Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment
Telephone: 514-848-2424 ext. 2064
Damon Matthews of Concordia's Geography, Planning and Environment Department, who contributed to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is unequivocal about the impact of human activities on global temperature.
"Climate change is real, it is happening, and it's mostly our fault," he said. "It is high time that we stop debating the question of whether global warming is a problem, and move on to the much more important question of what to do about it."
Using computerized climate models, Matthews is currently studying the resilience of the Earth's carbon sinks to find out precisely how much carbon dioxide we can emit if we want to stabilize levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.Computer modelling allows climate scientists to make fairly accurate predictions about the long-term effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
Matthews hopes to broaden the scope of existing models by incorporating the life cycles of phosphorous and nitrogen. While neither has been widely studied, both affect plant growth, which in turn affects how much carbon dioxide the Earth is able to store. Another focus of Matthews' research is the interaction between human land-use change and climate. Emissions from deforestation activities comprise about one quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions globally; consequently, effective forest management has the potential to help mitigate climate change by increasing the effectiveness of forest carbon sinks.
In addition to his research on climate change and the carbon cycle, Matthews teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on climate change and environmental modeling.
Recently the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) and Concordia University announced nearly $200,000 in funding over two years to support groundbreaking Matthews research that will advance Canada's science and technology objectives while helping prepare for the impacts of climate change.