The Nicholas School’s Earth and Ocean Sciences Division has a new name. Effective this spring, it became the Earth and Climate Sciences Division.

Faculty members voted to change the name in recognition of the overall evolution of the earth sciences in recent decades, and, more specifically, the evolution of faculty expertise at the school itself. The division now includes scientists who study the chemical, physical and biogeochemical processes of the earth, ocean and atmosphere with a strong emphasis on the direct and indirect effects of past, present and future climate variability.

The new name also acknowledges the heightened interest students have in studying climate change.

The undergraduate major offered through the division has also been renamed Earth and Climate Sciences.

The new divisional name and new climate science focus for the undergraduate major comes as Duke mulls launching a university-wide climate initiative to build on its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality and other sustainability metrics, as reflected in its Climate Action Plan and the Board of Trustees’ Climate Change and Sustainability Task Force.