The RST Winter Lecture Series: The future of the world’s oceans


The second lectures in The Royal Society's Winter Lecture Series for 2017

Start Date

19th Jul 2017 7:30pm

End Date

19th Jul 2017 9:00pm


Stanley Burbury Theatre, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

Enquiries: or 6165 7014

Register Now Button

Winter Lecture Series: Session Two


Chair: The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Justice Alan Blow OAM

Past Oceans: An insight to future changes

  • Dr Taryn Noble, John Stocker Postdoctoral Fellow - Marine Geochemist, University of Tasmania

Oceans play an important role in global climate. So far 40% of the anthropogenic carbon and 90% of the heat released into the atmosphere since industrialisation has been absorbed by the Southern Ocean. As well as being an important region for the exchange of carbon dioxide and heat, the Southern Ocean acts as thermal barrier isolating the Antarctic ice sheet from the warmer tropics. Oceanographic measurements over the past few decades document significant changes in the characteristics of Antarctic Bottom Water, a key component of the global circulation system, which is becoming warmer and fresher. Understanding how ocean circulation has changed along the Antarctic margin is vital for understanding how the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to warming of the surrounding ocean. Marine archives, such as marine sediment cores, can provide a wealth of information about how the global ocean has changed from hundreds to thousands and millions of years ago. Past climate records can also provide analogues to the current climate warming. Dr Noble will discuss how we can reconstruct the role of oceans in regulating our planet’s past climate, and what lessons we are likely to learn for the future.

Dr Taryn Noble is a marine geochemist at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania. Taryn received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2012 on
paleoceanography of the Southern Ocean. In 2016 she was awarded a SIEF John Stocker Postdoctoral Fellowship. Taryn’s research interests involve using marine sediment cores and seawater to study past ocean circulation and the role oceans play in climate. Her current research is focused on understanding the role of ocean circulation in melting the Antarctic ice shelves during the last deglaciation.

The Future of Sea Level: How fast, how much?

  • Professor Matt King, ARC Future Fellow and Professor of Polar Geodesy, University of Tasmania

Antarctica, Greenland and the small glaciers around the globe are together losing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice into the ocean each year. As the planet has warmed the oceans have expanded, and these factors have driven sea-level rise. But what does the future hold? How fast will sea level rise in the coming decades? The accurate answer to that question depends both on human influences on the climate and the uncertain role of the awakening giant of the vast Antarctic Ice Sheet. Future changes in Antarctica will not only have an important effect on the global average rate of sea-level rise but will also determine which regions of the globe will suffer the most drastic effects.  

Professor Matt King completed a Bachelor of Surveying at the University of Tasmania before undertaking a PhD using surveying data to quantify changes in the motion of a large floating Antarctic ice shelf. He then moved to the UK where he researched applications of GPS positioning. Matt is Professor of Polar Geodesy and an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Tasmania where he works on observing and modelling the Antarctic Ice Sheet, sea-level change and the changing shape of Earth. Matt has travelled to both Antarctica and Greenland, and in 2015 the Royal Society (London) awarded him the Kavli Medal and Lecture for his work that contributed to the first reconciled estimate of Antarctica and Greenland’s contribution to sea-level change. Matt is President of the Royal Society of Tasmania.

More information:

Held in partnership with The Royal Society of Tasmania.logo

Session Three - 2 August

Can't attend an event? Catch up with public lectures on the University of Tasmania Livestream Page!