Welcome to my homepage!

I'm an Assistant Professor at Columbia University and part of the Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics Division of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. In my research, I study sea level changes ranging from the past glacial cycles to Millions of years ago in order to infer ice mass changes and ice sheet stability as well as constrain the Earth's rheology. I also work on geodynamic and plate tectonic problems dealing with plate driving forces and dynamics of the Earth's deep interior.

My CV can be found here (last updated 12/2022).


Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Columbia University
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Seismology Bldg. Room 223
61 Route 9W
Palisades, NY 10964-8000 USA

email: jackya [at] ldeo [dot] columbia [dot] edu


August 2022: Lamont fellow Alireza Bahadori just published a paper on coupling mantle convection to tectonics, surface processes, and climate to better understand landscape evolution in southwestern North America. Thank you Ali for letting me participate in this work, which allows me to get back to my tectonics roots!

July 2022: This year's PALSEA meeting took place in Singapore and Roger and Andrew L. represented the Lamont sea level group!. I'm sorry I wasn't able to participate, it sure looked like a great event. Thanks to all the organizers!

July 2022: Exciting funding alert! Joerg Schaefer's FRES grant on quantifying the contribution of mountain glaciers to sea level change from 1900 - 2100 was funded! I'm a co-PI and am looking forward to working with this interdisciplinary team to better understand the geographic pattern of sea level change from mountain glaciers!

April 2022: Postdoc Guy Paxman is moving on to his new position as a Leverhulme Fellow at Durham University! He's had an incredibly productive time at Lamont despite the pandemic (including a new paper that just came out on the Total Rebound of polar ice sheets). We wish him all the best and hope for continued exciting collaborations!

March 2022: Shoutout to Roger's first paper Postglacial relative sea level change in Norway. What an impressive and comprehensive piece of work!

February 2022: Welcome to two new postdocs joining the group: Alireza Bahadori is a Lamont fellow who is working on investigating the links between mantle convection, crustal deformation, surface processes, and climate (!) of the African rift system, and Evelyn Powell is working with Prof. Jim Davis on using multi-decadal Fennoscandian geodetic data to constrain Greenland ice mass loss and solid Earth structure.

January 2022: My husband and I welcomed our son Philip George Richardson! I will be on partial maternity leave during spring and summer this year.

December 2021: I've worked with the rest of the sea level group to formulate the values, culture, and expectations of our group. I'm excited to share it here.

November 2021: Funding alert! Jonny Kingslake and I are part of an international team to drill through the Antarctic ice sheet and into the bedrock to understand how stable the Antarctic ice sheet was in the past. Check out this article summarizing the effort. We'll be hiring a postdoc to work with us on this a little down the road so if you're interested, reach out!

October 2021: I did a TED talk as part of Lamont Open house this year, which was a very interesting experience. Check out the recording here: Solid Facts and Missing Pieces: What Rocks Can Tell Us About Sea Level Change.

September 2021: I feel very honored to start my 2 year term as a Sloan Fellow. It's even more exciting to share this honor with so many of my former gradschool colleagues (congrats Emmy, Sierra, and Justin!). .

August 2021: Our NSF-funded work on Last Interglacial sea level has led to two publications this month: (1) Sea-level trends across The Bahamas constrain peak last interglacial ice melt led by Blake Dyer and The effect of lateral variations in Earth structure on Last Interglacial sea level let by me - both papers involved a lot of work by a lot of people! Check out this article by the State of the Planet that summarizes the work.

March 2021: EOS published an article on the Geo Context work that I've been fortunate to been part of.

February 2021: I'm so lucky to have so many great postdocs in my group and the community agrees: Oana Dumitru was the winner of the Quaternary 2020 Young Investigator Award and Kerry Callaghan was this year's 2nd place award winner of the 2021 Syvitski Student Modeler Competition! Do you also have great postdocs? Nominate them!

