Scientist, Environmental Sciences Division
Deputy Director, Climate Change Science Institute
Lead, Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Science Research Theme
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Benjamin L. Preston is a senior research scientist in ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division and the Climate Change Science Institute where he conducts research on the societal impacts of climate change and the role of adaptation in reducing climate risk. His research involves the development of empirical and process models as well as the application of geographic analysis tools to estimate climate impacts and, in particular, characterize the many interactions between climatic and socioeconomic change. Preston is also the Lead for the Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Analysis research theme within the Climate Change Science Institute.
Preston received a BS in biology from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in environmental biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also minored in public policy. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow with the Carolina Environmental Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he developed his interest in applications of geographic information systems to investigate spatial and temporal relationships among environmental pressures and outcomes. Preston’s interest in making science relevant to decision-making then drove him to Washington, DC where he worked as a senior research fellow at the Pew Center on Global Change. He later moved overseas to join Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization where he was a research scientist with the Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research.
Preston has contributed dozens of publications to the scientific literature on climate change impacts, adaptation and environmental assessment, and he has served as an expert peer-reviewer for a broad range of academic journals in the environmental sciences. He is also a coordinating lead author for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report.