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Join us on a journey of Antarctica’s past, present and future. Tonight’s speakers will discuss how our knowledge of this enigmatic continent has transformed and why the future of Antarctica is of grave concern to us, both in the UK and around the globe.
Antarctic time machine – drilling back to the future
Prof Tina van de Flierdt (Isotope Geochemist)
Antarctica is my favourite continent. It is very large, ~ 58 times the size of the UK. Most of its land is covered by ice, up to 4 kilometres in places. So we can really think about it as a giant ice cube. Like real ice cubes, its size depends on the temperature of the air and water around it. If all the ice that rests on Antarctica would melt, global sea level would rise by some tens of metres. Did this happen in the past? What are the lessons learned for the future? Drilling the seafloor around Antarctica reveals an exciting and often surprising history.
How is Antarctica changing and why should we care?
Prof Martin Siegert (Professor of Geoscience at Imperial College, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute, and Glaciologist)
While much is now known about Antarctica, it still remains unquestionably the most unexplored region on Earth. I will talk about how our appreciation of Antarctica has changed as a consequence of the technological advances required for its scientific exploration. I will show how the perception of Antarctica as a static, lifeless continent has transformed to that of a dynamic region that has the power to alter our global environment. Finally, I will question what changes in the Antarctic could mean for us in the UK, and why it should concern us all.