Arizona Geological Society

Eric Sundquist presents Geological Perspectives on Carbon Dioxide, the Carbon Cycle and Carbon Management

  • 07 Nov 2017
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
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    Please cancel by 11 a.m. on the Friday prior to the meeting, if you are unable to attend - no shows and late cancellations will be invoiced.
  • Members RSVP here. Pay online after registering via credit, OR pay at the door with Cash or Check on the night of the meeting.

    Please cancel by 11 a.m. on the Friday prior to the meeting, if you are unable to attend - no shows and late cancellations will be invoiced.
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Sponsored by:    Major Drilling Group International, Inc.

  Geological Perspectives on Carbon Dioxide, the Carbon Cycle, and Carbon Management

by Eric T. Sundquist, U.S. Geological Survey

Abstract:  In 1957, the prominent oceanographer Roger Revelle described the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations as a “large-scale geophysical experiment.”  Over the decades since this insight, investigation of the carbon dioxide “experiment” has expanded to include many areas of the natural and social sciences.  Some of the most important emerging perspectives have come from geologic evidence linked to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide in the pre-human past, and from geologic understanding applied to analysis of potential future human carbon dioxide management.  The geologic record provides abundant evidence for changes in the amounts, rates, and forms of carbon buried in sediments throughout Earth’s history.  Geoscientists have long sought to understand how these changes in the cycling of carbon might have interacted with changes in climate.  The peer-reviewed literature now provides a broadly coherent collection of narratives in which atmospheric carbon dioxide is viewed as a central mediator of feed backs linking changes in global climate and carbon cycling in the geologic past.  These geo-scenarios are broadly consistent with the range of effects attributed to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in model simulations of current and projected future climate.  However, the scenarios often depend on uncertain inferences about oceanic and atmospheric chemistry.  The plausible feedbacks linking carbon and climate are diverse and complex, often involving changes in carbon dioxide as both cause and effect of changes in climate over a broad spectrum of timescales.  Perspectives from the geologic record highlight significant uncertainties affecting model projections and targets for potential future carbon management.

Bio:  Eric T. Sundquist has been a Research Geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since 1978.  His research seeks to understand the natural and human factors that control and respond to the biogeochemical cycling of carbon.  A recipient of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Superior and Meritorious Service Awards, Dr. Sundquist is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He has edited two American Geophysical Union (AGU) Monographs, The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present, and Carbon Sequestration and its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle; and he has served as Editor-in-Chief of the AGU journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles.  He has served as chair of several national scientific committees, including the AGU Focus Group on Global Environmental Change, the USGS Interdisciplinary Carbon Committee, and the DOI Biological Carbon Sequestration Workgroup.  He has also served as a member of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Scientific Steering Group and the U.S. Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group.  He was a coauthor of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan and the North American Carbon Program Plan.  Dr. Sundquist holds a B.A. degree in Geology from Pomona College, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences from Harvard University.

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