Edinburgh Campus

Event details

From Greenhouse to Icehouse: history and future of Antarctica's climate

The Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Lectures with Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of the British Antarctic Survey. 

Antarctica is a frozen white world of ice and snow at the bottom of the world. Despite its remoteness, it has a profound impact on global climates and sea level that affect us all today.

Although hard to imagine today, around 100 million years ago, Antarctica was not white but green. The climate was warmed naturally by carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions, allowing dinosaurs to live in lush polar forests that spread from Patagonia, across Antarctica to Australia.

Forty million years ago, however, Antarctica turned from green to white as the greenhouse climate cooled, ice sheets formed across the South Pole and the continent became an icehouse that we see today.

Now scientists see evidence of warming climates and melting ice sheets in Antarctica. The fossil plants may provide us with a window into life at high latitudes in our future warm world.

Professor Francis will discuss this and more as part of the annual, Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Lectures. 

Take this unique opportunity to engage with our guest speaker and meet our top academics and industry partners - and view our Global Pioneers exhibition showcasing our world-leading, solution-focused researchers, our educational best-practice and our thought leadership.