Other Lancaster and Morecambe events

Climate change: Rising seas, falling rain

Free parking, fully accessible.
Past event - 2024
14 May Doors open 6.30pm
Event 7pm to 9pm
Vale of Lune Rugby Club, Powder House Lane,
Lancaster and Morecambe LA1 2TT
The melting of the Antarctic ice caps causes effects everywhere, especially coastal areas like Morecambe Bay where rising sea levels can lead to flooding and erosion. Counter intuitively, as glaciers shrink there's less water available during dry spells, making droughts worse for farmers. In our discussions, we'll explore how scientists track changes in Antarctic ice, see how statistics can help us plan sea defences to keep our communities safe, and delve into how engineering drought-resistant crops will ensure we have enough food in the future.

Life on thin ice

Dr Katie Miles (Lecturer in Physical Geography)
Antarctic ice shelves are the floating extension of the Antarctic Ice Sheet into the ocean. Ice shelves hold back the flow of inland ice, moderating contributions to sea-level rise. However, in our warming climate, ice shelves are now being melted both from above by warming air temperatures and from below by warming ocean temperatures. Antarctic ice shelves can also lose mass by calving icebergs, which can be enormous: the largest recorded iceberg was half the size of Wales! In extreme cases, ice shelves can disintegrate catastrophically, releasing many icebergs and ultimately resulting in increased sea-level rise. From November 2023, I spent three months in Antarctica, drilling a borehole through the Shackleton Ice Shelf to investigate the structural stability of the ice and reach the ocean below. I’ll show videos of the life we saw on the sea floor and explain the importance of the logs we took from the ice, ocean, and sediment. I’ll also talk about what it’s like to live and work in one of Earth’s most extreme environments.

Statistics: Another brick in the sea wall

Eleanor D'Arcy (Senior Advisor in Statistics)
Sea level rise and changes in weather conditions due to climate change have increased the risk of coastal flooding. It is increasingly important that we can accurately estimate sea levels to determine how high we need to build coastal defences such as sea walls. Extreme sea levels that pose a threat to coastline communities have not yet been observed. We therefore need to predict levels beyond the range of observed data, which requires statistical modelling. Overestimation results in wasted resources but underestimation can lead to defences being breached, with devastating consequences including loss of life and damage to infrastructure. In this talk, I will discuss the importance of statistically modelling extreme events and demonstrate how this is fundamental in our fight against climate change. Using my sea level model as an example, I will present some of the statistical techniques used and I will explain how my results will be used for upgrading coastal defences nationwide, to highlight the significance of statistical research in the real world.

Empowering the small: stress resistant seeds

Eduardo Zelada (PhD Student)
Seeds are trivial in size as compared to their fully formed plants and nurturing them is becoming increasingly difficult as global warming progresses. Are there ways to make a tiny seed more resistant to environmental stresses? Can we increase resilience at all? This brief talk will go over current approaches to increasing seed planting value, with an emphasis on the current difficulties for tomato crops in the region.
Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.