Climate Change opens with the climate system fundamentals: the workings of the atmosphere and ocean, their chemical interactions via the carbon cycle, and the scientific framework for understanding climate change. Edmond Mathez then brings the climate of the past to bear on our present predicament, highlighting the importance of paleoclimatology in understanding the current climate system. Subsequent chapters explore the changes already occurring around us and their implications for the future.
Hardcover, 344 pp.
About the Author: Dr. Mathez was co-curator of the Climate Change exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Mathez's expertise lies in igneous petrology and geochemistry. He studies the thermodynamics and high-temperature geochemistry of the volatile elements, platinum group elements (PGEs), and sulfide systems, and the geochemistry of carbon. He has two main lines of research. The first concerns the solidification behavior of large basaltic magma chambers. The questions relate to the dynamics of these systems as they solidify and how the lithologies, rock textures, and geochemistry change in the process. In order to investigate these issues, he has been studying the Bushveld Complex of South Africa, the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe, and the Stillwater Complex of Montana. In the Bushveld Complex, he has been mapping underground in the platinum mines and is now studying its Upper Zone.
Dr. Mathez's second main field of research concerns the geochemistry of carbon, which includes everything from its behavior in the deep earth and during volcanic eruption to how it is distributed in crustal rocks. In the latter, carbon is present in minute quantities on crack surfaces and appears to exert a major control on the electrical conductivity of the rocks. This is important because electrical conductivity is one of the few means of characterizing the deeper levels of the crust that cannot be directly observed. Currently, Mathez and his colleagues are studying how and when carbon forms on crack surfaces in rocks and whether or not this may be related to earthquake precursory electrical phenomena.