Edouard G. Bard

College de France


Election Year: 2014
Primary Section: 15, Geology
Secondary Section: 16, Geophysics
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Biosketch

Edouard Bard has the Professor Chair in Climate and Ocean Evolution at the Collège de France and his laboratory is located in Aix-en-Provence. He earned his master degree in 1985 from the geological engineering school at Nancy (ENSG) and his doctoral degree in 1987 from the University of Paris 11-Orsay. He conducted research in Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory as a postdoctoral fellow in 1988 and as an Associate Research Scientist in 1989. He then returned to France, joined first the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA), and then started teaching as a professor at the University of Aix-Marseille in 1991 and at the Collège de France since 2001. His various studies are at the interface of climatology, oceanography and geology. The essential objective is to understand the natural functioning of the ocean-atmosphere system on time scales ranging from a few decades to several million years. Indeed, the variations of the climate involve mechanisms with very different time-constants. It is thus necessary to have a long-term perspective in order to distinguish the respective impacts of geological, astronomical and anthropogenic forcings.

Research Interests

For his research, Edouard Bard has used techniques of analytical chemistry to determine the extent and the timing of climatic variations. New quantitative methods have enabled him and his team to reconstruct past climates using varied archives such as oceanic sediments, lake sediments, corals, stalagmites and polar ice. His guiding principle has been the wish to study the same climatic phenomena, for example the glaciations, using complementary and often innovative geochemical techniques. In order to go back into the past, he has employed “time machines” - i.e. complex mass spectrometers to measure radioactive isotopes and thus date the climatic variations imprinted in the various archives. Over the last thirty years, the main contributions by Edouard Bard are related to the following topics: diffusion in the ocean of carbon dioxide radiolabelled by thermonuclear radiocarbon measured by accelerator mass spectrometry, paleotemperature fluctuations of the surface ocean by means of isotopic proxies and biomarkers in marine sediments, sea level variations by applying the uranium-thorium mass spectrometry to date ancient coral reefs, past conditions at the ocean-atmosphere interface by using radiocarbon as a paleo-tracer, calibration of the radiocarbon dating method and use of other cosmogenic nuclides such as beryllium 10 to constrain past changes of the solar activity, geomagnetic field and the carbon cycle.

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