Jean Robert Petit

Jean Robert Petit

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Jean Robert Petit studied chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 at the University of Grenoble
University of Grenoble
University of Grenoble or Grenoble University was a university in Grenoble, France until 1970, when it was split into several different institutions:...

and received a PhD in 1984 in paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatology is the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth. It uses a variety of proxy methods from the Earth and life sciences to obtain data previously preserved within rocks, sediments, ice sheets, tree rings, corals, shells and microfossils; it then...

 on the study of the aeolian
Eolian processes
Aeolian processes pertain to the activity of the winds and more specifically, to the winds' ability to shape the surface of the Earth and other planets. Winds may erode, transport, and deposit materials, and are effective agents in regions with sparse vegetation and a large supply of...

 dust record from Antarctic ice cores.

Academic works


In 1999 he was the lead author of a study published in Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

, "Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok
Vostok
Vostok may refer to one of the following.Spaceflight*The Soviet Vostok programme of human spaceflight.*The Vostok spacecraft used in that programme and also the basis of a reconnaissance satellite.*The Vostok rocket, used to launch the Vostok spacecraft....

 ice core, Antarctica." The paper presented the first long climate record from the ice. It provided a continuous record of temperature and atmospheric composition.
The data extracted from this ice core had implications throughout the fields of glaciology
Glaciology
Glaciology Glaciology Glaciology (from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal): glace, "ice"; or Latin: glacies, "frost, ice"; and Greek: λόγος, logos, "speech" lit...

 and paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatology
Paleoclimatology is the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth. It uses a variety of proxy methods from the Earth and life sciences to obtain data previously preserved within rocks, sediments, ice sheets, tree rings, corals, shells and microfossils; it then...

. One of the concluding remarks was that present day levels of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 and methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 seem to have been unprecedented during the past 420,000 years. The paper has been cited 1573 times to date.

Ice cores


He was also a member of the EPICA project, a European team that drilled an ice core at Dome C
Dome C
Dome C, also known as Dome Circe or Dome Charlie, located at Antarctica at an altitude of 3,233 m or 10,607 ft above sea level, is one of several summits or "domes" of the Antarctic Ice Sheet...

that provided, in 2004, a 740,000-year climate record.

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