Photo of Jim White
Professor Emeritus • Craver Family Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
University of North Carolina

Research Interests

  • Global scale climate and environmental dynamics.
  • Carbon dioxide concentrations and climate from stable hydrogen isotopes peats and other organics.
  • Climate from deuterium excess and hydrogen isotopes in ice cores.
  • Isotopes in general circulation models.
  • Modern carbon cycle dynamics via isotopes of carbon dioxide and methane.


Ph.D. 1983 Columbia University


James W.C. White started the INSTAAR Stable Isotope Lab in 1989. In recent years, his research has helped to show that large climate changes tend to occur in the natural system as abrupt and rapid shifts in mode probably driven by internal adjustments in the Earth climate system, rather than slow and gradual adjustments to changing external conditions, such as the amount of energy received from the sun. His research has also helped to show that land plants are capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, amounts that equal our input of CO2 from fossil fuel burning on short time scales. Such large changes in the uptake of CO2 by plants is a key piece in the puzzle we must solve to address future CO2 levels and climate change.

James White currently serves as the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at University of North Carolina.

A Note to Prospective Students

James White is not accepting graduate students.