Peter b de Menocal

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Current: 20 December 2017

curriculum vitae


Dean of Science

Thomas Alva Edison/ConEd Professor

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Low Library 105 Geoscience 207

New York, NY 10025 Palisades, New York 10964

212-864-4987 845-365-8483

Assistant: Eric Meyer (212-854-8908) Assistant: Jean Leote (845-365-8608)



Research Interests:

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).

Academic Appointments

2016 - present Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University

2015 - present Founding Director. Columbia Center for Climate and Life

2015-2018 Vice Chair, Columbia Earth Institute Faculty

2011- 2014 Department Chair, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

2009- present Professor, Earth Institute, Columbia University

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

Professional experience

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”)

2012 Fellow, American Geophysical Union

2009 Professor of the Year award, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

2009 Sci. D. (Honorary) St. Lawrence University

2008 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award (excellence in Scholarship and Teaching)

2007 Elsevier “Top 50” highly cited paper award, (deMenocal, 2004) – still in top 10 downloads!

1989 Bruce Heezen Award. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (for excellence in graduate research).

1984 Argonne National Laboratories, Graduate research award for research in nuclear waste management.

1983 Sandia National Laboratories, research assistantship with the Low-Level Waste Ocean Disposal Project (LLWODP).

Named Lectureships

2016 Presidential Plenary Lecture. Archeological Inst. Of America (San Francisco)

2015 CARTA UC San Diego/Salk Institute Corresponding Member

2011 University of Toronto Distinguished Lecturer

2011 Schwarzbach-Kolloquium Lecturer, University of Köln

2008 Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Friends Central High School (PA)

2006 Richard Foster Flint Lectureship,Yale University

1998-1999 ODP-USSAC Distinguished Lecturer

Professional Affiliations:

New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (Resource Faculty member)

Explorers Club (New York), Resident Fellow

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Geophysical Union

New York Academy of Science

Sigma Xi

Editorial Positions

2008-2012 Editor, Earth and Planetary Science Letters

1996-2006 Associate Editor, Reviews of Geophysics

Professional Service:


2012-present Scientific Steering Committee, ECOREV – CEREGE (Aix-Marseilles, France)

2010-2012 IODP Renewal Leadership Team

2007-2009 National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council Committee Member: "Understanding Climate's Influence on Human Evolution"

2007 NSF-ESH Research Planning Committee

2006, 2002 National Academy of Sciences: Frontiers in Science (Co-Chair)

2005-present New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (resource Faculty)

2005 NSF Holocene research planning meeting

2005 CLIVAR Atlantic workshop member

2001-2006 NSF-MESH Steering Committee member

2004-2006 UCAR Climate and Global Change Steering Committee (Chair, 2006)

2004-2005 CORE-NSF Future of Ocean Science Research Steering Committee

1997-2005 American Geophysical Union, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Committee

2002 -2003 NSF-MESH “Tropical Paleoclimates” research planning committee (Co-Chair)

2001-2002 NSF-MESH "Decadal-Millennial Scale Climate Variability" research planning committee

2000-2003 USSAC panel member, Joint Oceanographic Institutions

1997-2000 JOIDES Science Steering and Evaluation Panel (ESSEP) for Dynamics of Earth’s Environment

1995 National Science Foundation, Ocean Sciences - MG&G Panelist

1995-2001 Ocean History Panel, ODP (Liason)

Workshops and Conference Participation:

May, 2017 Business-Climate Conference, KKR Headquarters, NYC (with Bruce Usher, Damon Philips, CU Business School).

May, 2017 PAGES The climate record of the past 5 million years: from the seasonal cycle to Ice Ages (Co-convenor)

April, 2017 Business-Climate Roundtable, NYC (Co-convenor with Brucer Usher, CUBS).

Sept 2016 C3 Summit, New York, Panel on climate and security with Gen. Petreaus.

Sept 2016 Oxford University, Human Evolution in Structured Populations (Keynote)

Sept 2016 Blouin Creative Leadership Summit, Metropolitan Club, NYC (Panel with Andy Revikin).

Sept 2015 Blouin Creative Leadership Summit, Metropolitan Club, NYC (Panel with Andy Revkin).

June 2015 Aspen Institute “Oceans and Climate” lecture series. Aspen, CO (Invited)

May 2015 CARTA Symposium “Human-Climate Interactions and Evolution: Past and Future” San Diego (Invited)

June 2014 Past Climate Change and Societal Disruption. Urbino, Italy.

May 2014 Co-Chair, Conference North African Climate and Culture during the Holocene” with Edouard Bard. Collége de France, Paris.

