Saturday, May 12, 2012

UNCW Faculty Highlight- "The Rock Whisperer"

UNCW Environmental Studies professor Dr. Paul Hearty has just received a tremendous grant from the National Science Foundation, one that will fully fund a team of world-class researchers studying climate change and its potential future implications.

Dr. Hearty is one of five principal investigators on a project designed to provide a comprehensive model of past climate change by studying various interconnected aspects of the biosphere, including the Earth's crust, oceans, atmosphere and ice sheets.  The main target of their study is an era of history known as the Mid-Pliocene Climatic Optimum (PLIOMAX), an era which has been identified as a time period that closely resembles the environmental conditions predicted by current models of climate change.  Fossil data and geological data from this ancient warming period will be used to build improved databases of sea-levels and ice sheet behavior, as well as provide the raw data for experiments that hope to predict the future global sea level under various climate change scenarios.  The ultimate goal of this project is to provide more accurate predictions of future sea-level rises and ice sheet behavior.

Dr. Hearty will collaborate on the $4.25 million, five-year study with Dr. Maureen Raymo of Columbia University, who has affectionately named Dr. Hearty "The Rock Whisperer," for his extensive expertise in field geology.  Along with Dr. Hearty and Dr. Raymo are geoscientist Rob DeConto from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, physicist Jerry Mitrovica of Harvard University and earth scientist David Pollard of Penn State.

For more information on this important and potentially influential study, please visit the link to the full article below.

UNCW Professor Part of Major NSF Grant for Climate Change Research

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