Peter B. de Menocal



As Dean of Science of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I oversee Columbia’s nine science departments. We’ve launched a new capital campaign initiative - Columbia Science Commits - to advance fundamental science discovery, and to accelerate the knowledge needed to inform solutions in neuroscience, precision medicine, climate, big data, and nanoscience.

I’m the founding director of Columbia’s Center for Climate and Life. We mobilize over 120 scientists to understand how climate impacts life’s essentials -  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.

My research uses 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 currently interested in paleoclimate problems that inform human dimensions of climate change.



113.    Karas, C., Goldstein, S.L., deMenocal, P.B. Evolution of Antarctic Intermediate Water during the Plio-Pleistocene and implications for global climate. Quat. Sci. Reviews (2019). Karas.etal.2019.pdf

112.    Dai, Y., Yu, J., deMenocal, P., Hayams-Kaphzan, O. Influences of temperature and secondary environmental parameters on planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca: A new core‐top calibration. G-cubed (2019). Dai.etal.2019.pdf

111.Goldsmith, Y., Polissar, P., deMenocal., P.B., Broecker, W.S., Leaf wax D and 13C in soils record hydrological and environmental information across a climatic gradient in Israel. JGR, Biosciences. (2019).

110.Dieno, A., deMenocal, P., King, J., C. Brenhin Keller, Erik Brown, Anna Behrensmeyer, Clifford Heil,. Rene Dommain, Jessica Moerman, Richard Potts, Emily Beverly, Mona Stockhecke. Chronostratigraphic model of a high-resolution drill core record of the past million years from the Koora Basin, south Kenya Rift: Overcoming the difficulties of variable sedimentation rate and hiatuses. Quat. Res. Sci. 215, 213-231. (2019)

109. Polissar, P., Rose, C., Uno, K., Phelps, S., deMenocal, P.B. Synchronous rise of African C4 ecosystems 10 million years ago in the absence of aridification. Nature Geoscience (2019)

108.    Carrion, J.S., Scott, L., deMenocal, P.B. Paleofloras, paleovegetation, and human evolution. Rev. Paleobotany and Palynology (2019)

107.    Yasuhara, M., deMenocal, Dwyer, G., Cronin, T., Okahashi, H., Huang, M. North Atlantic intermediate water variability over the last 20,000 years. Geology. (2019)

106.    deMenocal, P.B., 2019. Obituary: Wallace Smith Broecker. Nature. (2019) deMenocal.Broecker.obit.2019.pdf

105. Gallagher, S.J., and P.B. deMenocal. 2019. Finding dry spells in ocean sediments. Oceanography 32(1):60–63. (2019)


Dean of Science

Thomas Alva Edison/Con Ed Professor Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


In the news:

How a 7th-grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement. Washington Post 2/16/2019

“Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin, WNYC/NPR radio 2/5/2019

California scientists push to create massive climate-research programme  Nature Aug. 16, 2017

“Just don’t call it climate change” Business Insider. July 2017

Climate 101. WNYC Brian Lehrer Show, March 2017.

NPR Trump and Climate Science Jan, 2017

HuffPo Science “Talk Nerdy to Me” May, 2016

SciTechNow (PBS) What is the Climate Innovation Gap? April 26, 2016

Talks@Columbia Why does climate matter? April 29, 2016

$1.5M Climate & Life science funding from the World Surf League (vid)

Nature OpEd Center for Climate and Life ,Feb. 2, 2016

Nature news: Center for Climate and Life, Feb. 1, 2016

Columbia launches new Center for Climate and Life!

Columbia Record Nov. 18, 2015

“Ocean sediments suggest dry future for Horn of Africa”, H. Hoag, Nature News 2015

“Fixing the Climate Innovation Gap”, HuffPo (May 2, 2015)

How Somali Pirates Almost (but Not Quite) Halted Vital Climate Change Research, The Atlantic (Oct. 16, 2013)