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17:00 - 19:00 18 May 2017

Ice cores and interglacials


Department of Geography, Lecture Theatre G03 | 26 Bedford Way (link Map)
London | WC1H 0DS | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: 0
Ticketing: Ticketed

Speaker information

Eric Wolff, Cambridge University, Eric Wolff is a Royal Society Research Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University. After graduating as a chemist, he has studied ice cores from the Antarctic and Greenland for the past 30 years, using them to understand changing climate, as well as changing levels of pollution in remote areas. He also carries out research into the chemistry of the lower parts of the Antarctic atmosphere. Until June 2013, he led a programme at the British Antarctic Survey. He chaired the science committee of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), which produced 800,000 year records of climate from the Dome C (Antarctica) ice core and co-chairs the international initiative (IPICS) to coordinate future ice core

The polar ice sheets hold one of Earth’s great sedimentary records. By drilling ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, we can obtain ice that fell as snow, extending back so far 800,000 years in Antarctica and over 120,000 years in Greenland. Ice cores contain information about climate and numerous other environmental parameters; crucially the air bubbles trapped in the ice give access to the past composition of the atmosphere, including the greenhouse gas concentrations. In this talk I will first discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ice cores, and then demonstrate how ice cores are collected. I will then present some highlights of recent ice core research, including the information thay have given us about interglacials. This will lead me to a more general discussion about interglacials. The last interglacial offers an especially useful example, and I will discuss he issue of estimating what happened to the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet at a time of higher sea-levels.


Anson Mackay
+44 (0)20 7679 0558 | a.mackay@ucl.ac.uk


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