Apr. 2012 Co-Chair, LDEO Conference. Did African Climate Influence Human Evolution? (with R. Leakey, T. Cerling)

Mar. 2011 AGU Chapman Conference on Climates, Past Landscapes, and Civilizations (Org. Committee).

Dec. 2010 Co-Chair, AGU, San Francisco “Frontiers in Scientific Ocean Drilling” (with Demian Saffer, Susan Humphris, Katrina Edwards).

July, 2010 The Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology. Teaching staff.

Dec. 2009 Co-Chair, AGU, San Francisco “Decadal to Century Scale Climate Variability” (with D. Black and J. Schaefer).

Sept. 2009 INVEST IODP planning meeting, Chair working group (Bremen, Germany)

Dec., 2007 Co-Chair, AGU, San Francisco “Advances in Past Hydrologic System and Ocean Paleosalinity Reconstructions” (with M. Schmidt and H. Spero)

Dec., 2006 Co-Chair, National Academy of Sciences, Frontiers of Science Meeting, Climate Change

Nov. 2006 United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP, New York), “Climate Change - Risks and Opportunities for the Finance Sector”

May, 2006 Plio-Pleistocene climatic changes, faunal turnovers and human dispersals, Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Tarragona, Spain (Sci. Comm)

Mar., 2006 Co-Chair, UCAR Climate and Global Change Post-Doc selection Committee (AMNH)

Mar., 2006 Chair, Workshop on Tropical Cyclones and Climate (LDEO, IRI)

Dec., 2004 Co-Chair, AGU, San Francisco “A Tropical Perspective on the Ice Ages” (with George Philander and Alexey Federov).

Dec., 2004 Co-Chair, AGU, San Francisco “Stable isotopes and Stratigraphy: Cenozoic Paleoceanography” Special Session honoring the career of Nick Shackleton. (with H. Elderfield, G. Henderson)

Sept., 2004 Co-Chair Bjerknes Centennary Conference (Bergen, Norway) “Climate Change in High-Latitudes”

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 Center Pliocene 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)

International Service

United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (Jan. 6-10, 2014; Feb. 4, 2014)

Green Schools Alliance, International Advisory Council (2014-present)
University Service:

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)

1999-2010 LDEO Climate Center Committee

2003-2008 Educational subcommittee, Earth Institute of Columbia University

2004-2008 LODOS Steering Committee

2002-2007 Director of Undergraduate Studies, DEES

2007-2008 Member, Storke-Doherty Lecturer selection committee

2004-2007 Chair, Paleoceanography faculty search committee

2005 Gender Equity Committee, DEES

2005 Dean’s Day University Lecture

2005 Columbia University Scholar’s lecture program

2003-2004 Lamont Strategic Research Planning document (Abrupt Climate Change)

2003-2006 Co-Chair, Earth Institute Fellows selection committee

2004 Earth Institute Fellows Committee

2003 Environmental Science Department review panel (Barnard College)

2002-2003 Member, Storke-Doherty Lecturer selection committee

2001-2002 Graduate curriculum reform committee (Paleoclimates)

2002 Chair, LDEO post-doctoral selection committee

2001 LDEO Core Curriculum development, lead (Paleoclimate/Paleoceanography)

1999-2002 Executive Committee, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

  1. Chair, LDEO post-doctoral selection committee

1999-2002 Member CEI SMART grant committee

1999, 1996 Lamont-Doherty Post-Doctoral selection committee

1999 LDEO Jardetsky Lecturer selection committee

1996 Earth Institute planning committee

Outreach and Media (Selected)

National Public Radio, March 2017: WNYC with Brian Lehrer Show: FastCompany How wealthy private investors might save climate research

National Public Radio, Jan. 2017: Morning Edition:

National Public Radio, Dec. 2016: Morning Edition:

Vox Populi Aug. 2016. “The surf organization driving ocean research”

Huffington Post Science, May 2016 – “Talk Nerdy To Me”

Talks@Columbia May 2016 – “Why Climate Matters”

PBS, SciTech Now – “What is the Climate Innovation Gap?” (TV, 2/2016)

60 Minutes - CBS (TV, 1/2016)

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.

Al Jazeera (TV interview, 8/2015)

Devon Yacht Club (8/2015)

Aspen Ideas Festival (6/2015)

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

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)

    1. Artist as Citizen, “Oil, Culture, Democracy” Multimedia social/political/cultural project, New York City (

Climate of Uncertainty (Radio, American Public Media, 2004 release)

BBC feature, Ancient Apocalypse (TV, 2001)


Graduate Courses (*current offerings)

*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.

Undergraduate Courses

* 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)

Oceanographic Cruises:

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)

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