February 2021: I'm excited for a new postdoc to join our group! Kerry Callaghan is joining us after a PhD from the University of Minnesota where she worked on computing water flow and storage in complex landscapes. The goal for her postdoc is understanding terrestrial water storage from LGM to present.

December 2020: The development of geology as a discipline is intertwined with the history of imperialism, colonialism, and Westward Expansion in the United States. Yet, this social and political backdrop is normally omitted in Earth science classes. It's been exciting to be part of a group of early career scientists that have worked on short teaching modules that highlight these aspects. These GeoContext modules are designed such that they can be incorporated into any existing course: Check out the modules!

November 2020: Postdoc Guy Paxman discovered a paleo lake basin beneatch the Greenland Ice Sheet that promises to hold important paleoclimate records! The paper is now published and has gotten a lot of media attention. Here is for example the VICE article.

October 2020: So excited to see that postdoc Mark Hoggard was awarded the 2021 Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award in the Geodynamics Division of EGU. Fantastic achievement Mark, congratulations!

October 2020: Over this year mezzo-soprano Lea-Luka Sikau and composer Eve O'Donnell worked with me to compose and record a music piece on my sea level research! Check out the music video here and on this dedicated website Scisound.com as well as more links to presentations around this in the 'Teaching and Outreach' tab.

September 2020: This year's joint PALSEA-SERCE meeting was supposed to be held at Lamont. In light of the pandemic we moved things online and had a fantastic group of speakers and poster presentations. It was great to see that our Virtual Meeting had over 120 participants!

August 2020: After a break last year, I had the chance to participate again in this year's ASPECT Hackathon. It is great to be part of this community and take some time to make progress on including adjoint approaches in ASPECT.

April 2020: I'm so excited to be a 2020-2021 CIG Distinguished Speaker. The CIG Speakers Series seeks to promote computational modeling in geodynamics and related earth science disciplines. Institutions interested in hosting a speaker can apply here.

March 2020: I'm very proud of my graduate student Roger Creel, who received an honorable mention from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

January 2020: We spend 4 days in Nuuk, Greenland to kick-off our NSF funded project Greenland Rising. It was a great time to get to know our Greenlandic collaborators from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. Nuuk in January is magical.

January 2020: I'm very excited to welcome two new postdocs to the extended group! Andrew Lloyd is joining me and David Al-Attar (Cambridge University) to use adjoint GIA modeling to image Earth's mantle viscosity. Oana Dumitru will be working with myself and Maureen Raymo to use Bahamian archives such as corals, caves, and carbonate deposits to better understand sea level during the Last Interglacial.

January 2020: New paper alert! We looked at what paleo shorelines of ancient Lake Bonneville can teach us about Earth's viscosity and the Laurentide ice sheet. EOS wrote a great article about it.

December 2019: I'm very honored to receive the 2019 Jason Morgan Early Career Award from the American Geophysical Union.

December 2019: The group is growing! Super excited to welcome Guy Paxman to the group who will be a postdoc working with Kirsty Tinto and myself on better understanding the topographic evolution of Greenland! Timely, here is a nice EOS article about his recent work on the importance of Antarctic bedrock topography.

October 2019: I participated in a panel discussion on the topic: Should New York Build a Storm Surge Barrier? The full video can be found here. This was a great event and I learned a lot preparing for it!

September 2019: It was amazing to be a lecturer at the CoChE. Coastal Changes and Evolution summer school. So great to spend some time in Italy and learn about different sea level markers.

August 2019: Our paper on Pliocene sea level was published in Nature! I believe this is the best estimate to date of global mean sea level during different periods of the Pliocene.

July 2019: We organized the Palsea 2019 meeting in Dublin just prior to INQUA. It was a great meeting and I learned a lot about new ecological and chronological constraints on past sea level.

June 2019: We've spent 3 weeks on the Bahamas for our NSF funded project "Reconstructing last interglacial sea level based on models and observations from the Bahamas". Check out these pictures on Blake Dyer's website from our trip.

