Damon Matthews


Damon Matthews (Ph.D. Victoria, 2004)


Associate Professor
Concordia University Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability

Tel: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2064
Fax: (514) 848-2032

damon.matthews@ concordia.ca 

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Research Highlights

  • Who are the world's biggest contributors to global warming? Link to paper
  • Cutting CO2 emissions would slow the rate of climate warming immediately. Link to paper
  • Global warming could compromise outdoor hockey in Canada. Link to paper
  • How would climate respond to a complete elimination of all emissions? Link to paper
  • How much CO2 emissions are embedded in our energy infrastructure? Link to paper
  • Geoengineering is likely to cause more problems than it would solve. Link to paper
  • Education / Bio

    Dr. Damon Matthews is Associate Professor and Concordia University Research Chair (Climate Science and Sustainability) in the Department of Geography Planning and Environment. He obtained a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Simon Fraser University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences from the University of Victoria in 2004. Prior to joining Concordia University in January 2007, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary, and worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford. Dr. Matthews currently teaches courses on the climate system, climate change and environmental modelling at Concordia University. His research is aimed at better understanding the many possible interactions between human activities, natural ecosystems and future climate change, and contributing to the scientific knowledge base required to promote the development of sound national and international climate policy. Dr. Matthews holds several current research grants for projects to investigate uncertainties associated with the climate response to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. He has published a number of research papers in the area of global climate modelling, with particular emphasis on the role of the global carbon cycle in the climate system, estimating allowable emissions for climate stabilization, and understanding our commitment to long-term climate warming. Dr. Matthews was a recent member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences "Committee on Stabilization Targerts for Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Concentrations," and was a contributing author to the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Concordia Climate Lab

    Graduate Student Opportunities

    I am looking for graduate students interested in learning about global warming and climate modelling, and exploring the role of greenhouse gas cycles in the context of recent and future climate change. Potential students should have good quantitative skills, and some knowledge of computer programming would be an asset. Possible research projects include:

    • Modelling the influence of past and future land-use change on climate
    • Estimating the climate response to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions
    • Predicting allowable emissions for global climate change policy targets
    • Modelling the atmospheric sinks for methane and nitrous oxide
    • Assessing climate impacts as a function of global mean temperature change

    Current Climate Lab Student Projects

    • Antti-Ilari Partanen (Visiting researcher): Climate and health implications of aerosol mitigation strategies
    • Martin Leduc (Post-doc): Analyzing the climate response to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions
    • Christopher Simmons (Post-doc): Role of peatland carbon accumulation in Holocene climate change
    • Jean-Sebastien Landry (Visiting PhD student): Fire and other natural disturbances in the climate system
    • Donny Seto (PhD student): Characterizing the greenhouse gas and climate impacts of cities and urbanization
    • Marc-Olivier Brault (PhD student): Effect of continental weathering on paleoclimate change
    • Trevor Smith (MSc student): Effect of climate change on wine viticulture in Quebec
    • Sophie Gauvreau (MSc student): Phenology changes due to climate warming
    • Loukia Papadopoulos (MSc student): Criteria for successfully supporting Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Strategies
    • Cassandra LaMontagne (MSc student): Climate impacts in coastal First Nations communities
    • Tanya Graham (MSc student): Climate change impacts on non-human primates
    • Travis Moore (MSc student): Extreme weather events due to changes in global mean temperature



    Recently submitted papers

    • Graham, T. L., Matthews, H. D. and Turner, S. E. Evaluating climatic changes in regions of non-human primate habitat. International Journal of Primatology, submitted September Oct 4, 2014.
    • Landry, J.-S., Matthews, H. D. and Ramankutty, N. Global carbon cycle and temperature impacts of future changes in fire regime. Climatic Change Letters, submitted October 1, 2014.
    • Matthews, H. D. A growing commitment to future CO2 emissions. Environmental Research Letters, submitted September 8, 2014.
    • Leduc, M., Matthews, H. D. and de Elia, R. Quantifying the limits of a linear temperature response to cumulative CO2 emissions. Journal of Climate, submitted July 21, 2014.
    • Reid M. G., Hamilton, C., Reid, S. K., Trousdale, W., Hill, C., Turner, N., Picard, C. R., Lamontagne, C. and Matthews, H. D. Indigenous climate change adaptation planning using a value-focused approach: A case study with the Gitga'at Nation. Ethnobiology Letters, submitted June 26, 2014.
    • Simmons, C. T., Matthews, H. D. and Mysak, L. A. The Role of Terrestrial Carbon Storage as a Contributor to the Deglacial CO2 Rise. Earth and Planetary Letters, submitted May 13, 2014.


