Lewis Ziska

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at CUMC
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Dr. Ziska is an Associate Professor in the Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Dr. Ziska also serves as the Climate and Health Certificate Lead. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, he began his career as a Smithsonian fellow, and then took up residence as the Project Leader for global climate change at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines before a 24 year career at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. He has worked primarily on documenting the impact of climate change and rising carbon dioxide levels on: Crop selection for CO2 responsiveness to improve production; Climate and agronomic pests, including chemical management; Climate, plant biology and public health impacts on food security with a focus on nutrition and pesticide use.  Dr. Ziska is a contributor to the 2007, 2014 and 2022  International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (Food Security Chapter). He is also a contributor to the 2014 and 2018 National Climate Assessment (NCA) (Public Health Chapter and Air quality chapter respectively); and, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment (https://health2016.globalchange.gov/). 

His most recent book is: Greenhouse Planet by Columbia University Press (Release date, September 2022)

Office Location: 722 West 168th Street, ARB 1104C

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Lead, Climate and Health Certificate
  • Interim Director, Center for Climate and Health


Dr. Ziska examines the nexus of climate change, carbon dioxide, plant biology and public health.

Research Interests

  • Climate Change
  • food insecurity
  • Role of Plant Biology in Public Health

Selected Publications

Rice, C., Wolf, J., Fleisher, D.H., Acosta, S.M., Adkins, S.W., Bajwa, A.A. and Ziska, L.H., 2021. Recent CO2 levels promote increased production of the toxin parthenin in an invasive Parthenium hysterophorus biotype. Nature Plants, 7(6), pp.725-729.

Ziska, L.H., 2022. Rising Carbon Dioxide and Global Nutrition: Evidence and Action Needed. Plants, 11(7), p.1000.

Anderegg, W.R., Abatzoglou, J.T., Anderegg, L.D., Bielory, L., Kinney, P.L. and Ziska, L., 2021. Anthropogenic climate change is worsening North American pollen seasons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7), p.e2013284118.

Damialis, A., Gilles, S., Sofiev, M., Sofieva, V., Kolek, F., Bayr, D., Plaza, M.P., Leier-Wirtz, V., Kaschuba, S., Ziska, L.H. and Bielory, L., 2021. Higher airborne pollen concentrations correlated with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, as evidenced from 31 countries across the globe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(12), p.e2019034118.

Ziska, L.H. and Ebi, K.L., 2021. Climate change, carbon dioxide, and public health: The plant biology perspective. Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice, 131.