Spring 2009 Public Lectures
Sunday, March 15
>>Click here or on the image above to watch a video of this lecture.
Michael Studinger, Ph.D.
An Antarctic Expedition in Search of Lost Mountains
The AGAP (Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Province) expedition is the first systematic study of our planet’s last unexplored mountain range, which lies about 2 1/2 miles (4 km) under the most massive ice sheet on earth, deep in the interior of the Antarctic continent. Working against time in a forbidding climate, scientists have created the first detailed maps of the Gamburtsev Mountains using geophysical survey aircraft equipped with RADAR, laser, and other instruments to look down into the ice sheet.
Sunday, March 29
Dorothy Peteet, Ph.D.
New York’s Piermont Marsh:
A 7,000-year Archive of Climate Change, Human Impact and Uncovered Mysteries
Digging deep into tidal marshes one discovers their important role as recorders of major environmental change in the Hudson Valley. Taking sediment cores and analyzing the peat, we count pollen grains, plant macrofossils and charcoal—all of which document the dramatic and abrupt shifts in the Hudson Valley’s regional climate such as the Medieval Warming drought that occurred between 800-1350 AD. Other studies show the impacts of human disturbance since the 1600’s, such as the effects of regional forest clearance and the resulting spread of invasive species.
Sunday, April 19
This lecture is sponsored by the Lamont-Doherty Alumni Association.
Sunday, April 26
Brendan Buckley, Ph.D.
The Tree Ring Project
Seven Centuries of Mega-droughts in Southeast Asia and their Impact on Regional Civilizations
Climate records from the Asian tropics are limited, and the data often lack sufficient quality for detailed analyses of climate variability. These monsoon affected regions are among the world’s most heavily populated and most dependent on water resources for agriculture. We have produced Asian tree-ring records which span more than 700 years. We find evidence for a mid-18th century “mega-drought” that spanned at least from Thailand to Vietnam. More compelling still, the time leading up to the collapse of the great 15th century Khmer civilization at Angkor Wat appears to have been marked by the most severe drought of the past seven centuries.