Tous les articles par Alain Préat

Full-time professor at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium • Department of Earth Sciences and Environment Res. Grp. - Biogeochemistry & Modeling of the Earth System Sedimentology & Basin Analysis • Alumnus, Collège des Alumni, Académie Royale de Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux Arts de Belgique (mars 2013). • Prof. Invited, Université de Mons-Hainaut (2010-present-day) • Prof. Coordinator and invited to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Belgium (Belgian College) (2009- present day) • Prof. partim to the DEA (third cycle) led by the University of Lille (9 universities from 1999 to 2004) - Prof. partim at the University of Paris-Sud/Orsay, European-Socrates Agreement (1995-1998) • Prof. partim at the University of Louvain, Convention ULB-UCL (1993-2000) • Since 2015 : Member of Comité éditorial de la Revue Géologie de la France • Since 2014 : Regular author of texts for ‘la Revue Science et Pseudosciences’ • Many field works (several weeks to 2 months) (Meso- and Paleozoic carbonates, Paleo- to Neoproterozoic carbonates) in Europe, USA (Nevada), Papouasia (Holocene), North Africa (Algeria, Morrocco, Tunisia), West Africa (Gabon, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, South Africa, Angola), Iraq... Recently : field works (3 to 5 weeks) Congo- Brazzaville 2012, 2015, 2016 (carbonate Neoproterozoic). Degree in geological sciences at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) in 1974, I went to Algeria for two years teaching mining geology at the University of Constantine. Back in Belgium I worked for two years as an expert for the EEC (European Commission), first on the prospecting of Pb and Zn in carbonate environments, then the uranium exploration in Belgium. Then Assistant at ULB, Department of Geology I got the degree of Doctor of Sciences (Geology) in 1985. My thesis, devoted to the study of the Devonian carbonate sedimentology of northern France and southern Belgium, comprised a significant portion of field work whose interpretation and synthesis conducted to the establishment of model of carbonate platforms and ramps with reefal constructions. I then worked for Petrofina SA and shared a little more than two years in Angola as Director of the Research Laboratory of this oil company. The lab included 22 people (micropaleontology, sedimentology, petrophysics). My main activity was to interpret facies reservoirs from drillings in the Cretaceous, sometimes in the Tertiary. I carried out many studies for oil companies operating in this country. I returned to the ULB in 1988 as First Assistant and was appointed Professor in 1990. I carried out various missions for mining companies in Belgium and oil companies abroad and continued research, particularly through projects of the Scientific Research National Funds (FNRS). My research still concerns sedimentology, geochemistry and diagenesis of carbonate rocks which leads me to travel many countries in Europe or outside Europe, North Africa, Papua New Guinea and the USA, to conduct field missions. Since the late 90's, I expanded my field of research in addressing the problem of mass extinctions of organisms from the Upper Devonian series across Euramerica (from North America to Poland) and I also specialized in microbiological and geochemical analyses of ancient carbonate series developing a sustained collaboration with biologists of my university. We are at the origin of a paleoecological model based on the presence of iron-bacterial microfossils, which led me to travel many countries in Europe and North Africa. This model accounts for the red pigmentation of many marble and ornamental stones used in the world. This research also has implications on the emergence of Life from the earliest stages of formation of Earth, as well as in the field of exobiology or extraterrestrial life ... More recently I invested in the study from the Precambrian series of Gabon and Congo. These works with colleagues from BRGM (Orléans) are as much about the academic side (consequences of the appearance of oxygen in the Paleoproterozoic and study of Neoproterozoic glaciations) that the potential applications in reservoir rocks and source rocks of oil (in collaboration with oil companies). Finally I recently established a close collaboration with the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium to study the susceptibility magnetic signal from various European Paleozoic series. All these works allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of carbonate rocks (petrology, micropaleontology, geobiology, geochemistry, sequence stratigraphy, diagenesis) as well in Precambrian (2.2 Ga and 0.6 Ga), Paleozoic (from Silurian to Carboniferous) and Mesozoic (Jurassic and Cretaceous) rocks. Recently (2010) I have established a collaboration with Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a government program to boost scientific research in this country. My research led me to publish about 180 papers in international and national journals and presented more than 170 conference papers. I am a holder of eight courses at the ULB (5 mandatory and 3 optional), excursions and field stages, I taught at the third cycle in several French universities and led or co-managed a score of 20 Doctoral (PhD) and Post-doctoral theses and has been the promotor of more than 50 Masters theses.

140 Years to a PETM-Style Doomsday!!! Another PETM/Chicken Little of the Sea Epic Fail

by David Middleton, May 18, 2019 in WUWT

Gingerich, 2019 is a recent paper reiterating the PETM Chicken Little of the Sea meme. In the comments section of a recent post, it was cited as evidence of imminent catastrophe and followed up by a comment featuring this image from Clean Tecnica:

I just had to track this back to the Clean Tecnica article… Their scientific prowess is almost always laughable… And I was not disappointed.

CO2 and ocean chemistry

by Dr. Daniela Mazza, May 18, 2019 in WUWT

Oceans cover about 71% of the earth surface, but their influence on climate change is not only due to high heat capacity of water , not only to the ocean’s water circulation, but to a fact which is widely underestimated : the pH (acidity level) of sea-water is substantially alkaline, ranging from 8.0 to 8.7 . This means that the balance between positive and negative ions is reached by accounting for OH,hydroxide ions, in a far larger amount in respect to H+ hydrogen ions.

The pH value higher than 7 allows seawater to dissolve and react huge amounts of CO2 , carbon dioxide, thus affecting the amount of this gas in the atmosphere by absorbing excess of it. To calculate this excess in respect to what would be the true equilibrium value in the air, all of the chemical reactions involved have to be simultaneously computed, accounting for their equilibrium constants, which in turn depend on temperature.

1 – CO2 (gas) + H2O <==> H2CO3* (H2CO3* is the sum of dissolved CO2 and H2CO3)

2 – H2CO3 <==> H+ + HCO3

3 – HCO3 <==> H+ + CO3– –

4 – H2O <==> H+ + OH

5 – Ca++ + CO3– – <==> CaCO3 (calcite)

6 – Ca++ + OH <==> Ca(OH)+

7 – Mg++ + OH <==> Mg(OH)+


Conclusions : CO2 is at 410 ppm far above the equilibrium value (315) , provided a standard seawater composition and an average ocean temperature of 17°C (taken from wikipedia). No doubt that solubility will force more CO2 to be stored in oceans . Moreover if we consider CaCO3 formation (seawater has overshot the solubility of this salt nearly 50 times but nucleation and growth are slow) still more CO2 will be stored by limestone.

L’aluminium, symbole du désarroi climatique ? Pas pour tous….

by Prof. Samuel Furfari, 16 mai 2019, in ScienceClimatEnergie

La Commission européenne a publié dès le début de l’année 2019 son rapport sur l’évolution des prix et coûts de l’énergie en Europe.  On peut y lire que l’étude de ces coûts devrait conduire à  « veiller à̀ ce que les entreprises ne soient pas désavantagées ni écartées » et que « les prix de détail (réels) dans l’Union sont plus élevés qu’aux États-Unis, au Canada, en Russie, en Chine et en Turquie, mais inférieurs à̀ ceux observés au Japon et au Brésil. » Le graphique suivant (Figure 1) illustre bien le fait que les industries européennes sont pénalisées par rapport aux entreprises d’autres pays qui sont des concurrents directs sur les marchés internationaux, y compris pour nos importations. Le rapport ajoute pudiquement, sans y insister que « l’évolution des prix de l’électricité est dominée par les taxes et prélèvements ».

Our Urban “Climate Crisis”

by Jim Steele, May 17, 2019 in WUWT

Based on a globally averaged statistic, some scientists and several politicians claim we are facing a climate crisis. Although it’s wise to think globally, organisms are never affected by global averages. Never! Organisms only respond to local conditions. Always! Given that weather stations around the globe only record local conditions, it is important to understand over one third of the earth’s weather stations report a cooling trend (i.e. Fig 4 below ) Cooling trends have various local and regional causes, but clearly, areas with cooling trends are not facing a “warming climate crisis”. Unfortunately, by averaging cooling and warming trends, the local factors affecting varied trends have been obscured.

It is well known as human populations grow, landscapes lose increasing amounts of natural vegetation, experience a loss of soil moisture and are increasingly covered by heat absorbing pavement and structures. All those factors raise temperatures so that a city’s downtown area can be 10°F higher than nearby rural areas. Despite urban areas representing less than 3% of the USA’s land surface, 82% of our weather stations are located in urbanized areas. This prompts critical thinkers to ask, “have warmer urbanized landscapes biased the globally averaged temperature?” (Arctic warming also biases the global average, but that dynamic must await a future article.)

