental Science for Decision-Makers", School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Co-Taught with Walter Pitman, Jim Simpson, and Steve Rayner (2000).
W4126 - New World Environmental Change and Cultural Interactions since the Late Pleistocene (1999, 2000) Graduate/advanced-undergraduate-level course addressing patterns and causes of Holocene climate and social change in the New World. Co-taught with Dr. David Lentz.
* Frontiers of Science: Scientific Habits of Mind. Undergraduate core curriculum course led by Profs. David Helfand and Darcy Kelley (2003-2011).
* V1003 - “Climate and Society: Case Studies”. Introductory undergraduate course addressing the interface between climate science and policy. P. deMenocal (lead; 2001-present)
V2100 – “Introduction to Earth systems: the climate system" (2100X). Advanced undergraduate course on biogeochemical systems and earth climate. Co-taught with three other profs.
V1005 - “The Design and Maintenance of a Habitable Planet" (V1005), co-taught with Dr. Wally Broecker and J. Lynch-Steiglitz. (2000).
Graduate Students (Primary advisor):
Mr. Sam Phelps (started fall 2013)
Mr. Yoni Goldsmith (started Fall 2012)
Dr. Cassaundra Rose (PhD., 2015, now staff scientist for AGI, Wash. D.C.)
Dr. Jennifer Arbuszewski (PhD., 2011, now post-doc at WHOI with Delia Oppo)
Dr. Sarah Feakins (Ph.D., 2007, now Associate Prof, USC)
Dr. Christa Farmer (Ph.D., 2005; now Associate Prof., Hofstra Univ.)
Dr. Heidi Cullen (Ph.D., 2000; now Executive Director, Climate Central)
Ms. Christina Reed (M.S., 1999; now GeoTimes staff writer)
Graduate Students (Committee Member only)
Ms. Amanda Liang (current)
Ms. Laura Hayes (current)
Ms. Logan Brenner (current)
Dr. Jesse Farmer (PhD., 2016))
Dr. Anastasia Yanchilina (PhD, 2016, now at Weizmann Institute, Israel))
Mr. Will Jacobson (withdrew)
Dr. Sanpisa Sritrairat (PhD., 2012; now Assist. Prof at Bard College)
Dr. Katherine Allen (PhD., 2012; now Assist. Prof., Univ. Maine)
Mr. Peter Almasi (withdrew)
Dr. Jennifer Amizade (PhD., 2011)
Dr. Ousmane Ndiaye (Ph.D, 2010)
Dr. Li Cao (Ph.D, 2009)
Dr. Maghan Marrero (Ed.D., 2008, Teachers College)
Dr. Christie Field (Ph.D., 2008, NASA-GISS)
Ms. Gemma Kirkwood (M.S., 2005-2007, withdrew)
Dr. Julie Ferguson (Ph.D, 2008, Oxford)
Dr. Louisa Bradtmiller (Ph.D., 2008, now faculty at Lancaster College)
Ms. Janet Fang (MS, 2008 Columbia Science Journalism Program)
Dr. Julien Emile-Gray (Ph.D., 2006, now Prof. at USC)
Dr. Celine Herweijer (Ph.D., 2006)
Dr. Kirstie Stramler (Ph.D., 2006)
Dr. Neil Pederson (Ph.D., 2005, now LDEO.)
Dr. Tom Koutavas (Ph.D., 2002; now Assistant Prof., CUNY Staten Island)
Dr. Renee Takesui (Ph.D., 2002; now USGS)
Dr. Alex Gianinni (Ph.D., 2000; now IRI Scientist)
Dr. Karen Kohfeld (Ph.D., 1997; now Assistant Prof, CUNY Queens College)
Post-doctoral scientists sponsored:
Dr. Cyrus Karas (2015-2016)
Dr. Renanta Nagai (2014-2015) now Assistant Professor, Brasil.
Dr. Nina Keul (2012-2014) now Future Oceans Post-Doc, Kiel, Germany
Dr. Kevin Uno (2012-2016)
Dr. Zohra Mokkadem (2012-2013)
Dr. Jess Tierney (2010-2012), now Associate Professor at Univ. Arizona
Dr. Caroline Cléroux (Gif-sur-Yvette, 2008-2010), now Assist. Scientist at NIOZ
Dr. Jennifer Cole (SUNY, Stony Brook; 2003-2005)
Dr. Mary Elliot (Gif-sur-Yvette, France) (1999-2001; now faculty at University of Edinborough)
Dr. Dan Collins (NASA/GISS) (1996-1999)
West African Margin (CHEETA Program with Tim Eglinton, 30 days, Summer, 2007)
Gulf of Aden (Co-chief scientist with Gerald Ganssen; 24 days, Spring 2001)
North Atlantic Greenland-Iceland multicoring cruise (Co-Chief Scientist: 28 days, Spring 1998)
Ocean Drilling Program Leg 167 (California Margin; 1996)
Ocean Drilling Program Leg 154 (Ceara Rise; 1994)
Ocean Drilling Program Leg 145 (North Pacific Transect; 1992)
Ocean Drilling Program Leg 128 (Sea of Japan; 1989)
Ocean Drilling Program Leg 117 (Arabian Sea; 1987)
Participation on 4 oceanographic expeditions in the western Atlantic (1982-1985)