Professor Harry Dowsett

Professor Harry Dowsett


In 1988 I earned my Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Brown University. My start at the U.S. Geological Survey came after being awarded a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellowship that same year. I am currently Lead Scientist of the Pliocene Research, Interpretation & Synoptic Mapping group (PRISM), and Project Chief of the Geological Investigations of the Neogene effort at the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia. I have served as Editor of the journal Micropaleontology, sit on the Board of Directors for The Micropaleontology Press Foundation, and am affiliated with the Departments of Atmosphere, Ocean and Earth Sciences, and Environmental Science Policy, at George Mason University. I served as Associate Director of the Paleoclimatology Program at the National Science Foundation, and was awarded the President’s Medal by the Palaeontological Association.

Research interests

My research interests lie at the nexus between paleontology and paleoclimate modelling. I specialize in quantitative analysis of microfossil assemblages and its application to paleoceanography, stratigraphy, and evolution.

Current Projects:

  • Geological Investigations of the Neogene (USGS)
  • Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping (USGS)
  • Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (International Collaborative Project)


Dowsett, H.J., Robinson, M.M., Foley, K.M., Herbert, T.D., Otto-Bliesner, B.L., and Spivey, W., 2019, The mid-Piacenzian of the North Atlantic Ocean: Stratigraphy, 16(3): 119-144.

Foley, K.M., and Dowsett, H.J., 2019, Community sourced mid-Piacenzian sea surface temperature (SST) data: U.S. Geological Survey data release

Hsiang, A.Y., Brombacher, A., Rillo, M.C., Mleneck-Vautravers, M.J., Conn, S., Lordsmith, S., Jentzen, A., Henehan, M.J., Metcalfe, B., Fenton, I.S., Wade, B.S., Fox, L., Meilland, J., Davis, C.V., Baranowski, U., Groeneveld, J., Edgar, K.M., Movellan, A., Aze, T., Dowsett, H.J., Miller, C.G., Rios, N., and Hull, P.M., 2019, Endless Forams: >34,000 Modern Planktonic Foraminiferal Images for Taxonomic Training and Automated Species Recognition Using Convolutional Neural Networks: Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34(7): 1157-1177.

Caballero-Gill, R.P., Herbert, T.D., and Dowsett, H.J., 2019, 100-kyr Paced Climate Change in the Pliocene Warm Period, Southwest Pacific: Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34(4): 524-545.

Robinson, M., Foley, K., Dowsett, H., and Spivey, W., 2019, A global planktic foraminifer census data set for the Pliocene ocean, addendum.: NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.

Robinson, M.M., Dowsett, H.J., and Stoll, D.K., 2018, Sea Surface Temperature Estimates for the mid-Piacenzian Indian Ocean: ODP Sites 709, 716, 722, 754, 757, 758 and 763: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2017-1158.

Robinson, M. M., and Dowsett, H. J., 2018, Data report: Late Pliocene planktonic foraminifer assemblages from IODP Holes U1443B, U1443C, and U1445A, Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program, 353:


Robinson, M. M., Dowsett, H. J., Foley, K. M., and Riesselman, C. R., 2018, PRISM marine sites—The history of PRISM sea surface temperature estimation, Reston, VA, U.S. Geological Survey Report 2018-1148,

Smith, Y. M., Hill, D. J., Dolan, A. M., Haywood, A. M., Dowsett, H. J. & Risebrobakken, B., 2018, Icebergs in the Nordic Seas throughout the Late Pliocene. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 33(3): 318-335.

Dowsett, H.J.  2017, Palaeoclimate: Aerosols shift lake ecosystem. Nature Climate Change, 7(3): 174-175.

Dowsett, H., Robinson, M. and Foley, K., 2017, A simple rubric for Stratigraphic Fidelity (β) of paleoenvironmental time series. Stratigraphy, 13(4): 303-305.

Dowsett, H.J., Foley, K.M., Robinson, M.M., and Herbert, T.D., 2017, PRISM late Pliocene (Piacenzian) alkenone - derived SST data: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Lord, N.S., Crucifix, M., Lunt, D.J., Thorne, M.C., Bounceur, N., Dowsett, H., O'Brien, C.L. and Ridgwell, A., 2017, Emulation of long-term changes in global climate: Application to the late Pliocene and future. Climate of the Past, 13: 1539-1571.

Dowsett, H., Dolan, A., Rowley, D., Moucha, R., Forte, A.M., Mitrovica, J.X., Pound, M., Salzmann, U., Robinson, M., Chandler, M., Foley, K., Haywood, A., 2016, The PRISM4 (mid-Piacenzian) paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Climate of the Past, 12: 1519-1538.

Haywood, A.M., Dowsett, H.J. & Dolan, A.M., 2016, Integrating geological archives and climate models for the mid-Pliocene warm period: Nature Communications 7: 10646.

Haywood, A.M., Dowsett, H.J., Dolan, A.M., Rowley, D., Abe-Ouchi, A., Otto-Bliesner, B., Chandler, M.A., Hunter, S.J., Lunt, D.J., Pound, M. and Salzmann, U., 2016, The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP) Phase 2: scientific objectives and experimental design. Climate of the Past, 12(3): 663-675.

Howell, F.W., Haywood, A.M., Dowsett, H.J. and Pickering, S.J., 2016, Sensitivity of Pliocene Arctic climate to orbital forcing, atmospheric CO2 and sea ice albedo parameterisation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 441: 133-142.




<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Geological Sciences, Brown University
  • MSc Geology, The George Washington University
  • BA Geology, C.W. Post College, Long Island University