Sonali McDermid is a climate scientist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU. Her research is focused on the interactions between climate, agriculture and landuse, particularly in how climate change challenges agricultural production and on how agricultural landuse has transformed our climate and regional environments. She uses a variety of methods, including global earth system models, crop models, and observational datasets. She served as the Climate Co-Lead for the UKAID-funded Agricultural Intercomparison and Improvement Project (, which undertook a 10+ year assessment of the impact of climate change on food security and livelihoods across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently, she was a contributing author to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land and is coordinating a nascent project comparing the biophysical impacts of agricultural irrigation. She is also affiliated at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies where she is co-leading development of improved agricultural representations within the GISS global climate model. Through her work, McDermid seeks an answer to the question: What really constitutes responsible, sustainable food security, and how might we lessen our environmental impact while providing nutritious food for everyone?

McDermid holds a B.A. in Physics from NYU (2006), and a Ph.D. (2012) from the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University in Atmospheric Science and Climatology. Prior to her appointment NYU, she was NASA Post-Doctoral Fellowship recipient and scholar at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NYC.