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Dr Colin P. Summerhayes BSc, MSc, DIC, PhD, DSc, CGeol, CMarSci

Dr Colin P. Summerhayes BSc, MSc, DIC, PhD, DSc, CGeol, CMarSci

Emeritus Associate

Marine geologist and oceanographer



  • April 2010: Emeritus Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute
  • January 1 2004 part time, and full time from April 1 2004- April 9 2010: Executive Director, International Council for Science's Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)
  • 1997-2004: Director Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) Project Office; UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Paris
  • 1995-1997: Southampton Oceanography Centre; Deputy Director, and Head of Seafloor Processes Division.
  • 1988-1995: Director, Natural Environmental Research Council's Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory, Wormley, Surrey.
  • 1982-1988: BP Research Centre. (A) 1982-1985: Research Associate; (B) 1985-88: Senior Research Associate and Manager, Stratigraphy Branch.
  • 1976-1982: Research Associate and Project Leader; Petroleum Geochemistry Branch, Exxon Production Research Co, Houston, Texas.
  • 1972-1976: Assistant Scientist: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts.
  • 1970-1972: Research Officer: University of Cape Town Marine Geoscience Unit.
  • 1967-1970: Research Assistant and PhD student; Applied Geochemistry Section; Geology Department; Imperial College, London.
  • 1964-1967: Scientific Officer; NZ Oceanographic Institute, Wellington, NZ.


  • DSc: Geology: Victoria University of Wellington, NZ 1986
  • PhD: Applied Geochemistry: Imperial College, London, 1970
  • DIC: Applied Geochemistry, Imperial College, London, 1970
  • MSc: Marine Geology; with Distinction equivalent to 1st class honours: Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, 1967
  • Postgraduate studies: Isotope Geochemistry (radioactive age determination), Keble College, Oxford, 1963-64
  • BSc Honours: Geology (with chemistry)(2:1), University College, London, 1963
  • Chartered Geologist: (1996 - present)
  • Chartered Marine Scientist: (2003 - present)


Dr. Colin Summerhayes is a marine geologist and oceanographer with expertise in the role of climate in forming marine sediments of different types, especially seabed resources of phosphate and oil and gas, and in interpreting the history of climate from sedimentary records. He was educated at University and Imperial Colleges, London, at Oxford, and at Victoria University, Wellington, NZ, then worked at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, at Imperial College, London, at the University of Cape Town and at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Applying his skills beyond the academic world, he spent 12 years as a researcher in the oil and gas business, working first for Exxon and then for BP on new techniques for analysing basins and prospecting for oil rich source rocks, covering most of the world's oil and gas basins from northern Norway to the Falklands Plateau. Moving into management, from 1986-88 he was a Branch Manager in the Exploration Division of the BP Research Centre, Sunbury-on-Thames, and responsible for specialist research staff in Aberdeen, Houston, Holland and the UK. From 1988-95 he was one of the UK's leading oceanographers as Director of the Natural Environment Research Council's Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory, in Wormley, in Surrey, where he was responsible for managing some of the UK's major research programmes on the role of the oceans in climate change. Having steered the institute through a major restructuring, he then moved it to become the core of the new Southampton Oceanography Centre, of which he became Deputy Director.

Leaving the UK once more, from 1997-2004 he served UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, in Paris, as Director of the Global Ocean Observing System (or GOOS). The GOOS was set up to provide the ocean component of the UN's Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), which detects changes and trends in global climate and provides advice to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dr Summerhayes was a member of the Steering Committee of the GCOS.

From 2004 - 2010 he was Executive Director of the International Council for Science's Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), which is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University, where he is now an Emeritus Associate (from April 1, 2010). There he has coauthored two recent scientific papers reviewing Antarctic climate and its role in the global climate system, and is co-editor of the recent book "Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment" (2009). He is also co-author of "Oceans 2020: Science, Trends and the Challenge of Sustainability", and of "Oceanography: an Illustrated Guide". During his time with SCAR Dr Summerhayes provided annual reports on climate change to the annual meetings of the governmental Parties to the Antarctic Treaty. His primary current scientific interest is climate change and its relation to energy. He also represented SCAR on the organising committee for the 4th International Polar Year 2007 -2008, organising its first conference, jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee, in St Petersburg, Russia, in July 2008, and assisting with the organisation of the two follow up IPY conferences in Oslo in 2010 and in Montreal in 2012.

