Belgian physicist Marc Aubinet honoured by the American Meteorological Society (AMS)


On 22 January Marc Aubinet, the honorary chairman of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Liege University), was honoured by the American Meteorological Society in Seattle (USA). This international recognition is given to the physicist who has been working for many years with bio-engineers and has undoubtedly already demonstrated his authority when it comes to the so-called Eddy-Covariance.

You said ‘Eddy-Covariance’? This is a complex method used to continuously measure the transfer of all kinds of gases between eco-systems and the atmosphere at a fixed point, over a short and long period. There are around 650 such measuring points, spread across the five continents. All emission values are sent to the worldwide network Fluxnet. In this way we are able to get an ever better insight into the flows of greenhouse gases (CO₂, methane, nitrous oxide) and climate disruption.

Sometimes the results are rather surprising or even contradict the general expectations up to now. This means that we need to raise a big question mark when it comes to the claim that cows are an ecological disaster due to their emissions of methane gas. Further research is required, but the role of agriculture in the climate dossier must clearly be nuanced.

Marc Aubinet certainly does not view climate change optimistically. Despite Kyoto there are now more, as opposed to less, emissions of greenhouse gases each year and the concentration of CO₂ is growing faster. To reverse the trend we need to substantially limit our consumption behaviour. Yet are we prepared only to eat local food, give up certain levels of comfort, and stop using aeroplanes …? He is convinced that global warming will soon have a significant impact on sociopolitical and demographic developments.