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.

L’ Empire des Métaux Rares

by Edouard Guigue, 13 janvier 2018

Que sont les métaux rares ? Des ressources peu connues mais essentielles au fonctionnement de l’espace mondialisé. Insérées au cœur de tout appareil électronique, sans elles aucune de nos technologies numériques n’existerait. Composant également la plupart de nos technologies vertes (éoliennes, panneaux solaires ou voitures électriques), leurs modes de production laissent toutefois perplexe sur leur capacité à s’établir comme alternatives durables aux énergies fossiles. La pollution ne serait pas réduite mais simplement délocalisée… essentiellement en Chine où 95% des terres rares sont produites. Un chiffre qui par ailleurs devrait nous alarmer sur la situation de dépendance à la Chine dans laquelle le reste du monde  -dont l’Europe- se trouve depuis les années 1980. Guillaume Pitron nous présente une enquête de six ans, dont les résultats sont à retrouver dans son livre La guerre des métaux rares.

Why 2017’s “Third Warmest Year on Record” is a Yawner

by E. Calvin Beisner, January 29, 2018 in WUWT

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) press release headline January 18 was blunt: “NOAA: 2017 was 3rd warmest year on record for the globe.” The tagline that followed made the inference obligatory for all climate alarmists: “NOAA, NASA scientists confirm Earth’s long-term warming trend continues” (emphasis added).

The New York Times trumpeted, “2017 Was One of the Hottest Years on Record,” adding, “Scientists at NASA on Thursday ranked last year as the second-warmest year since reliable record-keeping began in 1880, trailing only 2016. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which uses a different analytical method, ranked it third, behind 2016 and 2015.”

The UK Guardian likewise proclaimed, “2017 was the hottest year on record without an El Niño, thanks to global warming.”

Similar headlines appeared around the world. (…)

Greenland Is Getting Colder–New Study

by P Homewood, January 29, 2018 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

Using satellite data, a group of scientists has studied the development of temperature over the past 15 years in a large part of Greenland.

More precisely, they looked at surface temperatures (the temperature close to the Earth’s surface) in a part of the country that is not covered by ice—around one fifth of the surface area of Greenland.

Intuitively, you may think that temperature throughout all of Greenland has been increasing, but that is not the case. When you look at the yearly average, the ice-free parts of Greenland show a slight drop in temperature between 2001 and 2015. With swings in temperature from year to year.

However, these results should not be interpreted as “proof” that the Earth is not warming, say the scientists behind the research, which is published in the journal Scientific Reports.


by The New York Times, January 26, 2018 in GWPF

Experts say one annual increase doesn’t indicate China is returning to an era when its emissions grew by leaps and bounds. But the increase illustrates the challenges and compromises Beijing must juggle if it wants to stoke its economy and at the same time keep its environmental promises. […]

See also here and  here

Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy

by Clifford Krauss, January 28, 2018 in TheNewYorkTimes

HOUSTON — A substantial rise in oil prices in recent months has led to a resurgence in American oil production, enabling the country to challenge the dominance of Saudi Arabia and dampen price pressures at the pump.

The success has come in the face of efforts by Saudi Arabia and its oil allies to undercut the shale drilling spree in the United States. Those strategies backfired and ultimately ended up benefiting the oil industry.

Overcoming three years of slumping prices proved the resiliency of the shale boom. Energy companies and their financial backers were able to weather market turmoil — and the maneuvers of the global oil cartel — by adjusting exploration and extraction techniques.

