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Since long, Antarctica has captured human imagination and as the world debates climate change, the continent is playing a critical role as a natural pristine laboratory. Join us for a tour of the coldest, the driest and the emptiest continent and discover how it continues to changes our perspective of the past, present and future of our blue planet.
A brief history of the exploration of Antarctica
Professor Martin Siegert (Co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change & Environment, Imperial College London)
For millennia civilisation have been fascinated by the existence of Antarctica. From the ancient Greeks, through Captain Cook, and the 1959 International Antarctic Treaty. Antarctica still remains the most unexplored region on Earth. In this talk I will discuss the appreciation of Antarctica, how we measure it, and what we now understand about ice-sheet flow and evolution. I will show how Antarctica holds the potential to alter our global environment. Finally, I will examine the relation between Antarctica and the UK, and why it should concern us all.
Exploring Antarctica’s future with clues from the seafloor
Dr. David Wilson (Geochemist, Research Associate, Earth Sciences, University College London)
Very few of us will ever visit Antarctica, and yet its giant ice sheet has a global reach. Its surface reflects light and cools the planet. Its mere presence exerts control on our ocean currents. And without it, global sea levels would be 55 metres higher. But predicting how it will behave in a warmer world is a major challenge. Intriguingly, the ice sheet’s response to past warming events is revealed by the chemical fingerprints left behind in seafloor sediments. So what can we learn from such records about Antarctica’s future? What are the implications for the earth system and for humans?