Jason E Smerdon

Professor of Climate, M.A. in Climate and Society, Columbia Climate School

Co-Senior Director for Education and Co-Director, Undergraduate Special Concentration and Major in Sustainable Development

Affiliated with: Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

Columbia Climate School

P.O. Box 1000
61 Route 9W
Palisades, NY 10964-1000


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.



Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
Drivers of Coral Reconstructed Salinity in the South China Sea and Maritime Continent: The Influence of the 1976 Indo-Pacific Climate Shift 2022
Growing impact of wildfire on western US water supply 2022
Influence of the South American Low-Level Jet on the Austral Summer Precipitation Trend in Southeastern South America 2022
Large infrequent rain events dominate the hydroclimate of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) 2022
Megadroughts in the Common Era and the Anthropocene 2022
Progress and uncertainties in global and hemispheric temperature reconstructions of the Common Era 2022
The Role of Internal Variability in ITCZ Changes Over the Last Millennium 2022
A pseudoproxy assessment of why climate field reconstruction methods perform the way they do in time and space 2021
Changing hydroclimate dynamics and the 19th to 20th century wetting trend in the English Channel region of northwest Europe 2021
Disentangling the Regional Climate Impacts of Competing Vegetation Responses to Elevated Atmospheric CO2 2021
Global hydroclimatic response to tropical volcanic eruptions over the last millennium 2021
Global Temperature Responses to Large Tropical Volcanic Eruptions in Paleo Data Assimilation Products and Climate Model Simulations Over the Last Millennium 2021
Projected Changes to Hydroclimate Seasonality in the Continental United States 2021
Uncertainties, Limits, and Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation for Soil Moisture Drought in Southwestern North America 2021
U.S. Pacific Coastal Droughts Are Predominantly Driven by Internal Atmospheric Variability 2021
A quantitative hydroclimatic context for the European Great Famine of 1315-17 2020
Dynamical and hydrological changes in climate simulations of the last millennium 2020
Six hundred years of South American tree rings reveal an increase in severe hydroclimatic events since mid-20th century 2020
Twenty-First Century Drought Projections in the CMIP6 Forcing Scenarios 2020
Investigating the Causes of Increased Twentieth-Century Fall Precipitation over the Southeastern United States 2019
Oceanic and radiative forcing of medieval megadroughts in the American southwest 2019
A reconstruction of global hydroclimate and dynamical variables over the Common Era 2018
Blue Water Trade-Offs With Vegetation in a CO2-Enriched Climate 2018
Coupled Model Biases Breed Spurious Low-Frequency Variability in the Tropical Pacific Ocean 2018
Revisiting the Leading Drivers of Pacific Coastal Drought Variability in the Contiguous United States 2018
A new archive of large volcanic events over the past millennium derived from reconstructed summer temperatures 2017
Comparing proxy and model estimates of hydroclimate variability and change over the Common Era 2017
Impacts of the Last Glacial Cycle on ground surface temperature reconstructions over the last millennium 2017
Influence of internal variability on population exposure to hydroclimatic changes 2017
Precipitation, Temperature, and Teleconnection Signals across the Combined North American, Monsoon Asia, and Old World Drought Atlases 2017
Projected drought risk in 1.5°C and 2°C warmer climates 2017
Temperature Covariance in Tree Ring Reconstructions and Model Simulations Over the Past Millennium 2017
The 2016 Southeastern U.S. Drought: An Extreme Departure From Centennial Wetting and Cooling 2017
The Curious Case of Projected Twenty-First-Century Drying but Greening in the American West 2017
Comparison between spatio-temporal random processes and application to climate model data 2016
Detecting Volcanic Eruptions in Temperature Reconstructions by Designed Break-Indicator Saturation 2016
European summer temperatures since Roman times 2016
First assessment of continental energy storage in CMIP5 simulations 2016
Internal ocean-atmosphere variability drives megadroughts in Western North America 2016
North American megadroughts in the Common Era: reconstructions and simulations 2016
Reconstructing Earth's surface temperature over the past 2000 years: the science behind the headlines 2016
Relative impacts of mitigation, temperature, and precipitation on 21st-century megadrought risk in the American Southwest 2016
Simulation of air and ground temperatures in PMIP3/CMIP5 last millennium simulations: implications for climate reconstructions from borehole temperature profiles 2016
The improbable but unexceptional occurrence of megadrought clustering in the American West during the Medieval Climate Anomaly 2016
Are Simulated Megadroughts in the North American Southwest Forced? 2015
Bridging Past and Future Climate across Paleoclimatic Reconstructions, Observations, and Models: A Hydroclimate Case Study 2015
Continental-scale temperature variability in PMIP3 simulations and PAGES 2k regional temperature reconstructions over the past millennium 2015
Contribution of anthropogenic warming to California drought during 2012–2014 2015
