Jason E. Smerdon

Principal Investigator


Jason E. Smerdon is a Professor of Climate within the Columbia Climate School. He also holds appointments as an Earth Institute Faculty Member, 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.

See also Smerdon's 2013 Earth Institute Faculty Profile at the State of the Planet Blog.

Fields of interest: 

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


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


Educational Activities

  • Co-Senior Director for Education, Columbia Climate School
  • Co-Director of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, Columbia Climate School
  • Text Book: Climate Change: The Science of Global Warming and Our Energy Future