Dr. Joerg Michael Schaefer

Pronouns: he/him

Lamont Research Professor, Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia Climate School

Founding Director of the Lamont Cosmogenic Nuclide Group
Co-Director of the Columbia Earth Networks 'Decarbonization, Climate Resilience and Justice'

Comer 409
61 Route 9W
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Palisades, NY 10964


Joerg M. Schaefer


Joerg Schaefer is a Lamont Research Professor, Director of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s Cosmogenic Nuclide Group, a faculty member of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (adjunct professor at DEES), and a senior fellow of the Center of Climate and Life at Columbia University. His key interests include how glaciers and ice-sheets respond to past and modern warming, how changing ice and related hazards, such as tsunamis and glacial lake outburst floods, impact environment and society and how science can assist in developing solution strategies for these climate-related challenges.


Schaefer founded the Lamont Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory in 2004, and his research group has become a world-leader in ‘Climate and Glacier Change’ science. Scientists in Schaefer’s Group apply cosmogenic isotope techniques to evaluate the response of ice on the Earth’s continents to past, modern and future warming. Schaefer, who is a climate geochemist, has advanced the cosmogenic dating method to the point where they can now determine whether a rock has been exposed by changing ice for thousands of years, hundreds of years, or just a few years. Schaefer and his team complement the isotope techniques with remote sensing approaches and cutting-edge ice-sheet modeling, to understand, and better predict, the accelerating changes of polar ice-sheets and mountain glaciers in past, present and future. Most recently, the NSF funded a large multi-million $, 5 year - 4 institution research program that Schaefer designed and leads, the GreenDrill project, to drill through the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) at strategic locations and apply cutting-edge cosmogenic nuclide techniques to bedrock under the ice, to map the response of the GrIS to past warm periods.


Studying the impacts of these cryosphere processes on society, and creating multi-disciplinary networks to develop cross-cutting ideas how to respond to, how to find solutions to these paramount climate-related challenges, has become a recent focus area of Schaefer’s work. Schaefer loves to teach science, and is leading the development of the new ‘Climate Science Major’ program at Columbia together with Prof. Suzana Camargo and the DEES curriculum committee. This program consists of three coordinated Climate Science Majors, one within DEES (‘Climate System Major’), one shared with the ‘Sustainable Development’ program (‘Climate and Civilization’) and one (‘Climate Physics and Chemistry’) shared with the department of ‘Applied Physics and Math (APAM)’. Schaefer is actively engaged in Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion efforts in US Geosciences, as well as in anti-harrassment and anti-bullying campaigns within the US science community.

Schaefer earned his Ph.D. in 2000 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, his thesis awarded with the ETH medal prize. He was a postdoctoral researcher at ETH before joining Lamont as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2001.


Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
A Southern Hemispheric Perspective on Holocene Climate Variability Based on Mountain Glacial Chronologies 8/1/18 7/31/21
Benchmarking Spatial Patterns of Glacier Change 6/1/19 5/31/22
Collaborative Research: A High-Sensitivity 10Be and Extraterrestrial 3He Record from an Ice Core at South Pole 5/1/16 10/31/20
Collaborative Research: A Proposal for the Cosmic-Ray Produced Nuclide Systematics on Earth (Cronus-Earth) Project 3/1/05 9/30/12
Collaborative Research: A Southern Hemispheric Perspective on Holocene Climate Variability Based on Mountain Glacial Chronologies 9/1/09 8/31/13
Collaborative Research: A Southern Mid-Latitude Perspective on the Last Ice Age Based on Be-10 Moraine Chronologies 7/15/08 6/30/12
Collaborative Research: Climate and Glacier change in Bhutan: the last millennia, present and future 9/1/13 8/31/17
Collaborative Research: Climate and Glacier change in Bhutan: the last millennia, present and future 7/1/12 8/31/13
Collaborative Research: Constraining Arc Processes Through Comprehensive Geochemical Study of the Chilean Southern Volcanic Zone 8/1/10 7/31/13
Collaborative Research: Evaluating Controls on Holocene Glacier Fluctuations and Climate Variability in the Southern Peruvian Andes 9/15/11 8/31/15
Collaborative Research: Geological constraints on the disappearance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet 6/1/20 5/31/23
Collaborative Research: Ice sheet sensitivity in a changing Arctic system - using geologic data and modeling to test the stable Greenland Ice Sheet hypothesis 9/1/15 8/31/19
Collaborative Research: Landscape Evolution in the McMurdo Dry Valleys: Erosion Rates and Real-time Monitoring of Rock Breakdown in a Hyperarid, Subzero Environment 5/1/18 4/30/22
Collaborative Research: Multidisciplinary Analysis of Antarctic Blue Ice Moraine Formation and their Potential as Climate Archives over Multiple Glacial Cycles 9/1/15 8/31/18
Collaborative Research: Multi-nuclide approach to systematically evaluate the scatter in surface exposure ages in Antarctica and to develop consistent alpine glacier chronologies 5/1/11 8/31/15
Collaborative Research: Terrestrial Geological Context for Glacier Change in the Northeast Antarctic Peninsula 7/1/12 6/30/17
Collaborative Research: Testing Artic Ice Sheet Sensitivity to Abrupt Climate Change 9/1/14 8/31/19
Collaborative Research: Testing the Orbital Theory of Ice Ages Through Analysis of Glacial Deposits and Numerical Modeling 7/15/13 12/31/18
Collaborative Research: The Pulse of the Holocene Glaciations in New Zealand's Southern Alps 10/1/08 9/30/14
Collaborative Research: Timing and Structure of the Last Glacial Maximum and Termination in Southern Peru: Implications for the Role of the Tropics in Climate Change 10/1/10 9/30/14
Collaborative Research: Uplift and Faulting at the Transition from Subduction to Collision - A Field and Modeling Study of the Calabrian Arc 8/1/06 9/30/14
Collaborative Research: West Antarctic Ice Sheet stability, Alpine Glaciation, and Climate Variability: a Terrestrial Perspective from Cosmogenic-nuclide Dating in McMurdo Sound 9/15/13 8/31/17
CRPA: Shrinking Glaciers: Achronology of Climate Change 1/15/11 5/31/13
Glacier changes in high mountain Asia since 1970 - combining declassified spy satellite imagery 9/1/16 8/31/19
Holocene Snowline Changes in the Bhutanese Himalaya 6/1/12 5/31/13
In Situ 10Be Production-Rate Calibration for North America from the Early Holocene Marquette Moraine, Upper Peninsula of Michigan 6/1/12 5/31/15
Paleo-Climate and -Hydrology Change in Central China 8/1/11 7/31/15
Quantifying Greenland Ice Sheet Dimensions During Past Warm Periods: A Novel Approach Using Cosmogenic Isotopes 9/1/12 8/31/15
Quantifying Subglacial Erosion Rates and Exploring Pro-glacial Bedrock as Climate Archive by in-situ Cosmogenic ^14C-610Be Techniques 10/1/09 9/30/13
Reconstructing Ice Ages in New Zealand, N. America and Greenland Using Cosmogenic Be-10 Dating 11/1/06 10/31/17
Re-evaluation of the Late Glacial and the Little Ice Age Problem in the Alps by High-precision Surface Exposure Dating 6/1/12 5/31/17
Testing Milankovitch - Glacier Fluctuations during the LGM and the Mystery Interval in the Western US 8/16/09 8/15/17
Testing the Slab Connection: A 10Be and 10Be/9Be Tracer Study in the Transmexican Volcanic Belt 4/1/19 3/31/21
The Svalbard-Barents Sea Ice Sheet and Abrupt Climate Change: Implications for ice-age climate cycle 6/1/14 12/31/17
EAGER: Exploring a Community Driven Data-model Framework for Testing the Stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet 9/1/18 8/31/20
A Geospatial Analysis of Glacier Volume Change 5/15/19 10/14/21
Collaborative Research: P2C2: Reconstructing Holocene Climate Change in the Southern Hemisphere from Southern Alps Mountain Glaciers and Tree Rings 9/1/19 8/31/22
GreenDrill: The response of the northern Greenland Ice Sheet to Arctic Warmth - Direct constraints from sub-ice bedrock 10/1/20 9/30/24
Collaborative Research: Understanding Glacial-Geomorphic-Climatic Changes in the Arid Andes: Cordillera Oriental as a Case Study 2/1/21 1/31/22
Development of a High-Throughput/High-Sensitivity, in situ 14C Extraction Line for US Earth Sciences 8/15/21 7/31/23
GRate: Collaborative Research - Response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to ocean and atmosphere forcing in a changing Arctic system - integrating data and modeling to quantify rates of change 9/1/21 8/31/25
EAR-Climate: Mountain Glacier Contribution to Sea Level CE 1900-2100 9/1/22 8/31/26
Collaborative Research: GreenDrill: The Response of the Northern Greenland Ice Sheet to Arctic Warmth - Direct Constrains from Sub-Ice Bedrock 10/1/20 9/30/24
Collaborative Research: A Fossil Ecosystem under the Ice: Deciphering the Glacial and Vegetation History of Northwest Greenland using Long-lost Camp Century Basal Sediment 7/1/21 6/30/24
Early Warning Systems: Community-Based Environmental Impact Tracking for Bauxite Mining in Guinea 1/1/20 12/31/21


Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
Glacier maxima in Baffin Bay during the Medieval Warm Period coeval with Norse settlement 2015
Hazard potential of volcanic flank collapses raised by new megatsunami evidence 2015
The Southern Glacial Maximum 65,000 years ago and its Unfinished Termination 2015
A chronology of Holocene and Little Ice Age glacier culminations of the Steingletscher, Central Alps, Switzerland, based on high-sensitivity beryllium-10 moraine dating 2014
High-precision 10Be chronology of moraines in the Southern Alps indicates synchronous cooling in Antarctica and New Zealand 42,000 years ago 2014
A 10Be production-rate calibration for the Arctic 2013
Capabilities of the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory in situ¹⁴C extraction laboratory updated 2013
Warming and Glacier Recession in the Rakaia Valley, Southern Alps of New Zealand, during Heinrich Stadial 1 2013
Calibration of the in situ cosmogenic 14C production rate in New Zealand's Southern Alps 2012
Do Phreatomagmatic Eruptions at Ubehebe Crater (Death Valley, California) Relate to a Wetter than Present Hydro-Climate? 2012
Evaluation of Lateglacial temperatures in the Southern Alps of New Zealand based on glacier modelling at Irishman Stream, Ben Ohau Range 2012
Glacier expansion in southern Patagonia throughout the Antarctic cold reversal 2012
Holocene dynamics of the Rhone Glacier, Switzerland, deduced from ice flow models and cosmogenic nuclides 2012
Holocene glacier culminations in the Western Alps and their hemispheric relevance 2012
Regional climate control of glaciers in New Zealand and Europe during the pre-industrial Holocene 2012
Sensitivity and response of Bhutanese glaciers to atmospheric warming 2012