The Union Masterclass at EGU GA 2011

Today, Wednesday at 13:30-15:00 in Room D (Basement, Blue level) will see the first Union Masterclass. This is an opportunity to hear insights from two senior scientists reflecting on their research.

The first Union Masterclass is What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research. The details are available online and it will be webstreamed.

What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research? An EGU Masterclass by André Berger and Wolfgang H. Berger

Convener and Moderator: Gerald M. Ganssen.

Climate research has never received so much attention as during these days. People are concerned about the future of our planet. Global Change is an important item on the political agenda. Stakeholders, politicians and the general public have a great need to get informed about the consequences of the continously rising carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. Scientists try to better understand the processes taking place right now to help giving answers to the burning question: What will happen to our ‘Planet under pressure’?

During this masterclass, two pioneers with together nearly 100 years of experience in Palaeo-climate research, Prof. Dr. André Berger and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Berger will exchange their thoughts and ideas to the question:

What are the unknowns of the natural variability of past climates?

Topics to be dealt with:
Quaternary cycles
Ice-buildup through the Cenozoic
The impacts of humans on the future climate at the astronomical time scale
Positive and negative feedbacks: will the future be really grim or somewhat manageable?

André Berger
(detailed biography)
André Berger was born in 1942. He is Master of Science in Meteorology from M.I.T. (1971) and Doctor of Science from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) (1973). He was Ordinary Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) where he lectured on meteorology and climate dynamics. He is Emeritus Professor and Senior Researcher at UCL, doctor honoris causa from the Universities of Aix-Marseille III, Toulouse and Mons. He is a member of the Academia Europaea and of the Academies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Paris, Canada, Serbia and London. He received the Lemaître prize in 2010, the European Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation in 2001, the Prix quinquennal of the Belgian National Funds for Scientific Research for 1991-1995, and the Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award from the World Meteorological Organization in 1994. He has been responsible for 78 research grants, among which a 2008 European Research Council Advanced Grant (ranked top of the list).

He was chairman of the International Climate and the International Paleoclimate Commissions, president of the European Geophysical Society and is Honorary President of the European Geo-Sciences Union. He is fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is a member of the Conseil scientifique consultatif auprès de Météo-France (since 2001 and a co-founder of the International Polar Foundation (1999). He was a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency (2002-2008) of the Conseil de l’Environnement de Electricité de France (1998 to 2009) and of the Conseil scientifique de Gaz de France (1994-1999), chairman of the External advisory group on Global Change, Climate and Biodiversity (1998-2002) and of the Coordination Group on Climate Processes and Climate Change (1988-1992), both of the Commission of the European Communities and of the NATO Special Programme Panels on the Science of Global Environmental Change (1992). He serves in many Scientific Councils of Research Institutes and in advisory boards of industries and ministries. He was invited to lecture in many universities and deliver papers in specialized symposia. He is the author of “Le Climat de la Terre, un passé pour quel avenir?”, has edited 12 books on climatic variations and has published more than 180 papers on this subject. He is associate editor of Surveys in Geophysics and editorial board member of The Holocene, Climate Dynamics and Earth and Planetary Science Letters. He was editor of EOS for Atmospheric Sciences, associate editor of Atmospheric Environment and board member of Climatic Change. His main research is about modeling climatic changes at the geological time scales. He has made notable contributions to the astronomical theory of paleoclimates. The climate model that he has developed with his team is also used for simulating the response of the climate system to human activities and the possible impacts on the natural course of climate at the geological time scale. He is a cited pioneer of the interdisciplinary study of climate dynamics and past climate history. He has been ennobled by His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, with the title of Chevalier (Sir) and received the title of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur from the President of France.

Wolfgang H. Berger
(more information)
Wolfgang Berger was born in 1937. He is Master of Science in Geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder (1963) and holds a Ph.D. From the University of California, San Diego (1968). He was full professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in Oceanography and is Research Professor in Geosciences at SIO. Between 1998 and 2005 he was Director of the California Space Institute at the University of California. He had appointments as guest professor at the universities of Kiel and Bremen.

He has received the following honors:
Bigelow Medal, Woods Hole 1979
Norwegian Research Fellow, 1980
Huntsman Medal, Bedford 1984
Lady Davis Fellow, Hebrew University, 1986
Humboldt Award, Bonn 1986
Ewing Medal, San Francisco, 1988
Prince Albert I Medal, Paris, 1991
Balzan Prize, Bern, 1993
Steinmann Medal, Bern, 1998
Shepard Medal, SEPM, Denver, 2001

He is a Foreign Member of the Academia Europaea since 2001.
He is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and edited 10 books:
1982 (with J.C.Crowell) Climate in Earth History. National Academy Press, 198 pp.
1987 (with L.Labeyrie) Abrupt Climatic Change – Evidence and Implications. Reidel.
1989 (with V.S. Smetacek, G. Wefer) Ocean Productivity – Present and Past. John Wiley.
1993 (with L.W. Kroenke, L.A. Mayer, et al.) Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Leg 130 (Ontong Java Plateau), Texas A&M University.
1995 (with E. Seibold) The Sea Floor – An Introduction to Marine Geology. 3rd ed. Springer.
1997 (with G. Wefer, G. Siedler, D. J. Webb, editors) The South Atlantic: Present and Past Circulation. Springer.
1998 (with G. Wefer, C. Richter, et al.) Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Results, Leg 175 (Benguela Current), Texas A&M University.
2002 (with G. Wefer, K.E. Behre, E. Jansen, eds.) Climate Development and History of the North Atlantic Realm. Springer.
2005 (H. Drange et al.) The Nordic Seas: An Integrated Perspective. AGU Geophysical Monograph.
2009 Ocean: Reflections on a century of exploration. UC Press.

His research interests comprise micropaleontology, marine sedimentation, ocean productivity, carbon cycle, ocean history, climate history, environment, and history of Earth science. His contributions were fundamental toward the understanding and quantification of carbonate production, preservation and sedimentation in the ocean. He is driven by curiosity, everything we do not understand in the functioning of the Climate and Earth System is a challenge for him.

He has initiated, supported and guided the Parker Program for Public Education, which is focused on working with teachers on elementary Earth Science concepts, using materials from the geologic collections and posting reliable background information on the web, along with glimpses on ongoing research (in collaboration with Memorie Yasuda). At present (2011) he is working with the Children’s Museum in Escondido to generate interactive exhibits on Earth sciences.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

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