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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Corey Lesk

NE CASC Graduate Fellow
Ph.D. Candidate
Columbia University

Research Interests

I am a transdisciplinary environmental scientist broadly interested in climate, crops, plants, and sustainability. One focus of mine is to understand how weather has impacted food crops historically, drawing lessons on how to adapt future agriculture to complex climate changes. I am also interested in how plants in general influence climate and how rising CO2 could alter these relationships. A third prong of my research is to understanding the transitions needed to achieve a healthier human presence on Earth, including how climate adaption could interact with emissions reductions goals. Climate is an intergenerational crisis, so I see teaching as equally important to research (and also much enjoy it). I will defend my PhD at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the spring of 2022.

Recent Publications:

Lesk, C., Coffel, E., Winter, J., Zscheischler, J., Seneviratne, S. I., Ray, D. K., & Horton, R. M. (2021). Stronger temperature-moisture couplings exacerbate the impact of climate warming on global crop yields. Nature Food, accepted.

Lesk, C., & Anderson, W. (2021). Decadal variability modulates trends in concurrent heat and drought over global croplands. Environmental Research Letters, 16(5), 055024.

Lesk, C., Coffel, E., & Horton, R. (2020). Net benefits to US soy and maize yields from intensifying hourly rainfall. Nature Climate Change, 10(9), 819-822.

Greenford, D. H., Crownshaw, T., Lesk, C., Stadler, K., & Matthews, H. D. (2020). Shifting economic activity to services has limited potential to reduce global environmental impacts due to the household consumption of labour. Environmental Research Letters, 15(6), 064019.


M. Phil in Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University, New York, NY, 2020
B.Sc. in Earth System Science, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, 2014


Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University, New York, NY


PhD candidate, Columbia University, 2017-present
Instructor, Science Honors Program, Columbia University, 2019-2021
Teaching Assistant, Climate and Society, Columbia University, 2018-2020
Research assistant, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, 2015-2017
Research intern, Land Use and Global Environment lab, McGill University, 2012-2016