Recent progress in modelling past greenhouse climates and implications for the future

12 October 2012
Matthew Huber flyer
Matthew Huber flyer

Presented by Professor Matthew Huber
Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, USA

Friday 12 October 2012, 3-4pm
Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre

Professor Huber is visiting Australia as a Distinguished Lecturer supported by the Australian and New Zealand IODP Consortium, and has been heavily involved in the forefront of research linking geoscience information on past climates with climate modeling for both the past and the future. His presentation should be of great interest to those interested in Earth and Climate Science.

One of the main criticisms of model-derived predictions of future climate change is that these climate models have not been validated by comparing them with past, natural climate change. Nothing could be further from the truth. For over thirty years, the same kinds of models that are used for predicting future climate change have been applied to studying past climate changes and their predictions, as compared with the geological archives. From these geological archives we can derive qualitative and quantitative estimates of past climates, including their temperatures and rainfall amounts, and compare them with output from climate models. One consistent theme that has emerged from these comparisons is that models produce the right direction of change, i.e. a much cooler world during the Last Glacial Maximum and a much warmer world during the Eocene and Cretaceous 'greenhouse climates', but that the models tend to underestimate the climate extremes of these intervals. The fact that models tend to underestimate past climate changes implies that they are not sensitive enough to the different boundary conditions of those past worlds, which has interesting implications for our projections of the future.

In my talk I discuss these issues and present some recent progress in paleoclimate modelling in which we show that inclusion of a more complete representation of cloud and aerosol physics within climate models substantially improves the model's representation of the past. We also use these improved models to make inferences about the future.

Biographical overview

Research Interests Past, present and future climate, mechanisms that govern climate, and the different forms that climates can take on Earth and other planets.

Education Ph.D., University of California Santa Cruz (Earth Sciences), 2001 M.S.,University of California Los Angeles (Atmospheric Sciences), 1997 B.A., University of Chicago (Geophysics Honors), 1994

Publications Matt Huber has published widely since he was working on his PhD, in highly-ranked journals. Since 2000 he has published 61 papers covering a broad range of issues, and making good use of his training in both Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Among the co-authored papers are five in Nature.

Time: 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Location: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre, University of Sydney

Cost: Free

Contact: Dr Maria Seton

Phone: (02) 9351 4255

Email: 5c59473f0a492314421e2714061e332a284f5e1c5c021a193b