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Talk to explore fate of Antarctic ice sheet

Talk to explore fate of Antarctic ice sheet


The Antarctic ice sheet’s contribution to future sea-level rise will be explored by a world-leading polar scientist who is giving the 2014 S.T. Lee Lecture.

Robert DeConto, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States, will give the 12th annual lecture in Wellington on Wednesday 3 September.

Rob DeContoProfessor DeConto will discuss what geological records tell us about the past history of the ice sheet and how they inform predictive models for coming decades and centuries.

Professor DeConto’s background spans geophysics, oceanography and atmospheric science. He has held research positions at both the United States National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In the last decade, his focus has shifted toward the polar regions, including the development of numerical climate and ice sheet models, and the application of those models to a wide range of past and future climate scenarios.

Professor DeConto’s new model output, which he will present in the lecture, shows seas will rise one metre by the year 2100 and 10 metres by 2500 due to the Antarctic ice sheet. His work suggests that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sea-level rise projections are underestimating the Antarctic ice sheet contribution.

“What is concerning is that the Antarctic ice sheet appears to be much more sensitive to climate change than we previously thought,” says Professor DeConto.

Professor Tim Naish, Director of Victoria’s Antarctic Research Centre, says Professor DeConto’s science is highly relevant to a nation such as New Zealand which has so much of its infrastructure and population near the coastline.

The S.T. Lee Lecture is organised by the Antarctic Research Centre in conjunction with the Victoria University Foundation, and delivered by internationally-renowned guest speakers who share their expertise with staff, students and others interested in Antarctic research.

Event details:
Annual S.T. Lee Lecture in Antarctic Studies presented by Professor Robert DeConto
The fate of the Antarctic ice sheet: Lessons from the geological past and how they are informing future predictions
Wednesday 3 September 2014, 5–6pm
Hunter Council Chambers, Victoria University, Kelburn Campus

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