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.

The Laws of Averages: Part 2, A Beam of Darkness

by Kip Hansen, June 19, 2017 in WUWT

As both the word and the concept “average” are subject to a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding in the general public and both word and concept have seen an overwhelming amount of “loose usage” even in scientific circles, not excluding peer-reviewed journal articles and scientific press releases,  I gave a refresher on Averages in Part 1 of this series.  If your maths or science background is near the great American average, I suggest you take a quick look at the primer in Part 1 before reading here.

Plastic pollution in the Antarctic worse than expected

by British Antarctic Survey, June 19, 2017 in ClimateChangeDispatch

The levels of microplastic particles accumulating in the Antarctic are much worse than expected, a team of experts has warned.

The continent is considered to be a pristine wilderness compared to other regions and was thought to be relatively free from plastic pollution. However new findings by scientists from University of Hull and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have revealed that recorded levels of microplastics are five times higher than you would expect to find from local sources such as research stations and ships

The New ‘Consensus’ On Global Warming – a shocking admission by “Team Climate”

in Anthony Watts, June 20, 2017


A scientific consensus has emerged among top mainstream climate scientists that “skeptics” or “lukewarmers” were not long ago derided for suggesting — there was a nearly two-decade long “hiatus” in global warming that climate models failed to accurately predict or replicate.A new paper, led by climate scientist Benjamin Santer, adds to the ever-expanding volume of “hiatus” literature embracing popular arguments advanced by skeptics, and even uses satellite temperature datasets to show reduced atmospheric warming.

More importantly, the paper discusses the failure of climate models to predict or replicate the “slowdown” in early 21st century global temperatures, which was another oft-derided skeptic observation.

Study: California once had 150 straight years of stormy, wet, weather

by Vanderbilt University, from WUWT, June 20, 2017

Wet and stormy weather lashed California coast… 8,200 years ago

First high resolution evidence of California climate response to Holocene 8.2 ka event

The weather report for California 8,200 years ago was exceptionally wet and stormy.

That is the conclusion of a paleoclimate study that analyzed stalagmite records from White Moon Cave in the Santa Cruz Mountains published online Jun. 20 in Scientific Reports.

The Golden State’s 150-year stretch of unusually wet weather appears to have been marked by particularly intense winter storms and coincides with a climate anomaly in Greenland ice cores first detected in 1997. Before this “8.2 ka event” was discovered scientists thought the world’s climate had been unusually stable during the Holocene, the geological epoch that covers the last 11,700 years of Earth’s history.


One lonely molecule…

by Ian Plimmer, Geologist, June 17, 2017

If Australia emits 1.5 per cent of global annual CO2 emissions, 3 per cent of the total annual global emissions are anthropogenic and the atmosphere contains 400 parts per million by volume of CO2, then one molecule in 6.6 million molecules in the atmosphere is CO2 emitted from humans in Australia. This molecule has an atmospheric life of about 7 years before it is removed from the atmosphere by natural sequestration into life and limey sediments.

It’s Said That ‘97% of Climate Scientists Agree’ About Global Warming – But Do They?

by Neil Frank, June 9, 2017

A variety of studies have purported to find an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists on global warming. However, the studies rarely specify what it is to which the scientists agree

Neil L. Frank, Ph.D. (Meteorology), was the longest-serving Director of the National Hurricane Center (1974–1987) and is retired Chief Meteorologist of KHOU-TV, Houston (1987–2008). Living in Fulshear, TX, he continues research on global climate change while serving as a Fellow of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

Hundreds Of Scientific Papers Challenge ‘Global’ Warming

By Kenneth Richard, June 16, 2017 in NoTricksZone

Recently, an article citing over 80 graphs from scientific papers published in 2017 — and another 55 graphs from 2016  — established that modern “global” warming is not actually global in scale, and that today’s warmth is neither unprecedented or remarkable when considering the larger context of natural variability.

Here, an additional 140 non-hockey stick graphs taken from papers published in 2015 and earlier have now been made available.  With this latest installment, graphical temperature reconstructions challenging the conceptualization of global-scale or unprecedented modern warming are rapidly approaching 300.


The Vostok Ice Core: Temperature, CO2 and CH4

by Euan Means, December 12, 2014

In their seminal paper on the Vostok Ice Core, Petit et al (1999) [1] note that CO2 lags temperature during the onset of glaciations by several thousand years but offer no explanation. They also observe that CH4 and CO2 are not perfectly aligned with each other but offer no explanation. The significance of these observations are therefore ignored. At the onset of glaciations temperature drops to glacial values before CO2 begins to fall suggesting that CO2 has little influence on temperature modulation at these times.

See also here

Global versus Greenland Holocene Temperatures

by Andy May, June 19, 2017 i

Last week, I posted a global temperature reconstruction based mostly on Marcott, et al. 2013 proxies. The post can be found here. In the comments on the Wattsupwiththat post there was considerable discussion about the difference between my Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude (30°N to 60°N) and the GISP2 Richard Alley central Greenland temperature reconstruction (see here for the reference and data). See the comments by Dr. Don Easterbrook and Joachim Seifert (weltklima) here and here, as well as their earlier comments.

