Friends' Seasonal Talk - 12 July 2022

Dr Prame Chopra ‘Melting ice and rising seas; how much, how fast?'


For millions of years Earth’s climate has been dominated by ice with the last Ice Age ending only 12,000 years ago (ie, in very recent geological time). Currently we enjoy the warmth of an “interglacial period” called the Holocene. The previous interglacial, - the Eemian - lasted for 15,000 years and ended about 115,000 years ago when the ice came back. The Eemian may be a pointer to what may happen in the Holocene, because at that time the global climate became warmer than today, and sea levels rose several metres higher.

Measurements of harbour water levels since the 1600s confirm that today’s seas are rising: modern satellite data prove the point even more precisely. However, while much is known about the past, the way ahead is obscured - principally because of human interventions in the climate system.  This talk will discuss the uncertainties in the future paths of ice volume and sea level, the machinations of the imperfect Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the likely consequences for us all


Dr Prame Chopra has a wide-ranging interest in the dynamics of the earth. He has degrees in geology and geophysics and until his retirement was a Reader in Geophysics at ANU. He also worked as a geophysicist with what is now Geoscience Australia. In 2000 he co-founded Geodynamics Ltd, the world’s first publicly listed hot rock energy company and served as its Director for more than a decade. He was also a Media Fellow with the ABC’s science unit.