The Past Illuminates the Future: Geophysical analysis of past climate changes in Antarctica informs predictions of global warming
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM PST
About the event
Climate change driven by fossil fuel combustion poses an unprecedented threat that, if left unaddressed, challenges the viability of our global society and risks the destruction of diverse environmental systems.
Understanding how the climate system functions is essential for predicting its future. The Earth can't be enclosed in a laboratory and subject to experimentation, but its long history of prior natural changes can be used as planetary-scale experiments that reveal its workings. Part of Professor Cuffey's research focuses on the record of past climate changes preserved in the polar ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
In this talk, Prof. Cuffey will discuss how measurements of ice temperature, trapped gases, and water isotopes are combined to reveal the last great natural warming in Antarctica, the end of the last ice age, and what it teaches us about the unnatural trajectory of our future climate.
Kurt Cuffey is Martin Distinguished Chair in Ocean, Earth, and Climate Science at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a professor in the Department of Geography and the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Professor Cuffey's research encompasses climate change, glacier dynamics, and the evolution of landscapes. He is a Fellow and Medalist of the American Geophysical Union, and is best known as the author of The Physics of Glaciers, 4th edition. He has conducted field studies in Antarctica, Greenland, Peru, Patagonia, the Canadian Rockies, and elsewhere. He appreciates fine tequila and gin, and wishes the pandemic would end.