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Athanasios Koutavas


Professor Koutavas is a paleoceanographer and environmental scientist specializing in past climate variability. His research areas include the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and tropical Pacific Ocean dynamics, the Quaternary Ice Ages, the climate of the past two millennia or Common Era, the global carbon cycle, and forest ecology. He specializes in the study of past ocean circulation using marine sediments, and in the study of terrestrial environments using tree rings as climate and environmental proxies. Additionally he is interested in the history, philosophy and archeology of the eastern Mediterranean world and is engaged in systematic geo-historical review of ancient Greek texts.


PhD, 2003 Columbia University

MS, 1997 New York University

BS, 1992 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Scholarship and Publications

Rustic, G. T., A. Koutavas, T. M. Marchitto, and B. K. Linsley (2015), Dynamical excitation of the tropical Pacific Ocean and ENSO variability by Little Ice Age cooling, Science, 350, 1537-1541, doi:10.1126/science.aac9937.

Koutavas, A. (2013), CO2 fertilization and enhanced drought resistance in Greek firs from Cephalonia Island, Greece, Global Change Biology, 19:2, doi:10.1111/gcb.12053.

Koutavas, A. and S. Joanides (2012), El Niño-Southern Oscillation extrema in the Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum, Paleoceanography, 27,  PA4208, doi:10.1029/2012PA002378.

Koutavas, A. (2012), El Niño's Grip on Climate, Nature Education Knowledge, 3(2):6.

Stott, L., J. Southon, A. Timmermann, and A. Koutavas (2009), Radiocarbon age anomaly at intermediate water depth in the Pacific Ocean during the last deglaciation, Paleoceanography, 24, PA2223, doi:10.1029/2008PA001690.

Koutavas, A., and J. P. Sachs (2008), Northern timing of deglaciation in the eastern equatorial Pacific from alkenone paleothermometry, Paleoceanography, 23, PA4205, doi:10.1029/2008PA001593.

Koutavas, A. (2008), Late 20th century growth acceleration in greek firs (Abies cephalonica) from Cephalonia Island, Greece: a CO2 fertilization effect? Dendrochronologia, Vol. 26, Issue 1, 13-19, doi:10.1016/j.dendro.2007.06.001.

Koutavas, A., P. B. deMenocal, G. C. Olive, and J. Lynch-Stieglitz (2006), Mid-Holocene El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) attenuation revealed by individual foraminifera in eastern tropical Pacific sediments, Geology, 34, 993-996.

Chiang, J. C. H., and A. Koutavas (2004), Climate Change: Tropical Flip-Flop Connections, Nature, 432, 684-685.

Stott, L., K. Cannariato, R. Thunell, G. Haug, A. Koutavas, and S. Lund (2004), Decline of surface temperature and salinity in the western tropical Pacific Ocean in the Holocene epoch, Nature, 431, 56-59.

Koutavas A., J. Lynch-Stieglitz, T. M. Marchitto, and J. P. Sachs (2002), El Niño-like Pattern in Ice Age Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Temperature. Science, 297, 226-230.

Contact Information

Office: Building 1N Room 229
Fax: 718.982.2830