‘Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment’

by Joe Bastardi, May 17, 2019 inThePatriotPost

Apparently, the new strategy to fight climate change is shock therapy. It’s like today’s environmental crusaders are channeling the Ramones song “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment.” Here are some illustrations.

Shock treatment is for extreme measures. But take, for example, this Dr. Willie Soon plot of solar irradiance (a measure of solar energy) vs. water vapor:

Water vapor is the number-one greenhouse gas. So it’s no secret what temperatures do when water vapor increases.

Recent Studies Indicate Species Extinctions Decline With Warming – Mass Extinction Events Due To COOLING

by K. Richard, May 16, 2019 in NoTricksZone

In the past it has been widely reported that high and abruptly changing CO2 concentrations led to climate conditions that were “too hot for complex life to survive” on the planet.
More recently, though, scientists have determined that the opposite may have been true: mass extinction events occurred during periods of global cooling, expansive ice sheet growth, and marine-habitat-destroying sea level drops of more than 100 meters.
In fact, of the 5 previous mass extinctions, volcanism-induced glaciation is thought to be responsible for the 1st, 3rd, and 4th events, with the 2nd unknown and the 5th from an aseteroid impact.  None of these explanations have ties to CO2 concentrations or sudden warming.

Image Sources: Loehle & Eschenbach (2012), BBC, Wrightstone, 2019

No Hockey Sticks: Studies Reveal Long-Term Lack of Warming

by Vijay Jayaraj, May 16,2019 in WUWT

A new temperature reconstruction, using proxy temperature measurements from locations in central Asia, has revealed that there has been no warming in the past 432 years.

The Global Warming “Hiatus” or Pause

The word “hiatus” became popular in recent years after the discovery of a pause or hiatus in global warming. There has been a lack of warming in the atmosphere since 1999, despite the predictions of computer climate models.


by Roy Spencer, May 15, 2019 in GWPF

A major uncertainty in figuring out how much of recent warming has been human-caused is knowing how much nature has caused. The IPCC is quite sure that nature is responsible for less than half of the warming since the mid-1900s, but politicians, activists, and various green energy pundits go even further, behaving as if warming is 100% human-caused.

The fact is we really don’t understand the causes of natural climate change on the time scale of an individual lifetime, although theories abound. For example, there is plenty of evidence that the Little Ice Age was real, and so some of the warming over the last 150 years (especially prior to 1940) was natural — but how much?

The answer makes as huge difference to energy policy. If global warming is only 50% as large as is predicted by the IPCC (which would make it only 20% of the problem portrayed by the media and politicians), then the immense cost of renewable energy can be avoided until we have new cost-competitive energy technologies.

The recently published paper Recent Global Warming as Confirmed by AIRSused 15 years of infrared satellite data to obtain a rather strong global surface warming trend of +0.24 C/decade. Objections have been made to that study by me (e.g. here) and others, not the least of which is the fact that the 2003-2017 period addressed had a record warm El Nino near the end (2015-16), which means the computed warming trend over that period is not entirely human-caused warming.

If we look at the warming over the 19-year period 2000-2018, we see the record El Nino event during 2015-16 (all monthly anomalies are relative to the 2001-2017 average seasonal cycle):


See also Spencer’s blog

The Little Ice Age: What Happened Around the World

by Marcia Wendorf, May 15, 2019 in InterestingEngineering

Between 1300 and 1850, the Earth experienced a Little Ice Age whose cause to this day is not known.

During the period 950 CE to 1250 CE, the earth experienced an unusually warm period, which became known as the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) or the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. At their height, temperatures during that period were similar to those experienced during earth’s mid-20th-century warming period.

Following the Medieval Warm Period came a period of intense cold, which has become known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). The term “Little Ice Age” was coined by Dutch-born American geologist F.E. Matthes in 1939. The LIA began around 1300 CE and lasted until about 1850 CE.

Within that stretch, NASA’s Earth Observatory has described three particularly cold periods: one around 1650, a second around 1770, and the third around 1850.

olutions au réchauffement climatique : des universitaires de Cambridge tentent de trouver un moyen de re-geler l’Arctique

by F. Gervais, 15 mai 2018, in Atlantico

Atlantico : Quelles solutions envisagées par la communauté scientifique sont aujourd’hui les plus plausibles pour infléchir réellement le réchauffement climatique ? Pour l’inverser ?

