Peter B. de Menocal



I am a paleoceanographer who uses deep-sea sediments as archives of past climate change. Ocean sediments accumulate slowly but continuously and provide detailed records of past changes in Earth climate and ocean circulation over a wide range of timescales. I’m currently interested in paleoclimate problems that inform human dimensions of climate change.

I’m the founding director of Columbia’s Center for Climate and Life, a research accelerator that mobilizes Lamont-Doherty 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 inform solutions.



115. Mellon, S, Kienast, M., Algar, C., deMenocal, P., Kienast, S., Marchitto, T., Moros, M., Thomas, H., Foraminifera trace anthropogenic CO2 in the NW Atlantic by 1950. Geophysical Research Letters. (2019). Mellon_et_al.2019.GRL.pdf

114. Polissar, P., Rose, C., Uno, K., Phelps, S., deMenocal, P.B. Reply to 'Comment to Polissar et al. ‘Synchronous rise of African C4 ecosystems 10 million 2 years ago in the absence of aridification’' Nature Geoscience (2019).

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). Goldsmith etal 2019.pdf

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). Deino.etal2019.pdf

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). Polissar et al.2019.pdf

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

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)


Director, Center for Climate and Life

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

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


In the news:

GOP Bill will seek to commit US to planting 3.3 billion trees annually. The Hill 2/2/2020

Second Hottest Year on Record Capped Warmest-Ever Decade. Bloomberg News 1/15/2020

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)