    • Matthews, H. D., Graham, T., Keverian, S., Smith, T., Seto, D. and Lamontagne, C. (2014) National contributions to observed global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 9, 014010. Link to PDF
    • Turner, S. E., Fedigan, L. M., Matthews, H. D. and Nakamicki, M. (2014) Social consequences of disability in a nonhuman primate. Journal of Human Evolution, 68, 47-57.


    • Matthews, H. D. and Solomon, S. (2013) Irreversible does not mean unavoidable. Science Express. Link to PDF
    • Gillett, N. P., Arora, V. K., Matthews, H. D. and Allen, M. R. (2013) Constraining the ratio of global warming to cumulative CO2 emissions using CMIP5 simulations. Journal of Climate, 26, 6844-6858.
    • Solomon, S., Pierrehumbert, R., Matthews, H. D., Daniel, J. S. and Friedlingstein, P. (2013) Atmospheric composition, irreversible climate change, and mitigation policy. In: Climate Science for Serving Society: Research, Modeling and Prediction Priorities, G.R. Asrar and J.W. Hurrell (eds.). 415-436.
    • Brault, M.-O., Mysak, L. A., Matthews, H. D. and Simmons, C. T. (2013) Assessing the impact of late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions on global vegetation and climate. Climate of the Past, 9, 1761-1771. Link to PDF
    • Simmons, C., Matthews, H. D. and Mysak, L. (2013) Investigating the natural carbon cycle since 6000 BP using an intermediate complexity model: the role of southern ocean ventilation and marine ice shelves. Atmosphere-Ocean, 51, 187-212. Link to PDF
    • Markovic, M., de Elia, R., Frigon, A. and Matthews, H. D. (2013) A transition from CMIP3 to CMIP5 for climate information providers: the case of surface temperature over eastern North America. Climatic Change 120, 197-210.
    • Matthews, H. D. (2013) Use less fossil fuel, save outdoor hockey. Gazette, Op-Ed, February 5. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. (2013) Adieu, les patinoires extérieures? Le Devoir, Op-Ed (in French), February 1. Link to PDF


    • Matthews, H. D. (2012) Sandy a warning about global warming. Gazette, Op-Ed, November 6. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. (2012) Le monstre Sandy: étrange progéniture d'un climat en mutation? Le Devoir, Op-Ed (in French), November 5. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. (2012) Le plan Harper, un d\'eveloppement non durable. La Presse and Le Devoir, Op-Ed (in French), April 22. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. and Zickfeld, K. (2012) Climate response to zeroed emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Nature Climate Change, 2, 338-341. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D., Solomon, S. and Pierrehumbert, R. (2012) Cumulative carbon as a policy framework for achieving climate stabilization. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 370, 4365-4379. Link to PDF
    • Damyanov, N, Matthews, H. D. and Mysak, L. (2012) Observed changes in the outdoor skating season in Canada. Environmental Research Letters, 7, 014028. Link to PDF
    • Nugent, K. and Matthews, H. D. (2012) Drivers of future Northern latitude runoff change. Atmosphere-Ocean, 50, 197-206. Link to PDF
    • Olson, R., Sriver, R., Goes, M., Urban, N. M., Matthews, H. D., Haran, M. and Keller, K. (2012) A climate sensitivity estimate using global average observations and an Earth System model with a dynamic 3D ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research D, 117, D04103.
    • Pinsonneault, A., Matthews, H. D., Galbraith, E. and Schmittner, A. (2012) Calcium carbonate production response to future ocean warming and acidification. Biogeosciences, 9, 2351-2364. Link to PDF
    • Ross, A., Matthews, H. D., Kothavala, Z. and Schmittner, A. (2012) Assessing the effects of ocean diffusivity and climate sensitivity on the rate of climate change. Tellus B, 64, 17733. Link to PDF
    • Akbari, H., Matthews, H. D. and Seto, D. (2012) The long-term effect of increasing the albedo of urban areas. Environmental Research Letters, 7, 024004. Link to PDF
    • Akbari, H., and Matthews, H. D. (2012) Global cooling updates: reflective roofs and pavements. Energy and Buildings, 55, 2-6.
    • Turner, S. E., Fedigan, L., Matthews, H. D. and Nakamichi, M. (2012) Disability, compensatory behavior and innovation in free-ranging adult female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). American Journal of Primatology, 74, 788-803.


    • Matthews, H. D. and Srivastiva, P. (2011) Canada's complacency on climate change is an embarrassment. Montreal Gazette, Op-Ed, July 2, 2011.Link to PDF
    • Solomon, S., et al. (2011) Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations and Impacts over Decades to Millennia, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. (Matthews, H. D., co-author) Summary / Full Report
    • Zickfeld, K., Eby, M., Matthews, H. D., Schmittner, A and Weaver, A. J. (2011) Nonlinearity of carbon cycle feedbacks. Journal of Climate, 24, 4254 4274.
    • Pinsonnuealt, A., Matthews, H. D. and Kothavala, Z. (2011) Benchmarking climate-carbon models against forest FACE data. Atmosphere-Ocean, 49, 41 50. Link to PDF
    • Li, Y., Yang, X., Xiaodong, Z., Mulvill, P. R. and Matthews, H. D. (2011) Integrating climate change factors into China s development policy: Adaptation strategies and mitigation to environmental change. Ecological Complexity, 8, 294 298.


    • Davis, S. J., Caldeira, K. and Matthews, H. D. (2010) Future CO2 emissions and climate change from existing energy infrastructure. Science, 329, 1330 1333.
    • Matthews, H. D. (2010) Can carbon cycle geoengineering be a useful complement to ambitious climate mitigation? Carbon Management, 1, 135 144. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. and Weaver, A. (2010) Committed climate warming. Nature Geoscience, 3, 142-142. Link to PDF
    • Gillett, N. P. and Matthews, H. D. (2010) Accounting for carbon cycle feedbacks in a comparison of the global warming effects of greenhouse gases. Environmental Research Letters, 5, 034011.
    • Turner S. E., Fedigan, L. M., Nakamichi, M., Matthews, H. D., McKenna, K., Nobuhara, H., Nobuhara, T. and Shimizu, K. (2010) Birth in free-ranging Macaca fuscata. International Journal of Primatology, 31, 15 37.


    • Matthews, H. D. (2009) Sommet de Copenhague  un climat favorable. Le Devoir, Op-Ed (in French), December 7, 2009.Link to PDF
    • Matthews. H. D.. Gillett, N., Stott, P. and Zickfeld, K. (2009) The proportionality of global warming to cumulative carbon emissions. Nature, 459, 829-832. Link to PDF
    • Matthews. H. D. and Turner S. E. (2009) Of mongooses and mitigation: Ecological analogues to geoengineering. Environmental Research Letters, 4, 045105. Link to PDF
    • Ross. A. and Matthews, H. D. (2009) Climate enigineering and the risk of rapid climate change. Environmental Research Letters, 4, 045103. Link to PDF
    • Zickfeld, K., Eby. M.. Matthews, H. D. and Weaver, A. J. (2009) Setting cumulative emissions: targets to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 106, 16 129-16134.
    • Schmittnler, A., Urban. N. M., Keller, K and Matthews, H. D. (2009) Using tracer observations to reduce the uncertaintv of ocean diapycnal mnixing and climate-carbon projections. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 23, G B4009.
    • Matthews, H. D., Cao, L. and Caldeira. K. (2009) Sensitivity of ocean acidification to geoenginieered climate stabilization. Geophysical Research Letters, L10706 Link to PDF
    • Arora, V. and Matthews. H. D. (2009) Characterizing uncertainty in modelling primary, terrestrial ecosystem processes. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, GB2016.


    • Matthews, H. D. and Caldeira, K. (2008) Stabilizing climate requires near-zero emissions. Geophysical Research Letters, L04705. Link to PDF
    • Plattner, G.-K., Joos, F., Müller, S. A., Strassmann, K. M., Stocker, T. F., Knutti, R., von Bloh, W., Brovkin, V., Nawrath, S., Cameron, D., Driesschaert, E., Fichefet, T., Loutre, M. F., Dutkiewicz, S., Sokolow, A., Eby, M., Weaver, A. J., Edwards, N. R., Hargreaves, J. C., Jones, C. D., Matthews, H. D., Mouchet, A. and Price, A. (2008) Long-term climate commitments pro jected with climate-carbon cycle models. Journal of Climate, 21, 2721-2751.
    • Schmittner, A., Oschlies, A., Matthews, H. D. and Galbraith, E. D. (2008) Future changes in climate, ocean circulation, ecosystems and biogeochemical cycling simulated for a business-as-usual CO2 scenario until year 4000 AD. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, GB1013.
    • Turner, S. E., Fedigan, L. M., Nobuhara, H., Nobuhara, T., Matthews, H. D. and Nakamichi, M. (2008) Monkeys with disabilities: Prevalence and severity of congenital limb malformations in Macaca fuscata on Awa ji Island. Primates, 49, 223-226.