In retirement as an Emeritus Associate he continues his research, having focused first on writing a history of the 3rd German Antarctic Expedition, with Cornelia Luedecke (published July 2012). He is currently working on a geological history of climate change, which will expand the Geological Society of London's Statement on Climate Change, of which he was the lead author in 2010. He is providing advice to the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), lecturing on climate change on Antarctic cruise ships (December 2010 and 2012), and working in a voluntary capacity for professional societies (Geological Society of London, Society for Underwater Technology, and Institute for Marine Science and Technology).


Selected publications

  • Turner, J., Barrand, N.E., Bracegirdle, T.J., Convey, P., Hodgson, D.A., Jarvis, M., Jenkins, M., Marshall, G., Meredith, M.P., Roscoe, H., Shanklin, J., French, J., Goosse, H., Guglielmin, M., Gutt, J., Jacobs, S.,Kennicutt, M.C., Masson-Delmotte, V., Mayewski, P., Navarro, F., Robinson, S., Scambos, T., Sparrow, M., Summerhayes, C.P., Speer, K., Klepikov, A., 2013, Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment: an Update. Polar Record. 1-23.
  • Summerhayes, C.P., Cann, J., Cohen, A., Francis, J., Larter, R., Lowe, J., McCave, N., Wolff, E., Valdes, P., and Bilham, N., 2013, An Addendum to the Statement on Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record. Geol. Soc. Lond. (
  • Summerhayes, C.P., and Lüdecke, C., 2013, A German Contribution to South Atlantic Seabed Studies, 1938-39. Polarforschung 82(2), 93-101.
  • Newman, L., Rintoul, S.R., Meredith, M.P., Fahrbach, E., Gunn, G., Sparrow, M.D., Wadley, V., Speer, K., Hofmann, E., Summerhayes, C.P., Urban, E., and Bellerby, R., 2012, The Southern Ocean Observing System. CLIVAR Exchanges No. 58, vol.17, No.1, 49-53
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2012, Poles Apart - Wildlife at Hotspots for Warming. In Watts, O., Moorcroft, M., Phillips, J., and Taylor, J., (eds.), Climate Change: Biodiversity and People on the Front Line. RSPB, Natural England and WWF-UK Conference Report. 16–18.
  • Chown, S.L., Lee, J.E., Hughes, K.A., Barnes, J., Barrett, P.J., Bergstrom, D.M., Convey, P., Cowan, D.A., Crosbie, K., Dyer, G., Frenot, Y., Grant, S.M., Herr, D., Kennicutt, M.C., Lamers, M., Murray, A., Possingham, H.P., Reid, K., Riddle, M., Ryan, P.G., Sanson, L., Shaw, J.D., Sparrow, M.D., Summerhayes, C.P., Terauds, A., Wall, D.H., 2012, Challenges to the Future Conservation of the Antarctic. Science, 337, 158-159 and supplementary materials at
  • Rintoul, S., Sparrow, M.D., Meredith, M., Wadley, V., Speer, K., Hoffman, E., Summerhayes, C.P., Urban,E., and Bellerby, R., 2012, The Southern Ocean Observing System: Initial Science and Implementation Strategy. SCAR, Cambridge, 74 pp
  • Lüdecke, C., and Summerhayes, C.P., 2012, The Third Reich in Antarctica – the Story of the Third German Antarctic Expedition, 1938/39. Bluntisham Books, 254pp
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2013, Scientists Together in the Cold. In Walton D.H.W., (ed.), Antarctica – Global Science from a Frozen Continent. CUP, Cambridge, 253-272
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2011, The New SCAR, 2004-2008. In Walton, D.H.W., and Clarkson, P.D., (eds.) Science in the Snow. SCAR, Cambridge, 159-202
  • Summerhayes, C.P., Walton, D.H.W., and Clarkson, P.D., 2011, The Achievements of SCAR. In Walton, D.H.W., and Clarkson, P.D., (eds.) Science in the Snow. SCAR, Cambridge, 203-214
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2011, A History of SCAR, 2004-2010. SCAR Occasional Publication. SCAR, Cambridge, 93 pp.
  • Krupnik, I., Allison, I., Bell, R., Cutler, P., Hik, D., Lopez-Martinez, J., Rachold, V., Sarukhanian, E., and Summerhayes, C.P., (eds.), 2011, Understanding Earth's Polar Challenges: International Polar Year 2007-2008. CCI Press, Edmonton. Occasional Publication Series 69. 750 pp
  • Summerhayes, C.P., Cann, J.R., Cohen, A., Francis, J., Hatwood, A., Larter, R., Lowe, J., McCave, N., Pearson, P., Wolff, E., Day, S., and Nickless, E., 2010, Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record. Geol. Soc. London, Geoscientist 20(11) 10 and 24-27 and