Global SST data confirms cooling is on the way

by P Homewood, January 27, 2018 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

I see that reality is beginning to intrude upon the dangerous global warming team. They say ” it is plausible, if not likely, that the next 10 years of global temperature change will leave an impression of a ‘global warming hiatus’.”
Climate is controlled by natural cycles. Earth is just past the 2003+/- peak of a millennial cycle and the current cooling trend will likely continue until the next Little Ice Age minimum at about 2650.See the Energy and Environment paper at
and an earlier accessible blog version at

Le climat et son histoire

by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 2012 in CairnInfo

Beaucoup de gens, à juste titre, sont impressionnés par les prédictions pessimistes du GIEC  relativement à la fin du xxie siècle, et il est fort possible que ces prédictions soient justifiées. La tâche de l’historien, c’est plutôt de resituer l’histoire du climat dans des périodes récentes ou moins récentes et de réfléchir, ensuite, en toute indépendance, en toute objectivité, sur ce qui nous attend, tant en fonction de ce qui s’est passé déjà, qu’en fonction des résultats impressionnants que nous proposent, avec raison sans doute, les sciences exactes.

Crucial Climate Verdict, Fledgling Evidence

by Donna Laframboise, January 26, 2018 in BigPictureNews

BIG PICTURE: In 1995, a 40-year-old climate modeller named Ben Santer was in charge of Chapter 8 of the UN’s upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Nothing in the other 49 chapters mattered more than the question his team was expected to answer: Was global climate change wholly natural – or was it partially caused by human activity?

A ‘marine motorhome for microbes’: Oceanic plastic trash conveys disease to coral reefs

by Cornell University, January 25, 2018 in ScienceDaily

Plastics make ideal vessels for colonizing microscopic organisms that could trigger disease if they come into contact with corals,” Lamb said. “Plastic items — commonly made of polypropylene, such as bottle caps and toothbrushes — have been shown to become heavily inhabited by bacteria


by E.  Garnier, septembre 2012, in Risques, les Cahiers de l’Assurance

Ce travail tente de prouver l’intérêt pour l’assureur d’une approche historique consacrée aux tempêtes et aux cyclones entre 1500 et nos jours. Les exemples de la France, de l’Europe et de l’océan Indien montrent que ces événements extrêmes sont en réalité des facteurs de permanence historique et que les archives peuvent être très utiles pour estimer leur sévérité. Dans cette perspective, une simulation du coût actuel de la tempête atlantique de mars 1937 est réalisée. Elle révèle que les sociétés littorales de cette époque étaient nettement plus résilientes. Enfin, l’étude prouve que, depuis la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la vulnérabilité a augmenté plus rapidement que l’aléa tempête, notamment depuis les années 1990 avec l’urbanisation croissante des littoraux.

Sensitivity to lunar cycles prior to the 2007 eruption of Ruapehu volcano

by T. Girona, C. Huber, C. Caudron,  January 24, 2018 in Nature

A long-standing question in Earth Science is the extent to which seismic and volcanic activity can be regulated by tidal stresses, a repeatable and predictable external excitation induced by the Moon-Sun gravitational force. Fortnightly tides, a ~14-day amplitude modulation of the daily tidal stresses that is associated to lunar cycles, have been suggested to affect volcano dynamics. However, previous studies found contradictory results and remain mostly inconclusive. Here we study how fortnightly tides have affected Ruapehu volcano (New Zealand) from 2004 to 2016 by analysing the rolling correlation between lunar cycles and seismic amplitude recorded close to the crater. (…)

TAO Sea and Air Temperature Differences

by Willis Eschenbach, January 24, 2018 in WUWT

(…) I like the TAO buoy data because we can be sure that it is free of urban heat islands, changes in location, instrumentation changes, and many of the other problems that plague land-based stations. It is also measured very frequently, typically every ten minutes. This lets us explore the daily cycles of air and sea temperature, solar radiation, longwave radiation, humidity, and the like.

Alarmist Retreat Begins: Natural Factors May Cause New Global Warming Hiatus

by Dr Benny Peiser, January 24, 2018 in ClimateChangeDispatch

The solar variability is not negligible in comparison with the energy imbalance that drives global temperature change.

Therefore, because of the combination of the strong 2016 El Niño and the phase of the solar cycle, it is plausible, if not likely, that the next 10 years of global temperature change will leave an impression of a ‘global warming hiatus.’ —James Hansen et al, 18 January 2018

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has lodged a new complaint with the BBC about its misleading reporting on global warming.

See also here