May 2019: The PAGES Magazine is out with many articles on "Paleo Constrains on Sea-Level Rise". Check it out to see where this field is at.

May 2019: Andrew Hollyday will join my research lab as a graduate student this summer. Welcome to Lamont, Andrew!

November 2018: Ophelia Crawford won one of the two 2018 best student paper awards from GJI for our paper on 3D sensitivity kernels of post-glacial sea level. Congratulations to Ophelia and her advisor David Al-Attar!

September 2018: Roger Creel joined my research lab as a graduate student. Welcome to Lamont, Roger!

June 2018: In an article led by Hubertus Fischer, we reviewed paleoclimate constraints on the impact of 2ºC anthropogenic warming and beyond. The Nature Geoscience paper came out today. Here is a blog post on the topic.

May 2018: In March I joined Maureen Raymo's team to map, date, and understand sea level variations in Barbados. Here is the story/video and the slideshow on this trip: 'How High Can Seas Rise'.

March 2018: I joined Lamont Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History to celebrate Sun-Earth Day and tell people about the Rising Seas.

February 2018: The PALSEA (PALeo constraints on SEA level rise) working group is a great community that aims to advance our knowledge of paleo sea level change. The current phase - PALSEA2 - has come to an end and I'm honored to join Alessio Rovere, Natasha Barlow, and Jeremy Shakun in leading the next phase of PALSEA over the next four years. To start off here is the new website. Go to 'contact us' to sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date for upcoming palsea meetings and conference sessions.

January 2018: I have arrived at Lamont and am excited to start research and teaching at this great institution.

October 2017: I added a Teaching tab with a video of sea level change over the past four glacial cycles and other fun science links.

July 2017: Two of our papers came out! They are on last interglacial sea level and show that dynamic topography and the configuration of MIS 6 ice sheets matter when reconstructing excess ice melt during that time.

December 2016: Come find me at AGU!. I will be giving a presentation on 'The singal of mantle convection in past interglacial sea level highstands' on Thursday from 5.15pm - 5.30pm in the PALSEA Session (Moscone West - 2010).

October 2016: Next spring at EGU in Vienna I'm convening a session on Solid Earth and Climate Interactions. Consider submitting an abstract to our session! The submission deadling is January 11th 2017.

October 2016: I started my postdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge in the group of Nicky White.

June 2016: I defended my PhD thesis this spring but am happy to stay on as a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard until the end of August. I'm very excited to start a postdoctoral research position at the University of Cambridge in October.

February 2016: Conferences travel for this year is booked. I will be at the CIDER community workshop in May and the 12th International Conference on Paleoceanography (ICP12) in the end of August.

October 2015: Check out our paper on The impact of dynamic topography change on Antarctic Ice Sheet stability during the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period that came out in Geology.

July 2015: I will attend the CIDER Summer Program, which this year has the topic 'Solid Earth Dynamics and Climate - Mantle Interactions with the Hydrosphere and Carbosphere'.

July 2015: I'm invited to give a talk at this year's PALSEA2 meeting in Japan.

May 2015: I participated in another Science In The News event this spring. After getting my feet wet at Science by the Pint last summer, I joined their Seminar Series this spring and gave a talk entitled "Understanding Sea Level Change by Diving into the Past" on May 6th, which was videotaped and is online!

May 2015: I attended the ASPECT hackathon. ASPECT is a mantle convection code that has been developed by Wolfgang Bangerth and Timo Heister and the hackathon serves to further improve and develop the code. Check out the github repository for the developer version and recent commits to the code.

January 2015: We're on a group sabbatical at Stanford from January to March 2015!

October 2014: I am part of the NSF funded PLIOMAX project, which tries to reconcile Pliocene sea level. Check out their homepage for more infos as well as this site with general information on sea level change.

Jacky Austermann
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Columbia University
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

email: jackya [at] ldeo [dot] columbia [dot] edu