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Newberry Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
301 Comer
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8413
(845) 365-8155


Fields of interest: 
Role of the oceans in climate change using isotopes.

As I sometimes tell my students My research is directed toward the role of the oceans in climate change. Over the last several hundred thousand years, the folks in the back room who designed our planet were pretty clever. We have clear evidence that different parts of the earth's climate system are linked in very subtle yet dramatic ways.

The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth's climate system is engineered climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.

We place strong emphasis on using isotopes as a means to understand physical mixing and chemical cycling in the ocean ,so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do and the climate history as recorded in marine sediments.  ,we cannot make good predictions about future climate change. and the climate history as recorded in marine sediments.

  • Broecker and Clark planktonic foraminifera weight database ( details )


List of degrees from highest to lowest:
Master of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
Honors & Awards: 
2015 Honorary Doctorate Harvard University
2015 Honorary Doctorate Oxford University
2015 Honorary Doctorate Waterloo University
2009 Honorary Doctorate Cambridge University
2008 Honorary Doctorate Southern Methodist University
2004 Honorary Doctorate Penn State University
2014 Distinguished Achievement Award, Columbia University
2013 National Institute of Social Sciences Medalist
2009 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award
2008 Balzan Prize
2008 Benjamin Franklin Medal
2006 Crafoord Prize
2002 Tyler Prize
2002 Arthur L. Day Prize
1999 State of Nevada Science Medal
1997 Distinguished Alumni Award, Oak Park High School
1996 Blue Planet Prize
1996 National Medal of Science
1995 Roger Revelle Medal
1990 Wollaston Medal
1990 Joseph Priestly Award
1987 Vetlesen Prize
1986 Alexander Agassiz Medal
1986 V. M. Goldschmidt Award
1985 A.G. Huntsman Award
1984 Arthur L. Day Medal
1982 Urey Medal
1979 Maurice W. Ewing Medal

Referenced in the Following News Items:

Featured in the Following Videos:

Selected Publications:

