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Antarctica Conference puts the spotlight on climate change

Antarctica Conference puts the spotlight on climate change
Media release for immediate use on 25 June 2017

Over 150 leading scientists from New Zealand and around the world are coming together over the next three days to showcase the latest research on how climate change is affecting Antarctica.

Organised by the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) and Antarctica New Zealand, the New Zealand Antarctic Science Conference brings together the latest science being undertaken by the New Zealand Antarctic Programme and its international partners.

NZARI director and marine science Professor Gary Wilson anticipates the conference will provide a unique opportunity for the Antarctic science community.

“The conference will provide a platform for sharing important research making significant contributions at the coal face of climate change,” says Gary Wilson.

Some of the world’s eminent climate scientists will be speaking at the Conference. There will be fascinating talks ranging from enormous volcanic eruptions likely to have altered the earth’s climate thousands of years ago, to drilling through the Ross Ice Shelf for the first time in 40 years to learn more about how it is melting.

Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Peter Beggs says the Conference is a crucial opportunity to raise awareness of one of the most important issues facing the world.

“For so long dismissed as nothing more than a hostile and frozen desert, Antarctica is finally being recognised as the continent which will determine the fate of the world. Our scientific work in Antarctica is more important than ever before. It is now alarmingly obvious that we are an ice-dependent species, and the contest to retain enough of it to survive on the planet will play out in Antarctica,” says Peter Beggs.

Free events at Otago Museum have also been organised throughout the week so the public can learn about the impact of Antarctica on our lives:

Antarctic Takeaway - Public Talks (6pm, Tuesday 27 June, Hutton Theatre)
Professors Christina Hulbe, Gary Wilson and Craig Cary are Antarctic veterans. With more than 50 expeditions between them, they undertake challenging science in the world's most challenging environment. Hear from each the latest insights into how Antarctica's ice and life forms are responding to climate change and its global implications.

Interactive showcase: Antarctica & Us (Monday 26 June – Friday 30 June, Barclay Theatre).
Explore Antarctica and learn about the potential impact of climate change on it and us through state-of-the-art immersive media, hands-on interactive models, and insights from scientists undertaking world-changing research on the ice.

Data Days + Studio Antarctica: (Monday 26 June – Sunday 2 July, Beautiful Science Gallery)
Explore Gabby O'Connor's stunning Antarctica-inspired sculptures and imagery in the Beautiful Science Gallery. Gabby travelled to Antarctica with a team of sea ice scientists. Camping on the frozen sea, they studied the platelet ice crystals that form at the interface between the ice and the seawater. Gabby has translated this experience into wonder-inspiring works that bridge the intersections of art and science.

The Conference is being sponsored by Otago University and hosted at Otago Museum.

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