Jason E Smerdon

Jason E. Smerdon is a Professor of Climate within the Columbia Climate School, Co-Senior Director for Education, and Co-Director of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development. He teaches courses on climate, environmental change and sustainable development to undergraduate and graduate students. Smerdon also lectures widely in public and private settings on the subject of climate change and its social dimensions.  

Smerdon’s research focuses on climate variability and change during the past several millennia and how past climates can help us understand future climate change. He publishes widely in the scientific literature on paleoclimate reconstruction techniques, the dynamics of past climate change and variability, and on assessing climate model simulations of the past and future using paleoclimatic information. In 2013, Smerdon served as a Contributing Author to Assessment Report Five (WG1) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is co-author (with Ed Mathez) of the textbook Climate Change: The Science of Global Warming and Our Energy Future (Columbia University Press, September 2018).

Smerdon received his B.A. in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College and his Ph.D. in applied physics from the University of Michigan.

Fields of Interest

Common-Era Paleoclimatology, Climate Modeling, Hydroclimate, Climate Variability, Climate Change


  • Ph.D., Applied Physics, University of Michigan, 2004
  • M.S., Physics, University of Michigan, 2000 
  • B.A., Physics Major, Gustavus Adolphus College, 1998

Honors & Awards

  • 2018 LDEO Excellence in Mentoring Award
  • 2013 GRL Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing
  • 2009 Distinguished Visiting Researcher at the UCM-Grupo Santander, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • 2008 James Chair Visiting Professor, St. Francis Xavier University
  • 2008 First Decade Award for Early Professional Achievement, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • 2007 Storke-Doherty Lectureship Award, Columbia University
  • 2007 Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Barnard College
  • 2005 LDEO Postdoctoral Fellowship, Columbia University
  • 2005 John Dorr Graduate Academic Achievement Award, University of Michigan
  • 1998-2001 GAANN Fellowship, Applied Physics Program, University of Michigan
  • 1997 Julian A. Crawford Memorial Prize in Physics, Department of Physics, Gustavus Adolphus College