Meet Dr. Matt Huber Paleoclimate Modeler

Video Shot in: 2009

Dr. Matt Huber, a paleoclimate modeler at Purdue University, focuses on studying past periods of global warming to better understand and test models for predicting future climate change. He explains the importance of reconstructing past climates and greenhouse gas concentrations. Dr. Huber emphasizes the amplified warming effect near the poles and discusses how the geological record reveals periods without ice sheets in AntArctica and Greenland, suggesting a significantly warmer planet in the past. But he highlights the rarity of our current climate compared to the period he studies, where the Arctic Ocean was mostly ice-free, and tropical conditions allowed for the presence of crocodiles and palm trees near Greenland. Dr. Huber also touches on the migration of early primates across the Bering land bridge during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a warm period around 55 million years ago. He explains that long-term variations in greenhouse gas concentrations occur naturally, with factors like volcanic activity and carbon cycle feedbacks influencing CO2 levels over tens of millions of years. He discusses the rapid warming event during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, possibly triggered by the release of methane hydrates and positive carbon cycle feedbacks. This warming persisted for approximately 100,000 years. Overall, Dr. Huber’s work sheds light on past climate dynamics and provides valuable insights into the potential future trajectory of our climate system.