Gideon Henderson

Gideon Henderson

Senior Research Fellow; Professor of Earth Sciences; Development Adviser 

Contact information


I teach climate change and geochemistry at the Department of Earth Sciences.

My second year undergraduate course, “The Carbon Cycle”, provides an overview of geochemical cycles on the Earth’s surface, with a focus on how natural systems and feedbacks control atmospheric carbon dioxide, and therefore climate. This course also considers the changes caused by, and implications of, the present human perturbation to the carbon cycle.

In the third year undergraduate course, “Climate”,  I teach material on  glaciation, monsoons, the influence of the sun on climate, and on sealevel in the past, present and future.

At postgraduate level, I contribute to classes in Oxford’s Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership, and I supervise a number of D. Phil students in a research group focused on palaeoclimate and ocean chemistry.

I am no longer an undergraduate tutor, though I was the Earth Science Tutorial Fellow at University College from 2000-2012.


I am a geochemist whose research focuses on the influence of ocean chemistry on the carbon cycle and climate, and on understanding long-term climate change by study of the past.  A particular expertise is the use of natural radioactive isotopes to establish the rates of oceanic processes, and the timing of past climate events.  I seek to understand components of the carbon and climate systems with relevance to the future, including changes in rainfall, sea level, permafrost, and ocean circulation.  I also seek to understand how humans influence the climate, and on the potential and risks associated with intentional removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

I am an observational scientist, making measurements at sea during research cruises, and on the land, particularly using stalagmites. I run a research group consisting of masters and graduate students, postdocs, and technical staff, who make use of an extensive range of mass spectrometry and clean lab facilities.

Selected Publications

‘Quantification of Holocene Asian monsoon rainfall from spatially separated cave records’ C Hu, GM Henderson, J Huang, S Xie, Y Sun, KR Johnson Earth and Planetary Science Letters 266 (3), 221-232

‘The sequence of events surrounding Termination II and their implications for the cause of glacial‐interglacial CO2 changes’ WS Broecker, GM Henderson Paleoceanography 13 (4), 352-364

‘Introduction to U-series geochemistry’ B Bourdon, S Turner, GM Henderson, CC Lundstrom Reviews in mineralogy and geochemistry 52 (1), 1-21

‘Ice-sheet collapse and sea-level rise at the Bølling warming 14,600 years ago’ P Deschamps, N Durand, E Bard, B Hamelin, G Camoin, AL Thomas, … Nature 483 (7391), 559

‘Evidence from U-Th dating against Northern Hemisphere forcing of the penultimate deglaciation’ GM Henderson, NC Slowey Nature404 (6773), 61

‘Lithium-isotope fractionation during continental weathering processes’ JS Pistiner, GM Henderson Earth and Planetary Science Letters214 (1), 327-339

‘Seasonal trace-element and stable-isotope variations in a Chinese speleothem: The potential for high-resolution paleomonsoon reconstruction’ KR Johnson, C Hu, NS Belshaw, GM Henderson Earth and Planetary Science Letters 244 (1), 394-407

‘The U-series toolbox for paleoceanography’ GM Henderson, RF Anderson Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry 52 (1), 493-531

‘New oceanic proxies for paleoclimate’ GM Henderson Earth and Planetary Science Letters 203 (1), 1-13

‘Temperature dependence of δ 7 Li, δ 44 Ca and Li/Ca during growth of calcium carbonate’ CS Marriott, GM Henderson, NS Belshaw, AW Tudhope Earth and Planetary Science Letters 222 (2), 615-624

For a full list please see here.

Contact Univ

If you have any questions or need more information, just ask: