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Caroline Lear

Professor Caroline Lear

Professor in Earth Science
Director of Research

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am Professor in Earth Science, and Director of Research in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

I am an active supporter of EDI in academia and the geosciences.

My research interests are:

  • Past climate change
  • Geochemical proxies
  • Long-term ice sheet stability
  • Carbon cycle feedbacks
  • Cenozoic palaeoceanography
























I use the geochemistry of carbonate fossils as a window to past climatic change. For example, I use the Mg/Ca ratio of microscopic oceanic fossils called foraminifera to reconstruct past ocean temperatures, and their boron isotope ratios to reconstruct past changes in the carbon cycle and pCO2. Most of these fossil samples have been drilled from deep-sea sediments by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, and I have participated in several ocean coring expeditions. The overarching aim of my research is to understand feedbacks in the climate system and to constrain the long-term sensitivity of continental ice sheets to changing environmental conditions, including CO2.


Year 1:

I contribute to the World of Dynamic Environments module, which uses case studies to investigate Earth Surface Processes

I contribute to the Earth Materials module, teaching students how to describe and identify sedimentary rocks in hand specimen and thin section, and understand their process of formation.

I lead the Pembrokeshire residential field course, teaching students a range of geological field skills.

I contribute to several day field courses (e.g., Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Barry Isalnd, Rudry Common)

Year 3:

I lead the research-led module Past Climates: Science into Society

I supervise Geology Dissertations.

Year 4:

I supervise MSci Research Dissertation Projects.


  • Director of Research, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (2022-)
  • Head of Centre for Resilience and Environmental Change (2015-2021)
  • Member of REF2021 Sub-panel 7
  • Founder and Co-Chair of UK Paleoclimate Society (2017-)

  • Professor of Earth Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (2016-Present)
  • Reader in Earth Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (2013 – 2016)
  • Senior Lecturer in Earth Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (2009-2013)
  • Lecturer in Earth Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (2004-2009)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, NJ, USA (2001-2004)
  • PhD – Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK (2000)
  • BA (first class hons) Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, UK (1997)

Honours and awards

Bigsby Medal, Geological Society of London (2017)

Philip Leverhulme Prize (2005)

Bateman Scholarship (Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge)

Geology Prize and Scholarship (University of Oxford) (1994-1997)

Professional memberships

President of the UK Paleoclimate Society


Paleoclimate and Paleoceanography

Geochemical Proxies

Current supervision

Sophie Slater-lewis

Sophie Slater-lewis

Research student


I am committed to supporting EDI in academia, and as a part of this, am also actively engaged in outreach and engagement activities. Some examples in these areas are:

  • 2021 onwards: New collaboration with the Grangetown Community Gateway project. Specific events include a stall at the Grangetown market, about the history of Grangetown and Geology, and activities with the Grangetown Youth Forum.

2021: Keynote speaker at BGS BUFI Science Festival, with a focus on EDI in Geosciences

2020: Daniell Lecture, Kings College London

2020 Featured in AL LARGO by Anna Marziano, this film won the special jury award in the documentary section of the Torino Film Festival

2019 Climate Change Schools Workshop with First Campus and National Museum Wales
2019 Three public lectures hosted by Geological Society of London
2018 Public Lecture hosted by CoPSE, Cardiff University
2016-18 Led Primary School events during NSEW
2017-18 Talks to Geologist Association and Oxford Geology Group
2017 BBC Radio Wales climate science interview
2017 Speaker at Cardiff’s Pint of Science (
2016 Contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Today Program
2016 Contributor to BBC Radio Wales Good Morning Program
2016 People Like Me workshops: St Teilo’s & Cardiff High Schools, Cardiff

2016 Speaker for Cardiff Scientific Society
2015 Speaker at Hay Literary Festival
2015 Speaker at Soapbox Science Event, Swansea (

2013 Guest on “In Our Time” with Melvyn Bragg
2013 Lectures to 300 GCSE and 150 A’ Level students, Pembrokeshire

2013 Public Lecture in ‘Dangerous Earth’ Lecture Series, Cardiff University

2012 Science-Art communication event at Chapter Arts Centre (BSA)

2010 Advisor for “Atmosphere” exhibition, Science Museum, London
2008 BBC Radio Wales interview and newspaper articles on research

2007-8 Exploring Our World Research Exhibition in National Museum Wales

2007 The Floating Classroom in Cardiff Bay: funded by RCUK.