Ground surface temperature and continental heat gain: uncertainties from underground 2015
Impact of borehole depths on reconstructed estimates of ground surface temperature histories and energy storage 2015
Model-dependent spatial skill in pseudoproxy experiments testing climate field reconstruction methods for the Common Era 2015
North American Pancontinental Droughts in Model Simulations of the Last Millennium 2015
Revising midlatitude summer temperatures back to A.D. 600 based on a wood density network 2015
Signals and memory in tree-ring width and density data 2015
Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains 2015
Winter-to-summer precipitation phasing in southwestern North America: A multicentury perspective from paleoclimatic model-data comparisons 2015
Climate field reconstruction uncertainty arising from multivariate and nonlinear properties of predictors 2014
Evaluating Climate Field Reconstruction Techniques Using Improved Emulations of Real-World Conditions 2014
Global Warming and 21st Century Drying 2014
Hydroclimate Variability and Change in the Prairie Pothole Region, the “Duck Factory” of North America 2014
Late winter temperature response to large tropical volcanic eruptions in temperate western North America: Relationship to ENSO phases 2014
Numerical studies on the Impact of the Last Glacial Cycle on recent borehole temperature profiles: implications for terrestrial energy balance 2014
Pan-Continental Droughts in North America over the Last Millennium 2014
The worst North American drought year of the last millennium: 1934 2014
A Pseudoproxy Evaluation of Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling and Canonical Correlation Analysis for Climate Field Reconstructions over Europe 2013
Continental-Scale Temperature Variability during the Past Two Millennia 2013
Continental-Scale Temperature Variability during the Past Two Millennia: Supplementary Information 2013
Megadroughts in Southwestern North America in ECHO-G Millennial Simulations and Their Comparison to Proxy Drought Reconstructions 2013
Multidecadal variability in East African hydroclimate controlled by the Indian Ocean 2013
Reply to “Comments on ‘Erroneous Model Field Representations in Multiple Pseudoproxy Studies: Corrections and Implications’” 2013
Stationarity of the Tropical Pacific Teleconnection to North America in CMIP5/PMIP3 Model Simulations 2013
A Pacific Centennial Oscillation Predicted by Coupled GCMs 2012
Climate models as a test bed for climate reconstruction methods: pseudoproxy experiments 2012
Comparative performance of paleoclimate field and index reconstructions derived from climate proxies and noise-only predictors 2012
Defining spatial comparison metrics for evaluation of paleoclimatic field reconstructions of the Common Era 2012
Discussion of: A statistical analysis of multiple temperature proxies: Are reconstructions of surface temperatures over the last 1000 years reliable? 2011
Impact of maximum borehole depths on inverted temperature histories in borehole paleoclimatology 2011
Spatial performance of four climate field reconstruction methods targeting the Common Era 2011
The anomalous winter of 1783-1784: Was the Laki eruption or an analog of the 2009-2010 winter to blame? 2011
A Pseudoproxy Evaluation of the CCA and RegEM Methods for Reconstructing Climate Fields of the Last Millennium 2010
Erroneous Model Field Representations in Multiple Pseudoproxy Studies: Corrections and Implications 2010
Propagation of linear surface air temperature trends into the terrestrial subsurface 2010
Characterizing land surface processes: A quantitative analysis using air-ground thermal orbits 2009
Comment on "Robustness of proxy-based climate field reconstruction methods" by Michael E. Mann et al. 2008
On the Origin of the Standardization Sensitivity in RegEM Climate Field Reconstructions 2008
Pacific and Indian Ocean climate signals in a tree-ring record of Java monsoon drought 2008
Tropical climate influences on drought variability over Java, Indonesia 2008
Characterizing Land–Atmosphere Coupling and the Implications for Subsurface Thermodynamics 2007
Comments on "Testing the Fidelity of Methods Used in Proxy-Based Reconstructions of Past Climate": The Role of the Standardization Interval 2007
Detection of Human Influence on a New, Validated 1500-Year Temperature Reconstruction 2007
Effects of bottom boundary placement on subsurface heat storage: Implications for climate model simulations 2007
Initial Sustainability Report: Barnard College, 2007 2007
Daily, seasonal, and annual relationships between air and subsurface temperatures 2006
Five centuries of climate change in Australia: the view from underground 2006
Simulating heat transport of harmonic temperature signals in the Earth's shallow subsurface: Lower-boundary sensitivities 2006
Variable seasonal coupling between air and ground temperatures: A simple representation in terms of subsurface thermal diffusivity 2005
Air-ground temperature coupling and subsurface propagation of annual temperature signals 2004
Borehole climate reconstructions: Spatial structure and hemispheric averages 2004
A model study of the effects of climatic precipitation changes on ground temperatures 2003
Conduction-dominated heat transport of the annual temperature signal in soil 2003


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