James White
Professor Emeritus
Geological Sciences • INSTAAR • Environmental Studies

Office: Old Main 1-43


My research interests revolve around the use of environmental stable isotope ratios. I supervise a laboratory for the analysis of stable isotope ratios of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Specific areas of research include modeling the global carbon cycle using isotope ratios in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane, development of techniques for measuring isotope ratios in atmospheric gases, reconstructions of paleo-environmental conditions using isotopes in ice cores, reconstructions of past environments from isotopes in organic materials, and tracing of ground water flow and recharge. I have been a member of several deep ice coring projects in Greenland and Antarctica. I am an affiliate of NOAA and work closely with their Carbon Cycle Group. Key scientific contributions include showing that large climate changes can occur as very abrupt and very rapid shifts, and that land plants continue to remove larger and larger amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Paleoclimate, carbon cycle, ice cores, climate dynamics

Department Topic Areas


  • BS Chemistry, Florida State University, 1975
  • PhD Geochemistry, Columbia University, 1983