The Science of Climate Change

Friday October 19, 2007 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall

Speaker: Tim Patterson

Topic: The Science of Climate Change 

Dr. Tim Patterson is Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Ottawa as well as a Senior Visiting Fellow in the School of Geography at the Queen’s University of Belfast.

Professor Patterson’s research emphasizes the dynamics of climate change and sea level change through the last few thousand years. In this capacity he also serves as Canadian leader of UNESCO International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) Project 495 “Quaternary Land-Ocean interactions”, which is mandated to study the record of sea level change past and future. He has been Principal Investigator of large Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Canadian Foundation For Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) projects, examining high-resolution climate records from marine basins off the west coast of Canada.

He was a founding editor of the journal Palaeontologia Electronica and is presently Associate Editor for the Journal of Foraminiferal Research. He has to-date published 125 articles in peer-reviewed journals and was the recipient of a 2002-2003 Carleton University Research Achievement Award. He has also presented professional briefings to Canadian government staff and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainability and is a frequent contributer in the popular media, primarily on the topic of climate change.

Dr. Patterson says:

“During its history our planet has been subject to dramatic climate shifts that have ranged from near global glaciations to planetary greenhouse conditions. Although this extreme climate variability can be linked to a variety of factors (e.g. plate tectonics, changes in paleoceanographic circulation) the strongest influence on climate change at various time scales has probably been the result of variations in the cosmic-ray flux due to solar magnetic activity. During the past few years members of my research group have carried out detailed analysis of marine-laminated sediments from oxygen-starved basins in several fjords along the coast of British Columbia, which we have found to archive Holocene records of climate variability and marine productivity at annual to millennial scales. Our results indicate that the marine productivity and sedimentary record of the North East Pacific responded to abrupt changes and long-term variation in climate that can clearly be linked to external forces (e.g. solar and cosmic irradiance).

“Using my own research results as an example I will explain why I am now convinced that celestial drivers are the primary control over climate change and why I now reject the common view that variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations are the primary influence over climate change.”

His only qualification for giving this talk is that he read far too much science fiction as a child, particularly when his father said he should be doing more useful things.