François Gervais : La température moyenne de la Planète a augmenté de l’ordre de 1°C depuis le début du siècle dernier. Mais selon les données du Hadley Center britannique (HADCRUT4), 60 % de cette hausse s’est produite de 1910 à 1945 alors que les émissions de CO2 étaient 6 à 10 fois inférieures à ce qu’elles sont de nos jours, plaidant pour une cause principalement naturelle. Durant les 74 années suivantes, la température n’a augmenté que de 0,4°C en dépit de l’accélération des émissions à partir de 1945. Ce ne sont donc pas les observations qui sont inquiétantes mais les projections des modèles de climat repris par le GIEC. Leur problème est toutefois qu’ils ne sont pas d’accord entre eux, prévoyant des hausses avec une incertitude dans un rapport de 1 à 3, incertitude qui ne s’est pas réduite en 40 ans d’études en dépit de moyens considérables. Un corpus de 3000 publications dans des revues internationales conclut en revanche à une prééminence de la variabilité naturelle du climat sur la contribution anthropique. Cela dit, réduire notre addiction au carbone est sans doute sage car les ressources ne sont pas inépuisables. Mais jouer aux apprentis sorciers avec la géo-ingénierie est plus discutable. Et à quoi bon puisque des astronomes prévoient une moindre activité solaire dans les années à venir. Les recherches visant à retransformer le CO2 en carburant à partir de la photosynthèse de micro-algues sont intéressantes, surtout si le prix du baril devait considérablement augmenter à l’avenir. Toutefois, le supplément de CO2dans l’atmosphère a enrichi la biomasse végétale de l’ordre de 20 % comme le vérifie le verdissement de la Planète observé par satellite. Serait-il raisonnable d’en contrarier le bénéfice en particulier pour les plantes nutritives ?

Vice-President Šefčovič joins U.S. President Trump in opening an LNG export terminal

by European Commission, May 14, 2019


German Employer’s Association Op Ed: “No Expert Politician In Berlin Believes In Switch To Green Energies Any More”

by P. Gosselin, May 14, 2019 in NoTricksZone

As the pressure mounts in Germany to switch off coal power plants and to rapidly transition over to green energies, one gets the feeling that it all has more to do with a desperate, last-ditch effort by the green energy proponents to rescue their pet green project.

Behind closed doors, no one in Berlin believes in it

Now, just days ago, energy expert Dr. Björn Peters wrote at the German Association of Employers site that the Energiewende has deteriorated to the point that: “No specialist politician in Berlin believes in the success of the Energiewende any more. Whoever you ask, everyone says this only behind closed doors and thinks that if you go to the press with it you can only lose against the ‘green’ media mainstream.”

Peters warns that what is needed in Germany is a good dose of reality and “a fresh start on energy policy.”

Advantages of fossil fuels “too great”

The German expert writes that despite the hundreds of billions of euros committed to green energies, “chemical energy from coal, oil and gas supplies about four fifths of primary energy worldwide and also in Germany and thus represents the present energy supply”.

The next ‘Ferrari of shale’ may be hiding in Australia’s outback

by Bloomberg Business,  May 3, 2019, in theJapantimes

In a corner of the Australian Outback, a drilling crew will soon try tapping shale rocks that could hold more than three times the world’s annual consumption of natural gas.

Origin Energy Ltd. plans to drill two wells later this year in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin, after the local government ended a three-year ban on fracking — the practice of extracting oil and gas from layers of shale rock deep underground. With an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet (14 trillion cubic meters) of gas, Beetaloo has been compared to famed U.S. shale regions such as Marcellus and Barnett.

But its isolated location, lack of infrastructure and the likelihood of tough environmental opposition make Beetaloo a highly speculative investment.

“There are some big numbers being quoted, and people have to realize this is exploration,” said Mark Schubert, Origin’s head of integrated gas, noting that only some of the total reserves would be extractable.

Germany, Poland snub EU appeal for greater climate ambition

by Frédéric Simon, May 7, 2019 in Euractiv

The governments of France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg have launched an appeal to boost EU climate action ahead of a major summit on the future of Europe taking place in Romania next Thursday (9 May).

A leaked “non-paper” by the eight countries calls on the European Union to step up the fight against climate change and sign up to a European Commission plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions “by 2050 at the latest”.

Germany, Italy and Poland were notably absent from the list of signatories of the leaked document, obtained by EURACTIV, echoing divisions at a recent EU summit.