L’Utopie du tout renouvelable

by J.P. Schaeken, Académie Roy Belgique, 18 juin 2017

Par Drieu Godefridi 
Je recommande vivement la lecture de ce tout petit (80 pages) ouvrage de synthèse sur l’électricité européenne.
Après la sortie américaine de l’Accord de Paris, il se confirme que l’Europe s’engagera, seule, dans la voie d’une électricité tout intégralement générée par de l’énergie renouvelable (soleil, vent).
Egalement ici


by Neil Macdonald and Heather Sangster, June 17, 2017 in GWPF

This paper presents the first coherent large-scale national analysis undertaken on historical flood chronologies in Britain, providing an unparalleled network of sites (Fig. 1), permitting analysis of the spatial and temporal distribution of high-magnitude flood patterns and the potential mechanisms driving periods of increased flooding at a national scale (Britain) since AD 1750.

La crédibilité climat de l’UE menacée par les règles concernant la forêt

by  Dr. Joanna House, 16 juin 2017, in Euractiv

L’atténuation du changement climatique grâce au secteur forestier doit être mesurée par une approche scientifique objective. Elle ne doit pas permettre aux États de masquer les impacts des politiques responsables de l’augmentation nette de leurs émissions.

Dr Joanna House est maitre de conférence en sciences et politique environnementales à l’Institut Cabot, à l’Université de Bristol. Elle co-signe cette tribune avec d’autres spécialistes de l’environnement. 

To Put America First Is to Put Our Planet’s Climate First

by Prof. Dr. Istvan Marko et al., June 16, 2017

On June 2, 2017, in a Letter regarding US withdrawal from Paris climate agreementaddressed to the MIT community, Professor Rafael Reif, president of MIT, criticized President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords. In this refutation, we propose to clarify the scientific understanding of the Earth’s climate and to dispel the expensively fostered popular delusion that man-made global warming will be dangerous and that, therefore, the Paris Agreement would be beneficial.

OPEC and U.S. shale drillers are on collision course

by John Kemp, June 14, 2017, in  Reuters

The speed and scale at which U.S. shale production has bounced back from the slump in 2015/16 has confounded OPEC and all the other major forecasters.

The oil market is on an unsustainable course with output from U.S. shale and other non-OPEC sources 010increasing rapidly, while OPEC and its allies trim production to reduce inventories and prop up prices.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects non-OPEC output will increase by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 (“Oil Market Report”, IEA, June 2017).

If that proves correct, non-OPEC suppliers will capture all the increase in demand next year, because the IEA predicts consumption will increase by only 1.4 million bpd.

Dating early animal evolution using phylogenomic data

by M. Dormant and G. Wörheide, June 12, 2017 in Sci.Rep. Nature 

According to our results, all non-bilaterian phyla, as well as total-group Bilateria, evolved in an ancient radiation during a geologically relatively short time span, before the onset of long-term global glaciations (“Snowball Earth”; ~720–635 Ma). Importantly, this result appears robust to alterations of a number of important analytical variables, such as models of among-lineage rate variation and sets of fossil calibrations used.

2015-16 El Nino behind large-scale surface melting event in Antarctica

by Nature Communications, June 15, 2017 in ClimatChangeDispatch

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a landbound mass of ice larger than Mexico, experienced substantial surface melt through the austral summer of 2015-2016 during one of the largest El Niño events of the past 50 years, according to scientists who had been conducting the first comprehensive atmospheric measurements in the region since the 1960s.

See also here

Hydroelectric dams may jeopardize the Amazon’s future

by University of Texas at Austin, June 14, 2017 in Science Daily

Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico. These findings, published in Nature, emerge from a multidisciplinary, international collaboration of researchers from 10 universities, led by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

To meet energy needs, economic developers in South America have proposed 428 hydroelectric dams, with 140 currently built or under construction, in the Amazon basin — the largest and most complex network of river channels in the world, which sustains the highest biodiversity on Earth.

Earth Is Not in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction

by Peter Brannen, June 14, 2017

“It is absolutely critical to recognize that I am NOT claiming that humans haven’t done great damage to marine and terrestrial [ecosystems], nor that many extinctions have not occurred and more will certainly occur in the near future. But I do think that as scientists we have a responsibility to be accurate about such comparisons.”

Many popular science articles take this as a given, and indeed, there’s something emotionally satisfying about the idea that humans’ hubris and shortsightedness are so profound that we’re bringing down the whole planet with us.

Sables bitumineux

by Connaissances des Energies, 25 février 2015

Dès 1742, dans la région de Pechelbronn en Alsace, des tarières (outils permettant de percer le sol) étaient destinées à localiser les filons de sable bitumineux. L’huile était séparée du sable par lessivage à l’eau bouillante, puis distillée pour obtenir des produits pharmaceutiques, de l’huile pour lampe, de la graisse et de la poix.

C’est en 1778 que Peter Pond a localisé les premières sources de bitume dans la région d’Athabasca, mais c’est Robert Fitzsimmons, un entrepreneur, qui est le premier à avoir séparé le bitume du sable et qui l’a utilisé pour recouvrir les routes et les toitures. Si les Amérindiens ont depuis des siècles utilisé ce bitume pour calfater des embarcations, les sables bitumineux n’ont vraiment attiré l’attention de l’industrie pétrolière qu’après les chocs pétroliers.

Climate cycles and their extrapolation into the future

by Dr. Dietrich Koelle, February 2, 2015 in NoTricksZone

As the reconstruction of the climate’s development in the past by proxy data shows, there’s a series of temperature cycles that appear to be unknown, or ignored by many climate scientists. Among these are the larger climate cycles of 150 million to 180 million years (see Part 1 and Part 2), but also the shorter and for us the more important following cycles:

1000 years (900-1100)    Suess cycle with +/-  0.65°C
230 years (230-250)        deVries cycle with +/-  0.30°C
65  years (60-65)              Ocean cycles with +/- 0.25°C