S.T. Lee Lecture 2003

Rob Dunbar

Antarctica and climate change in the century ahead - causes, consequences and surprises

Professor Rob Dunbar, 8 August 2003

W.M. Keck Professor of Earth Science, Stanford University, United States

In August 2003, scientist, Professor Robert Dunbar gave the inaugural S.T. Lee Annual Lecture in Antarctic Studies at Victoria, presenting Antarctica and Climate Change in the Century Ahead - Causes, Consequences and Surprises. His presentation featured examples of newly discovered rapid climate change events superimposed on the long-term trends from past records, furthering concerns about future climate.

We are very excited about Professor Dunbar's visit, made possible through Dr Lee's generous endowment," says Professor Peter Barrett. "He is a world leader in understanding the links between ocean and atmosphere from the tropics to the poles on time scales of hundreds to thousands of years, and has first class experience for placing Antarctic climate research in a global context."

Professor Dunbar's research interests include oceanography, climate dynamics and geochemistry. His research group works on topics related to global environmental change with an emphasis on the coastal ocean, air-sea interactions, and polar processes.

The group's recent work focuses on the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean ecosystems. In doing so, likely future climate behaviour can be understood by studying past changes in sediment cores from fjords and shelf basins around the Antarctic margin.

Professor Dunbar's visit to New Zealand included a field trip to the Pleistocene Milankovitch cycles in the Wanganui Basin; discussion groups and seminars with staff and students in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences; and meetings with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences and the Ministry for the Environment's Climate Change Office. He also visited Antarctica New Zealand and Gateway Antarctica (Canterbury University) and presented the S.T. Lee Lecture in Christchurch.

Professor Dunbar has further links with Victoria as a Visiting Fellow in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences in 1988.