David Lea

Professor, Department of Earth Science Affiliate Faculty, Bren School of ES&M, Co-Chair, Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee

David Lea is Professor in the Department of Earth Science, Affiliate Faculty in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and a member of the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has been a faculty member since 1989. He received his B.S. in Geology from Haverford College (PA) in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in 1990 (Thesis Supervisor Prof. Ed Boyle, MIT – member NAS). His research interests include Ice Age climate change, marine geochemistry/carbon cycle, and global climate change. He has published over 100 scholarly papers on these topics, including 18 in the high profile journals Science and Nature. Lea has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and University of Cambridge, UK. His awards include the UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award (2001), a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2002-03), a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship, a Clare Hall Visiting Fellowship (both 2002-03, Cambridge, UK), the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Emiliani Lectureship (2007) — awarded to “individuals who have made outstanding scientific contributions to our understanding of past oceans and climates” –, a Leopold Leadership Fellowship (2009), a Jefferson Science Fellowship (2010), and a Google Science Communication Fellowship (2011). Lea was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012, of the AGU in 2013, of Fondation IMéRA (Marseille, France) in 2015, and of the Breakthrough Institute (Oakland, CA) in 2016. In 2010-2011, as a Jefferson Science Fellow, Lea served as science advisor in the U.S. Department of State to the Honorable Todd Stern, President Obama’s Special Envoy on Climate Change (SECC) and chief U.S. negotiator of the Paris Agreement, and to the Office of Global Change (EGC). In Feb. 2018, UC President Janet Napolitano appointed Lea a member of the University of California Global Climate Leadership Council (GCLC), which advises the UC system on its Carbon Neutrality Initiative. In Sep. 2018, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang appointed Lea faculty co-Chair of the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee.