Ocean, ice and climate: online talk to explore latest science

Tasmanians interested in the latest climate change research can this week join a free online webinar by two leading local scientists, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies’ Professor Nathan Bindoff and CSIRO’s Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas.

The webinar at 6 pm on Thursday, 30 April, will summarise and highlight the significance of key findings from the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, released in September last year.

Professor Bindoff was Coordinating Lead Author on Chapter 5: Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities, while Dr Melbourne-Thomas was a Lead Author on Chapter 3: Polar Regions.

The webinar will address questions such as: When will climate change emerge?; How much benefit is there in low-emission trajectories?; How can it be that so many ecosystems are affected?; What are the solutions?; and What are the policy implications for adaptation to reduce the risks and hazards of climate change in the oceans and on our coasts?

Professor Bindoff said the lecture should be of particular interest for Tasmanians, as the waters off the East Coast are warming at four times the global rate, leading to significant changes in local ecosystems.

“The world-class research carried out by local scientists provides a preview of the changes we can expect globally in coming years, including the arrival of invasive species and range-extending fish, the loss of key species such as giant kelp, and marine heatwaves bringing diseases such as POMS,” he said.

“The IPCC report on the oceans and cryosphere gives perhaps the most comprehensive picture to date of the impacts of climate change caused by humans, particularly on the oceans but also on high mountains and the polar regions.

“I think the key message from the report is that there are options to respond to climate change, but there are also limits to adaptation, and choices need to be made around the sorts of emission pathways that society might choose.

“I’m delighted to be joined by Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas, whose skills as a communicator contributed to her being named Tasmania’s Australian of the Year and will ensure the science is explained in an accessible and interesting way,” Professor Bindoff said.

The lecture is free, but registration for the webinar is required: https://utas.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-OL-oPcVQj6m239n-_sZVA

Image: the arrival of invasive species such as the long-spined sea urchin in Tasmanian waters is a consequence of warming waters. Credit: John Keane, IMAS.

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