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2010, Climate Change - a Creeping Catastrophe. Bull. World Health Org. 88(6), WHO Geneva, 410-411 (
  • Dexter, P., and Summerhayes, C.P., 2010, Ocean Observations - the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Chapter 11 in Pugh, D., and Holland, G., (eds.), Troubled Waters: Ocean Science and Governance. CUP, Cambridge 161-178
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2010, Science and Engineering Challenges in the Oceans and their Relation to Marine Policy Developments. In, Innovative Marine Engineering and Science - are we Sinking of Swimming? Science in Parliament Jl. 67(2), Whit issue, 21-22
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2010, Under ice technologies for detecting climate change. A Personal View. Underwater Technol., SUT Journal, London, 1-2.
  • Convey, P., et al (inc. Summerhayes, C.P.), 2009, Antarctic climate change and the environment. Ant Sci. Jl.,21, 541-563
  • Turner, J., Convey, P., Di Prisco, G., Mayewski, P., Hodgson, D., Fahrbach, E., Binschadler, R., Gutt, J., and Summerhayes, C.P., (eds.) 2009, Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Cambridge, 560pp
  • Mayewski, P. A., M. P. Meredith, C. P. Summerhayes, J. Turner, A. Worby, P. J. Barrett, G. Casassa, N. A. N. Bertler, T. Bracegirdle, A. C. Naveira Garabato, D. Bromwich, H. Campbell, G. H. Hamilton, W. B. Lyons, K. A. Maasch, S. Aoki, C. Xiao, and Tas van Ommen, 2009, State of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate system, Rev. Geophys., 47, doi:10.1029/2007RG000231. 38pp
  • Rintoul, S., et al., including Summerhayes, C.P., 2009, Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS): Rationale and strategy for sustained observations of the Southern Ocean. Community White Paper. OceanPObs09 conference, Venice, September 2009. 30pp
  • Allison, I., et al, including Summerhayes C.P., 2009, The State of Polar Research – a Statement from the ICSU/WMO Joint Committee for the International Polar Year. WMO, Geneva, 12pp
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2008, International Collaboration in Antarctica: the International Polar Years, the International Geophysical Year, and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Polar Record 44 (231), 321-335.
  • Allison, I. et al., including Summerhayes C.P., 2007, The Scope of Science for the International Polar Year 2007-2008. IPY Office, Cambridge, 25pp
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2007, Global Ocean Monitoring Programs in the Southern Ocean. In Riffenburgh, B., ed., Encyclopedia of the Antarctic, v.1, Routledge, London.467-8
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2007, Southern Ocean. In Riffenburgh, B., ed., Encyclopedia of the Antarctic, v.2, Routledge, London.934-938
  • Cryosphere Theme Team, including C.P. Summerhayes, 2007, IGOS Cryosphere Theme. Report of the Cryosphere Theme Team, for the IGOS Partnership, August 200y. IGOS Partners. WMO Technical Report TD 1405, 100pp
  • Summerhayes, C.P., Dickson, B., Meredith, M., Dexter, P., and Alverson, K., 2007, Observing the Polar Oceans During the International Polar Year and Beyond. WMO Bull., 56 (4), 270-283.
  • Summerhayes, C.P., and Beeching, P., 2007, Hitler's Antarctic Base: The Myth and the Reality. Polar Record, 43 (224), 1-21.
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2005, Renewal and Revitalization of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. Un., v.86 (9), 90
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2005, Antarctic Science. EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. Un. v.86 (32), 293 and 298
  • Summerhayes, C.P., Hoffman, E., and Meredith, M., 2005, SO GLOBEC and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). GLOBEC International Newsletter v.11, (2), 23-24
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2005, (Guest Editor) SCAR Open Science Conference, July 2004, Bremen. Special Issue 27. Antarctic Science v 17 (4), Camb. Univ. Press, 481-570.
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2004, The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) in the Antarctic Context. In M. Colacino (ed.), Proc SCAR Workshop on Oceanography, Rome, Italy, 22-24 October 2003. Conference Proceedings v.89., Italian Physical Society, Bologna.281-290
