Our changing climate
Press release issued: 24 October 2005
The impact of human activity on the Earth's climate is of growing concern, highlighted by natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina that demonstrate how powerful Nature can be. To address the questions surrounding our changing climate the University of Bristol is holding a series of free public lunchtime talks. The talks are aimed especially at a non-scientific audience.
We are inundated with news reports about global warming, shrinking ice caps and disrupted ocean currents. Should we recognise these weather conditions as more frequent, intense, storms on a warmer globe? Or do they just reflect natural cycles?
At the first talk [Thursday, October 27], Dr Richard Pancost, Lecturer in Biogeochemistry will present 'Icehouses and Greenhouses: How was the world of the dinosaurs different from ours?' Throughout time there is evidence that the Earth has cycled between dramatically different climate states switching from icehouse to greenhouse mode. This talk will explore these past climate variations while also discussing how the evolution of life on Earth has affected and been affected by past changes.
At the second talk [Thursday, November 10], Dr David Catling, Lecturer in Earth Sciences will present 'From the origin of life to planet-sized snowballs: The Climate of the early Earth.' Dr Catling will present a history of the Earth's climate, discussing the dramatic climate shifts during the origin of life, concluding with the latest investigations of current climate change.
The third and final talk, 'Did humans cause hurricane Katrina? will be given on Thursday, November 24 by Dr Dudley Shallcross, Reader in Physical Chemistry. Human activity in the last two centuries has led to changes in atmospheric composition. This talk will look at the evidence in support of this statement and consider whether such changes can influence events such as increased and more intense hurricane activity.
The talks, organised by the University's Community Engagement Team based in Public Programmes Office. All talks take place in Waddelow Hall, Broadmead Baptist Church, Union Street, Bristol, on Thursdays from 1 to 2 pm. No pre-booking is necessary and members of the audience are welcome to bring their sandwiches.