Historic study of sea-level change continues at Port Arthur after 169 years

September 9, 2012


Dr John Hunter will speak about his long-term study of sea-level change at Port Arthur in the next Port Arthur Talk. Dr Hunter’s work has been inspired by work carried out nearly 170 years ago by storekeeper at the settlment, Thomas Lempriere, under the direction of Sir John Franklin and the explorer, James Clark Ross.

It is nine years since Dr John Hunter gave his first Port Arthur Talk on the results of his seven‐year study. In this talk, he will firstly summarise this earlier work and show how its results fitted in with the overall understanding of sea‐level rise and climate science.

Climate science has of course moved on since those days. Others have built on the work of Lempriere and scientists like John Hunter, using a very different scientific technique – digging holes in salt marshes! He will explain what this means and show how it all fits together.

Finally, the presentation will indicate what the work at Port Arthur meant for John Hunter’s own personal scientific journey – how two visitors to these shores (James Clark Ross in 1840, and an oceanographer in 1995) profoundly influenced his career.

Until recently, John Hunter worked as an oceanographer at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, which is based in the University of Tasmania. His current interests are the sea‐level rise induced by climate change, and the response of Antarctic Ice Shelves to global warming.

His interest in sea‐level rise was initially stimulated in the mid‐1990s by his work (with others) on the historic sea‐level mark at the Isle of the Dead, Port Arthur. Recent work has involved investigations of sea‐level rise in Australia, the U.S., and in the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions, and the way in which this rise increases the frequency and likelihood of flooding events. He has a keen interest in seeing that the science of climate change is accurately communicated, not distorted by the so‐called ʺclimate scepticsʺ and is appropriately incorporated into public policy.

Wednesday 10 October, 2012 at 5.30pm
Junior Medical Officer’s Conference Room, Port Arthur Historic Site
For more information call +61 (0)3 6251 2324

The historic tidal benchmark, carved into the rocky shoreline of the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur

The historic tidal benchmark, carved into the rocky shoreline of the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur