Peter Schlosser, Director
In addition to directing the Columbia Climate Center, Peter Schlosser is the Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Earth Institute, Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering , and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. Professor Schlosser is an eminent earth scientist whose main research is directed at understanding the natural state of oceans and groundwater and the human perturbation of our planet’s natural state.
Theresa E. Hernandez, Assistant Director
Theresa Hernandez is the Assistant Director at the Columbia Climate Center where she leads educational programming and oversees the administration of the Climate Center. Hernandez has worked in various positions at Columbia University. Her current work focuses on programming that communicates climate science and policy to the public as well as both formal and informal education initiatives such as the development of a masters program in carbon management, two certifications of professional achievement, and the NSF funded PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership. Hernandez received her B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies/Sociology at Columbia University and her M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Jessica Brunacini, Assistant Director, PoLAR Partnership
Jessica Brunacini is an environmental educator specializing in climate change communication. In 2011, she received a Master’s of Arts degree in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University, where her research focused on community-based adaptation to climate change in the world’s least developed countries. Prior to joining the PoLAR Partnership, Jessica worked as an educator and curriculum developer with Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Solar One, and other New York City-based environmental organizations.
Christoph Meinrenken is an associate research scientist at the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and affiliate of the Foundations of Data Science Center at the Data Science Institute. His research focuses on computer modeling to elucidate and improve the techno-economic performance of low carbon energy systems. Recent and current research projects include electricity arbitrage in smart buildings (NSF, NYSERDA, NIST), electrification of the transportation sector, synthetic fuels (ABB, Electricity de France), and automated product carbon footprinting (PepsiCo Inc.). An expert in Life Cycle Assessment and enterprise-scale product analytics, he has worked with the World Resources Institute, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and The Sustainability Consortium, and consulted several globally operating consumer goods manufacturers. Before joining Columbia, Meinrenken worked on modeling molecular spectra (MSE, Princeton University, 1996) and computational neuroscience (PhD Physics, Max Planck Institute, 2001). In addition to academic research and teaching, Meinrenken spent several years in the private sector, specializing in financial engineering and risk management.
Ali Mehmani is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the Columbia Climate Center of the Earth Institute and in the Data Science Institute at Columbia University. Previously, he was a postdoc at Cornell University; before that, he was a Research Associate at Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, supervised by Achille Messac. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (2015) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Syracuse University, where he was advised by Achille Messac. Ali is an expert in statistical modeling and optimization of complex engineering systems. His research interests encompass multidisciplinary design optimization, heuristic optimization algorithms, data-driven models, variable-fidelity models, uncertainty quantification, wind farm layout optimization, building energy management, and cyber-physical systems. He has worked extensively on demand-response optimization based on adaptive data-driven models in New York City buildings.
Mary-Elena Carr, Affiliate
Mary-Elena Carr was Associate Director of the CCC from its creation in 2007 to 2012 and remains a consulting affiliate. Mary-Elena Carr is a biological oceanographer. She spent two years as associate program manager in Biological Oceanography at the National Science Foundation before coming to Columbia in November 2007. Carr’s primary research focus has been on quantifying the pathways of carbon between the atmosphere and the ocean and the flow of carbon within the ocean, using numerical models and observations in the water and from satellites.
Wallace Broecker is the Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. His research interests include paleoclimatology, ocean chemistry, isotope dating and environmental science, and he is perhaps best known for his discovery of the role that the oceans have played in triggering past climate variability. Broecker most recent book, Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat – and How to Counter It, came out in 2008.
Mark Cane is the G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University. Along with Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory colleague Stephen Zebiak, Cane devised the first numerical model to simulate the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Cane currently works to explain variations in the climate record, both paleo and modern, as well as the impacts of climate on human affairs.
Steve Cohen is director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy and director of the environmental policy studies concentration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He is also executive director and chief operating officer of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and he is the author of Understanding Environmental Policy.
Michael B. Gerrard is the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and director of the Center for Climate Change Law. He teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy law. He has written or edited eight books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field. From 1979 through 2008 he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as managing partner of the New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. Several independent rating services ranked Gerrard as the leading environmental lawyer in New York and one of the leading environmental lawyers in the world.
James Hansen is director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. Hansen has studied global surface temperatures and the earth’s atmosphere since the 1970s,with a particular focus on the development and application of global numerical models to understand climate trends and the impact of human activities on climate. Recently Hansen has spoken out against government censorship of climate science.
Geoffrey Heal is the Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. He is also the executive director of Columbia’s Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development. Heal’s research focuses on the interface between economics and ecology and the extent to which profit-oriented companies can contribute to the solution of social and environmental problems. His most recent book, When Principles Pay: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line, was published in 2008.
Patrick Kinney is associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH) and director of the Program on Climate and Health. Kinney’s teaching and research address issues at the intersection of global environmental change, human health and policy, with an emphasis on the public health impacts of air pollution. At MSPH, he heads an interdisciplinary research and teaching program on the human health impacts of climate variability and change.
Klaus Lackner is the Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics, the director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy (LCSE) and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Instrumental in forming the Zero Emission Coal Alliance (an industry-led effort to develop coal power with zero emissions to the atmosphere), he continues to research advanced fossil fuels, power plant design and carbon capture and storage technologies. Lackner is also a member of GRT, a company that hopes to develop a commercially viable device to capture CO2 from the air.
Upmanu Lall is professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering and director of the Columbia Water Center. His research centers on the statistical and numerical modeling of hydrologic and climatic systems and on water resource systems planning and management. Dr. Lall has over 25 years experience as a hydrologist. He has consulted for a wide number of projects on a range of issues, including groundwater flow and contaminant transport, streamflow modeling and water balance, risk and environmental impact assessment, and site hydrologic evaluation.
Marc Levy is deputy director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University, where he works on water-conflict linkages, human drivers of emerging infectious diseases and climate vulnerability, in order to understand human-environment interactions in the context of global change. Levy coordinates CIESIN’s work with the Millennium Villages project, a partnership effort involving the Earth Institute, the United Nations and Millenium Promise, and served as a convening lead author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the UN Environment Program’s Global Environmental Outlook 4.
Ed Lloyd is the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor in Environmental Law at Columbia Law School. Formerly executive director of the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, Lloyd serves as its general counsel. He is co-director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center and a member of the Litigation Review Committee of Environmental Defense. An activist and scholar on a wide range of environmental legal issues and citizen suit litigation, Lloyd has testified before U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committees on environmental enforcement.
Shahid Naeem is a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University, where he studies the ecological and environmental consequences of biodiversity loss. Naeem’s work combines theoretical, observational and experimental studies in the field and in the laboratory to understand the impacts of biodiversity loss. He is active in bringing ecological science to conservation, ecosystem restoration and policy development.
Wolfram Schlenker is assistant professor in the Department of Economics and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. His research focuses on the link between weather and agricultural production, emphasizing the role of extreme weather events. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Elke Weber is co-director of Columbia’s Center for Decision Sciences and the Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business at the Columbia Business School. Her work focuses on the intersection between psychology and economics; it explores psychologically appropriate ways to measure and model individual and cultural differences in risk taking, specifically in risky financial situations and environmental decision making and policy. Weber sits on the advisory committee of the National Academy of Sciences on Human Dimensions in Global Change.
Gisela Winckler is a Doherty Associate Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. Winckler uses interplanetary dust found in sediment cores to get a clearer picture of the earth’s geology and climate hundreds of thousands of years ago. Her reconstruction of past climates is key to understanding the climate system’s sensitivity to natural variability and anthropogenic, or human-induced, perturbations.