My watch list  

Wallace S. Broecker

Wallace S. Broecker ("Wally") (1931-) is the Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and a scientist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Broecker's areas of research include Pleistocene geochronology, radiocarbon dating and chemical oceanography, including oceanic mixing based on stable and radioisotope distribution. This included research on the biogeochemical cycles of the element carbon and on the record of climate change contained in polar ice and ocean sediments.

He attended Wheaton College and interacted with J. Laurence Kulp and Paul Gast. Broecker then transferred to Columbia University. At Columbia, he worked at the Lamont Geological Observatory with W. Maurice Ewing and Walter Bucher.

Broecker has authored over 400 journal articles and 7 books. He is perhaps best known for his discovery of the role played by the ocean in triggering the abrupt climate changes which punctuated glacial time- in particular, the development and popularization of the idea of a global "conveyer belt" linking the circulation of the global ocean. However, his contributions stretch far beyond the "conveyer"; his work is the foundation of carbon cycle science, and his applications of radiocarbon to paleoceanography are landmarks in the field. His work with chemical tracers in the ocean is integral to modern chemical oceanography; indeed, his textbook "Tracers in the Sea", authored with Tsung-Hung Peng, is still cited in the contemporary literature 25 years after its publication.

Dr. Broecker writes about his research, on mode changes in the Thermohaline Circulation: "We have clear evidence that different parts of the earth's climate system are linked in very subtle yet dramatic ways. The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth's climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change." [1]

Broecker is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and European Geophysical Union. He has received the Crafoord Prize in Geoscience[2], the National Medal of Science, Maurice W. Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Alexander Agassiz Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the Urey Medal of the European Association for Geochemistry,[3] the V.M. Goldschmidt Award from the Geochemical Society,[4] the Vetlesen Prize from the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London, the Roger Revelle Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement from the University of Southern California, and the Blue Planet Prize from The Asahi Glass Foundation.

Selected Books

  • Broecker, Wallace S. & Oversby, Virginia M. (1971), , McGraw-Hill Education, pp. 304, ISBN 0070079978
  • Broecker, Wallace S. (1974), , Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, pp. 214, ISBN 0155064371
  • Broecker, Wallace S. (1995), , Eldigio Press
  • Broecker, Wallace S. (1998), , Eldigio Press
  • Broecker, Wallace S. (1993), , Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University
  • Broecker, Wallace S. (1988), , Eldigio Press
  • Broecker, Wallace S. (1982), , Eldigio Press


  1. ^
  2. ^ Crawford prize in geoscience 2006
  3. ^
  4. ^
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wallace_S._Broecker". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE