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Human CO2 emissions are causing our planet to warm and our climate to change. We will explore how this impacts life in the oceans today and the effects that past high CO2 levels had on the Earth’s climate millions of years ago. This venue is not wheelchair accessible.
When Britain Baked: Global Warming from the Geological Past to the Present and Future
Professor Paul Pearson (Professor, School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University)
The greenhouse effect is nothing new: in fact we’d be in trouble without it, as the planet would be so cold the oceans would freeze. Indeed the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has changed dramatically in the geological past, linked to both glaciation (low CO2) and super-warm periods (high CO2). In this talk I explain how we set about trying to reconstruct the CO2 levels back to the Eocene epoch, 60 million years ago, including periods of extreme global warming. This gives us a context for understanding human-induced climate change at the present, and what might happen in the future.
Ping Pong Balls, Melting Ice Sheets, and the Great Climate System
Professor Carrie Lear (Professor in Earth Science, Cardiff University)
By studying tiny changes in the chemistry of fossil shells recovered from the sediment at the bottom of our oceans we know when the Antarctic Ice Sheet expanded and melted. At this event, you will help us do exactly this, but instead of using different isotopes of oxygen we will use ping pong balls. Help Professor Carrie Lear (and Barry our pet penguin!) reconstruct the dynamic history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Dr. David Reynolds will bring the event full circle by providing an insight into how the oceans, atmosphere, and ice sheets interact within the great climate system.