The 13C record for atmospheric CO2: What is it trying to tell us? Broecker, W.S.; McGee, D. Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2013)
Broecker, Wallace S.; Putnam, A.E. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (2013)
Long-term reworking of volcanic ash deposited in the abyssal ocean based on uranium and thorium isotope measurements Wang, Xianfeng, Broecker, W.S. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Issue: 264 p.: 66-71 (2013)
How to think about the evolution of the ratio of Mg to Ca in seawater Broecker, W.S. American Journal of Science 10/2013 Volume: 313 p.: 776-789 (2013)
Radiocarbon-age differences among coexisting planktic foraminifera shells: The Barer Effect Broecker, Wallace, S.; Clark, E. Paleoceanography Volume: 26 (2011)
An evaluation of benthic foraminiferal B/Ca and d11B for deep ocean carbonate ion and pH reconstructions Yu, J M; Foster, G L; Elderfield, H; Broecker, W S; Clark, E Earth Planetary Science Letters Volume: 293 Issue: 1-2 p.: 114-120 (2010)
Mineral sequestration of carbon dioxide in basalt: the CarbFix project Gislason, S R; Wolff-Boenisch, D; Stefansson, A; Oelkers, E; Gunnlaugsson, E; Sigurdardottir, H; Sigfusson, B; Broecker, W; Matter, J; Stute, M; Axelsson, G; Fridriksson, T International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (2010)
The CarbFix Pilot Project - storing carbon dioxide in basalt Matter, J M; Broecker, W; Gislason, S R; Gunnlaugsson, E; Oelkers, E; Stute, M; Sigurdardottir, H; Wolff-Boenisch, D; Axelsson, G; Sigfusson, B Energy Procedia (2010)
Dustiness drives Gustiness McGee, D; Broecker, W S; Winckler, G Quaternary Science Reviews (2010)
Long-Term Water Prospects in the Western United States Broecker, Wallace Journal of Climate (2010)
Search for a glacial-age 14C-depleted ocean reservoir Broecker, Wallace S.; Clark, E. Geophysical Research Letters Volume: 37 Issue: L13606 (2010)
Loss of Carbon from the Deep Sea Since the Last Glacial Maximum Yu, Jimin; Broecker, W.S.; Elderfield, H.; Jin, Z.; McManus, J.; Zhang, F. Science (2010)
Rock varnish microlamination dating of late Quaternary geomorphic features in the drylands of western USA Liu, Tanzhuo, Broecker, W.S. Geomorphology - ScienceDirect p.: 501-523 (2008)
Is the magnitude of the carbonate ion decrease in the abyssal ocean over the last 8 kyr consistent with the 20 ppm rise in atmospheric CO2 content? Broecker, W.; Clark, E. Paleoceanography Jan 17 Volume: 22 Issue: 1 p.: - (2007) Doi 10.1029/2006pa001311
The role of seasonality in abrupt climate change Denton, G. H.; Alley, R. B.; Comer, G. C.; Broecker, W. S. Quaternary Science Reviews May Volume: 24 Issue: 10-11 p.: 1159-1182 (2005) DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.12.002
Glacial ventilation rates for the deep Pacific Ocean Broecker, W. S.; Clark, E.; Hajdas, I.; Bonani, G. Paleoceanography Apr 2 Volume: 19 Issue: 2 p.: - (2004) Doi 10.1029/2003pa000974
Pseudo dissolution of marine calcite Broecker, W. S.; Clark, E. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Mar 30 Volume: 208 Issue: 3-4 p.: 291-296 (2003) Doi 10.1016/S0012-821x(03)00051-7
A dramatic Atlantic dissolution event at the onset of the last glaciation Broecker, W.; Clark, E. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems Nov 2 Volume: 2 p.: art. no.-2001GC000185 (2001)
Factors controlling the rate of CaCO3 precipitation on Great Bahama Bank Broecker, W. S.; Langdon, C.; Takahashi, T. Global Biogeochemical Cycles Sep Volume: 15 Issue: 3 p.: 589-596 (2001)
Factors influencing Be-7 accumulation on rock varnish Moore, W. S.; Liu, T. Z.; Broecker, W. S.; Finkel, R. C.; Wright, A. Geophysical Research Letters Dec 1 Volume: 28 Issue: 23 p.: 4475-4478 (2001)
Reevaluation of the CaCO3 size index paleocarbonate ion proxy Broecker, W. S.; Clark, E. Paleoceanography Dec Volume: 16 Issue: 6 p.: 669-671 (2001)
Late glacial diatom accumulation at 9 degrees S in the Indian Ocean Broecker, W. S.; Clark, E.; Lynch-Stieglitz, J.; Beck, W.; Stott, L. D.; Hajdas, I.; Bonani, G. Paleoceanography Jun Volume: 15 Issue: 3 p.: 348-352 (2000)
The origin of Bahamian whitings revisited Broecker, W. S.; Sanyal, A.; Takahashi, T. Geophysical Research Letters Nov 15 Volume: 27 Issue: 22 p.: 3759-3760 (2000)
A clue regarding the origin of rock varnish Fleisher, M.; Liu, T. Z.; Broecker, W. S.; Moore, W. Geophysical Research Letters Jan 1 Volume: 26 Issue: 1 p.: 103-106 (1999)
How strong is the Harvardton-Bear constraint? Broecker, W.; Lynch-Stieglitz, J.; Archer, D.; Hofmann, M.; Maier-Reimer, E.; Marchal, O.; Stocker, T.; Gruber, N. Global Biogeochemical Cycles Dec Volume: 13 Issue: 4 p.: 817-820 (1999)
How much deep water is formed in the Southern Ocean? Broecker, W. S.; Peacock, S. L.; Walker, S.; Weiss, R.; Fahrbach, E.; Schroeder, M.; Mikolajewicz, U.; Heinze, C.; Key, R.; Peng, T. H.; Rubin, S. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Jul 15 Volume: 103 Issue: C8 p.: 15833-15843 (1998)
Paleocean circulation during the last deglaciation: A bipolar seesaw? Broecker, W. S. Paleoceanography Apr Volume: 13 Issue: 2 p.: 119-121 (1998)
A reassessment of U-Th and C-14 ages for late-glacial high-frequency hydrological events at Searles Lake, California Lin, J. C.; Broecker, W. S.; Hemming, S. R.; Hajdas, I.; Anderson, R. F.; Smith, G. I.; Kelley, M.; Bonani, G. Quaternary Research Jan Volume: 49 Issue: 1 p.: 11-23 (1998)
Mountain glaciers: Recorders of atmospheric water vapor content? Broecker, W. S. Global Biogeochemical Cycles Dec Volume: 11 Issue: 4 p.: 589-597 (1997)
