Over the next three years (2006-2008) I am convening, with colleagues, two research conferences aimed at drawing together researchers from both Academia and Industry, in order to examine the importance and application of Earth System Modelling, palaeogeography and tectonics.
Palaeogeography and climate modelling have been used extensively in the oil, gas and minerals Industry since the late 1970's, especially in terms of source rock prediction, but today a new generation of coupled ocean-atmosphere models, together with more sophisticated ideas on palaeolandscape dynamics means that we can develop more refined models that can be directly and robustly applied to solving many more exploration problems, especially in frontier areas where data may be sparse or absent.
These same models also provide hypotheses about future environmental/climate change. Indeed, the two issues of ENERGY and ENVIRONMENT are intimately linked. If the latest estimates on future trends in atmospheric CO2 concentrations are correct (the predictions from carbon cycle models quoted in the 2001 IPCC Report range from 540-970 ppm by 2100, equivalent to about 2-3.5x the pre-Industrial value of 280ppm: IPCC, 2001, "Climate Change 2002: The scientific basis". CUP, 881pp), then the pre-Pleistocene geological record provides the only clue as to possible consequences, since these CO2 levels have not been experienced by the Earth since at least the Miocene, if not the Palaeogene.
Understanding the pre-Pleistocene world is therefore essential, as recognized in the early 19th century by the founders of modern geology, including Sir Charles Lyell and Baron Alexander von Humboldt.
This is, of course, a complex issue, and these conferences are not intended to address every aspect of the problems involved, but they are aimed at raising awareness about the applications of climate modelling, constraining models using observations, inherent uncertainties and their implications, and the need for more integrated research especially for the pre-Pleistocene.
To find out more about these meetings and sessions, check out the following links:
2006: SEPM/GSL Joint Research Conference|
"The Application of Earth System Modelling to Exploration"
July 11-13, Snowbird, Utah, U.S.A.
Convenors: Paul Markwick (GETECH); John Suter (ConocoPhillips); Joe Curiale (Chevron).
2006: AAPG International Conference and Exhibition
November 5-8, Perth, Australia
Session 0-64 / P-64: "Paleoclimates: is the past the key to the future?"
Convenors: Brian West (ExxonMobil); Paul Markwick (GETECH)
2008: SEPM/GSL Joint Research Conference
"Tectonics, Palaeogeography and Palaeoclimatology"
August, 11-13, Cambridge, U.K.
Convenors: Paul Markwick (GETECH); Roy Livermore (BAS); Matt Huber (U Purdue).