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2004, Antarctica and Climate Change. Geoscientist 15(2), 6-7
  • GCOS (C Summerhayes co-author), 2004, Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC. GCOS Report 92. WMO/TD No 1219. WMO, Geneva, 136pp
  • GCOS (C Summerhayes co-author), 2003, Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC. GCOS Report 82. WMO/TD No 1143. WMO, Geneva, 73pp
  • Altalo, M.G., Summerhayes, C.P., Flemming, N.C., and Bernal, P., 2003, Demand side "Pull" for EuroGOOS Products: Identifying Market and Policy Decisions Impacted by New Environmental Information, in Proc. 3rd EuroGOOS Conference, Athens, December 2002. Elsevier Oceanography Series 69, 409-421
  • Field, J., Hempel, G., and Summerhayes, C.P., (eds.),2002, Oceans 2020, Science,Trends and the Challenge of Sustainability. Island Press, Washington. p 137-162
  • Summerhayes, C.P., 2002, The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) in 1998. In N.C.Flemming et al., (eds.), Operational Oceanography: Implementation at the European and Regional Scales. Proc 2nd EuroGOOS Conf., Rome, March 1999. Elsevier Oceanography Series 66, 57-66
  • Deacon, M., Rice, T., and Summerhayes, C.P., (eds), 2001, Understanding the Oceans: a Century of Ocean Exploraiton. UCL Press, London and New York, 300 pp
  • Thomson, J., et al (C Summerhayes co-author), 2000, Enhanced Productivity on the Iberian Margin during Glacial/Interglacial Transitions Revealed by Barium and Diatoms. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 157, 667-677
  • Thomson, J., Nixon, S., Summerhayes, C.P., Schonfeld, J., Zahn, R., and Grootes, P.,1999, Implications for Sediment Changes on the Iberian Margin over the Last Two Glacial/Interglacial Transitions from (230Th-excess) Systematics. Earth and Plan. Sci. Letts.165, 255-270
  • Little, M.G., et al (C Summerhayes co-author), 1997, Trade Wind Forcing of Upwelling, Seasonality, and Heinrich Events as a Response to Sub Milankovitch Climate Variability. Paleoceanogr. 12(4), 568-576
  • Summerhayes, C.P., and Thorpe, S.A., (eds.), 1996, Oceanography: an Illustrated Guide. Manson Publishing, London, 314-337.
  • Summerhayes, C.P., et al., 1995, Variability in the Benguela Current Upwelling System over the past 75,000 years. Prog. Oceanog. 35, 207-251
  • Summerhayes, C.P., et al., (eds.), 1995, Upwelling in the Oceans. Dahlem Conference Report. J.Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 422pp
  • Posamentier, H., Summerhayes, C.P., Haq, B.U., and Allen, G., (eds.) 1993. Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Association. Spec. Pub. 18, Int. Assoc. Sedimentol.
  • Summerhayes, C.P., Prell, W.L., and Emeis, K-C (eds), 1992. Upwelling Systems: Evolution Since the Early Miocene. Geol. Soc. Spec. Pub. 64., 519 pp
  • Summerhayes, C.P., and Shackleton, N.J., 1986 (eds) North Atlantic Palaeoceanography. Spec. Publ. Geol. Soc. 21, Blackwells, London 473 pp


  • Visiting Professor, Geology Department, University College, London University (1987-1995)

External activities

  • President, Society for Underwater Technology, 2009-2011
  • Vice-President, Geological Society of London, 2010-2013
  • Chair, International Advisory Board, Korea Polar Research Institute, 2011-12
  • Chair, Geological Society Development and Fund-Raising Committee, 2004-2013
  • Chair, Geological Society Climate Change Drafting Group, 2010
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Group, Institute for Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, 2006-
  • Member, ICSU/WMO Steering Committee for the International Polar Year, 2007-2010
  • Member, 1st IPY Science Conference Organising Committee, St Petersburg, 2007-2008
  • Member, 2nd IPY Science Conference Organizing Committee, Oslo, 2009-2010
  • Member, 3rd IPY IPY Science Conference Organising Committee, Montreal, 2010-1012
  • Secretary, Executive Committee of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), 2004-2010
  • Member, Scientific Steering Committee for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), 1997-2004
  • Secretary, Scientific Steering Committee for the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), 1997-2004