New Th-230/U and C-14 ages from Lake Lahontan carbonates, Nevada, USA, and a discussion of the origin of initial thorium Lin, J. C.; Broecker, W. S.; Anderson, R. F.; Hemming, S.; Rubenstone, J. L.; Bonani, G. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta Aug Volume: 60 Issue: 15 p.: 2817-2832 (1996)
Evidence for a Higher Ph in the Glacial Ocean from Boron Isotopes in Foraminifera Sanyal, A.; Hemming, N. G.; Hanson, G. N.; Broecker, W. S. Nature Jan 19 Volume: 373 Issue: 6511 p.: 234-236 (1995)
The Effect of Changing Land-Use on Soil Radiocarbon Harrison, K. G.; Broecker, W. S.; Bonani, G. Science Oct 29 Volume: 262 Issue: 5134 p.: 725-729 (1993)
The Influence of Atmospheric Moisture Transport on the Fresh-Water Balance of the Atlantic Drainage-Basin - General-Circulation Model Simulations and Observations Zaucker, F.; Broecker, W. S. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres Feb 28 Volume: 97 Issue: D3 p.: 2765-2773 (1992)
The Role of Ocean-Atmosphere Reorganizations in Glacial Cycles Broecker, W. S.; Denton, G. H. Quaternary Science Reviews Volume: 9 Issue: 4 p.: 305-341 (1990)
The Global Geochemistry of Bomb-Produced Tritium - General-Circulation Model Compared to Available Observations and Traditional Interpretations Koster, R. D.; Broecker, W. S.; Jouzel, J.; Suozzo, R. J.; Russell, G. L.; Rind, D.; White, J. W. C. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres Dec 20 Volume: 94 Issue: D15 p.: 18305-18326 (1989)
The Radiocarbon Budget for Mono Lake - an Unsolved Mystery Broecker, W. S.; Wanninkhof, R.; Mathieu, G.; Peng, T. H.; Stine, S.; Robinson, S.; Herczeg, A.; Stuiver, M. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Apr Volume: 88 Issue: 1-2 p.: 16-26 (1988)
Unpleasant Surprises in the Greenhouse Broecker, W. S. Nature Jul 9 Volume: 328 Issue: 6126 p.: 123-126 (1987)
A Deliberate Tracer Experiment in Santa-Monica Basin Ledwell, J. R.; Watson, A. J.; Broecker, W. S. Nature Sep 25 Volume: 323 Issue: 6086 p.: 322-324 (1986)
Hydrography, Chemistry, and Radioisotopes in the Southeast-Asian Basins Broecker, W. S.; Patzert, W. C.; Toggweiler, J. R.; Stuiver, M. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Dec 15 Volume: 91 Issue: C12 p.: 14345-14354 (1986)
Does the Ocean-Atmosphere System Have More Than One Stable Mode of Operation Broecker, W. S.; Peteet, D. M.; Rind, D. Nature Volume: 315 Issue: 6014 p.: 21-26 (1985)
A New Method for Monitoring Temporal Trends in the Acidity of Fresh Waters Herczeg, A. L.; Broecker, W. S.; Anderson, R. F.; Schiff, S. L.; Schindler, D. W. Nature Volume: 315 Issue: 6015 p.: 133-135 (1985)
Redfield Ratio Based on Chemical-Data from Isopycnal Surfaces Takahashi, T.; Broecker, W. S.; Langer, S. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Volume: 90 Issue: Nc4 p.: 6907-6924 (1985)
Sources and Flow Patterns of Deep-Ocean Waters as Deduced from Potential Temperature, Salinity, and Initial Phosphate Concentration Broecker, W. S.; Takahashi, T.; Takahashi, T. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans Volume: 90 Issue: Nc4 p.: 6925-6939 (1985)
Radiocarbon Measurements on Coexisting Benthic and Planktic Foraminifera Shells - Potential for Reconstructing Ocean Ventilation Times over the Past 20000 Years Broecker, W.; Mix, A.; Andree, M.; Oeschger, H. Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research Section B-Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms Volume: 233 Issue: 2 p.: 331-339 (1984)
The Bay of Bengal - a Major Nutrient Source for the Deep Indian-Ocean Broecker, W. S.; Toggweiler, J. R.; Takahashi, T. Earth and Planetary Science Letters Volume: 49 Issue: 2 p.: 506-512 (1980)
Gas-Exchange Rates for 3 Closed-Basin Lakes Peng, T. H.; Broecker, W. Limnology and Oceanography Volume: 25 Issue: 5 p.: 789-796 (1980)
Fate of Fossil-Fuel Carbon-Dioxide and the Global Carbon Budget Broecker, W. S.; Takahashi, T.; Simpson, H. J.; Peng, T. H. Science Volume: 206 Issue: 4417 p.: 409-418 (1979)
Property Distributions Along the Sigma-Theta= 26.8 Isopycnal in the Atlantic Ocean Broecker, W. S.; Ostlund, H. G. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and Atmospheres Volume: 84 Issue: Nc3 p.: 1145-1154 (1979)
Estimate of the Upwelling Rate in the Equatorial Atlantic Based on the Distribution of Bomb Radiocarbon Broecker, W. S.; Peng, T. H.; Stuiver, M. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and Atmospheres Volume: 83 Issue: Nc12 p.: 6179-6186 (1978)
Excess Bottom Rn-222 Distribution in Deep Ocean Passages Sarmiento, J. L.; Broecker, W. S.; Biscaye, P. E. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and Atmospheres Volume: 83 Issue: Nc10 p.: 5068-5076 (1978)
Climatic Change - Are We on Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming Broecker, W. S. Science Volume: 189 Issue: 4201 p.: 460-463 (1975)
Surface Effect on Isotopic Fractionation between Co2 and Some Carbonate Minerals Hamza, M. S.; Broecker, W. S. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta Volume: 38 Issue: 5 p.: 669-681 (1974)
Gas-Exchange Rates in a Small Lake as Determined by Radon Method Emerson, S.; Broecker, W.; Schindle.Dw Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada Volume: 30 Issue: 10 p.: 1475-1484 (1973)
Surface-Areas of Biogenic Carbonates and Their Relation to Fossil Ultrastructure and Diagenesis Anderson, T. F.; Bender, M. L.; Broecker, W. S. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology Volume: 43 Issue: 2 p.: 471-477 (1973)