PUBLIC LECTURE: When Antarctica was Green: fossil plants reveal Antarctica's climate history
|When Antarctica was Green: fossil plants reveal Antarctica's climate history : The 2014 Joseph Gentilli Memorial Lecture by Jane Francis, Director, British Antarctic Survey
Although the polar regions are currently covered in ice and snow, life was very different at high latitudes under past warm climates millions of years ago – the polar regions were green. Fossil plants (leaves, wood, pollen, seeds and flowers) preserved in rocks from Antarctica show that the continent was once covered in lush green forests that flourished in warm humid climates, despite the extreme polar light regime of continuous summer sunlight and long dark winters. Antarctic plant fossils contain a rich store of palaeoclimate information about past polar environments and provide us with a window into life at high latitudes in our future warm world.
The Joseph Gentilli Memorial Lecture was established in 2005 to honour the memory and intellectual legacy of an influential and long-serving scholar. Joseph Gentilli (1912-2000) commenced teaching at UWA soon after arriving in Fremantle from Italy in 1939, and continued to be actively involved with the Department of Geography until 2000. During his long and distinguished career, Joseph Gentilli helped to bring about a comprehensive understanding of the climates of Australia. In addition to his many other contributions, he wrote about “the selective or “greenhouse” effect of the atmosphere” more than 50 years ago (A Geography of Climate, The University of Western Australia, 1952), and more than 30 years ago was calling for an understanding of how climate patterns were changing (Australian Climate Patterns, Nelson, 1972).
Cost: Free, but RSVP requested via http://www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/francis
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