    • Matthews, H. D. and Caldeira, K. (2007) Transient climate-carbon simulations of planetary geoengineering. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 104, 9949-9954. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. and Keith, D. W. (2007) Carbon-cycle feedbacks increase the likelihood of a warmer future. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L09702. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D., Eby, M., Ewen, T., Friedlingstein, P. and Hawkins, B. (2007) What determines the magnitude of carbon cycle-climate feedbacks? Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 21, GB2012. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D. (2007) Effect of CO2 fertilization uncertainty on future climate change in a coupled climate-carbon model. Global Change Biology, 13, 1068-1078. Link to PDF
    • Meehl, G. A., Stocker, T. F. et al. (2007) Chapter 10: Global Climate Projections. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. (Matthews, H. D., contributing author)


    • Matthews, H. D. (2006) Emissions targets for CO2 stabilization as modified by carbon cycle feedbacks. Tel lus B Special Issue, 58B, 591-602. Link to PDF
    • Friedlingstein, P., Cox, P., Betts, R., Bopp, L., von Bloh, W., Brovkin, V, Doney, S., Eby, M., Fung, I., Govindasamy, B., John, J., Jones, C., Joos, F., Kato, T., Kawamiya, M., Knorr, W., Lindsay, K., Matthews, H. D., Raddatz, T., Rayner, P., Reick, C., Roeckner, E., Schnitzler, K.-G., Schnur, R., Strassmann, K., Thompson, S., Weaver, A. J., Yoshikawa, C., and Zeng, N. (2006) Climate-carbon cycle feedback analysis, results from the C4MIP model intercomparison. Journal of Climate, 19, 3337-3353.
    • Brovkin, V., Claussen, M., Driesschaert, E., Fichefet, T., Kicklighter, D., Loutre, M.-F., Matthews, H. D., Ramankutty, N., Schaeffer, M. and Sokolov, A. (2006) Biogeophysical effects of historical land cover changes simulated by six Earth system models of intermediate complexity. Climate Dynamics, 26, 587–600.
    • Matthews, D. (2006) The water cycle freshens up. Nature, 439, 793-794. Link to PDF


    • Matthews, H. D. (2005) Decrease of emissions required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 due to positive carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L21707. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D., Eby, M., Weaver, A. J. and Hawkins, B. J. (2005) Primary productivity control of simulated carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L14708. Link to PDF
    • Matthews, H. D., Weaver, A. J. and Meissner, K. J. (2005) Terrestrial carbon cycle dynamics under recent and future climate change. Journal of Climate, 18, 1609-1628. Link to PDF


    • Matthews, H. D., Weaver, A. J., Meissner, K. J., Gillett, N. P. and Eby, M. (2004) Natural and anthropogenic climate change: Incorporating historical land cover change, vegetation dynamics and the global carbon cycle. Climate Dynamics, 22, 461-479. Link to PDF


    • Meissner, K. J., Weaver, A. J., Matthews, H. D. and Cox, P. M. (2003) The role of land-surface dynamics in glacial inception: A study with the UVic Earth System Climate Model. Climate Dynamics, 21, 515-537.
    • Matthews, H. D., Weaver, A. J., Meissner, K. J. and Eby, M. (2003) Radiative forcing of climate by historical land cover change. Geophysical Research Letters, 30, 1055.Link to PDF


    • Weaver, A. J., Eby, M., Wiebe, E. C., Bitz, C. M., Duffy, P. B., Ewen, T. L., Fanning, A. F., Holland, M. M., MacFadyen, A., Matthews, H. D., Meissner, K. J., Saenko, O., Schmittner, A., Wang, H., and Yoshimori, M. (2001) The UVic Earth System Climate Model: Model description, climatology and application to past, present and future climates. Atmosphere-Ocean, 39, 361-428.

    Attention Media: Will speak on climate change related issues

    Professional Affiliations

    • Canadian Meteorological and Oceanography Society
    • American Geophysical Union


    Concordia University