Peter B. deMenocal

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 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.

Fields of Interest

Marine Geology, Geochemistry


  • B.Sc., Geology, St. Lawrence University, cum laude, Honors in Geology (1982)
  • M.Sc., Oceanography, Graduate School of Oceanography University of Rhode Island (1986)
  • Ph.D., M. Phil., Geology. Columbia University. Sc. D. (hon. causa) St. Lawrence University (2009)

Honors & Awards

2014 AGU Cesare Emiliani Lecturer (awarded to "individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions to our understanding of past oceans and climates")

2013 Distinguished Brooksian Award (Brooks School, North Andover, MA. Awarded to a member of the Brooks community “whose life and contributions to society exemplify the nobility of character and usefulness to humanity embodied in the spirit of the school”)

2012 Fellow, American Geophysical Union 2009 Professor of the Year award, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory 2009 Sci. D. (Honorary) St. Lawrence University

2008 Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award (excellence in Scholarship and Teaching)

2007 Elsevier “Top 50” highly cited paper award, (deMenocal, 2004) – still in top 10 downloads! 1989 Bruce Heezen Award. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (for excellence in graduate research)