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Geological Society Sept Public Lecture - Matinee

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The Geological Society

Piccadilly

London

W1J 0BD

United Kingdom

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The Big Antarctic Freeze

Carrie Lear, Cardiff University

Since 1992, loss of ice from the Antarctic ice sheet has contributed 8 mm to global sea level rise, with 40% of this occurring in the last 5 years. The future loss of ice from Antarctica represents the largest uncertainty in future global sea level predictions. This is concerning because the Antarctic ice sheet is large enough to raise global sea level approximately 65 m if it were to melt completely.

As Earth Scientists, we know that Earth’s climate has changed naturally in the past. Can we use the past behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet to predict its future behaviour in a warming climate? To do this we would need to reconstruct a record of ice sheet volume through time. However, this is not straightforward because the ice sheet itself has obliterated or covered most of the direct evidence for its past advance and retreat on Antarctica. In this lecture I first of all explain how we use indirect methods to reconstruct changes in the size of the Antarctic ice sheet millions of years in the past. We will see how the formation of the ice sheet approximately 34 million years ago made its mark in marine geochemical proxy records. I will then show that these records reveal a surprisingly dynamic history of the Antarctic ice sheet, with worrying implications for future ice sheet stability.

14.30 Tea and coffee served in the lower library

15.00 Lecture

15.45 Questions and answers

16.00 Lecture ends and guests depart

For more information, please check out the website www.geolsoc.og.uk

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The Geological Society

Piccadilly

London

W1J 0BD

United Kingdom

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