S.T. Lee Lecture 2019-2020

Tropical Tales of Polar Ice

A profile image of Andrea Dutton.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Professor Andrea Dutton

A world-renowned expert on past climate and sea-level change at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is visiting New Zealand as a United States Fulbright Scholar.

Synopsis of lecture

Ice and fire. Feast or famine. Drought, then flood. Human experience is shaped and sometimes forever altered by the extremes we experience in our lifetimes. Living through an era of rapid global warming brings with it new extremes that impact our lives and our livelihoods in a myriad of ways.

One of the more visual impacts of climate change is the increased frequency of coastal flooding as sea-level rises. The greatest uncertainty in projecting the tempo and rhythm of future sea-level rise is knowing how the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to sustained warming in the atmosphere and oceans.

Professor Andrea Dutton will describe how her work using fossil coral reefs on tropical islands has helped inform us about the dynamics of Antarctic ice sheet retreat during past warm periods and what that means for the future of coastlines around the world.

Andrea Dutton

Andrea Dutton is a world-renowned expert on past climate and sea-level change. Her main research focus is to establish the behaviour of sea level and polar ice sheets during past warm periods to better inform us about future sea-level rise. One hallmark of Andrea’s approach is the strong interdisciplinary nature of her work that blends field geology, geophysics, coral reef ecology, sedimentology, and geochemistry.

She is very active in communicating her research to the public and has been extensively quoted and featured in popular media. Andrea’s combined impact within academia and in the sphere of public outreach has earned her numerous accolades, including being named as a fellow of the Geologic Society of America, as one of Rolling Stones’ “25 People Shaping the Future”, and most recently, as a MacArthur Fellow.

Andrea completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Amherst College, and after teaching K-12 for two years, returned to academia to complete a Master of Science and a PhD in Geology at the University of Michigan. She is currently a professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and came to visit New Zealand as a United States Fulbright Scholar.

More information about Andrea Dutton here.