The Phillip Law Lecture

Photo: Phillip Law in 1956 by A. Campbell Drury.


Join us at CCAMLR, 181 Macquarie Street, Hobart (the old Hutchins School) for the latest in this long-running series of lectures in honour of Antarctic legend Phillip Garth Law.  Phillip Law was the driving force behind the postwar development of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) and founder of Mawson Station, the first permanent Australian base on the Antarctic continent.

Professor Matt King – image courtesy of the University of Tasmania

The Antarctic Ice Sheet: unbalanced, unhinged or just unknown?

Like many relationships, our relationship with the Antarctic Ice Sheet is complex. For many, it is distant and cold and has no bearing on them. For Tasmanians, as we feel the blast of a cold southerly, it can be like the estranged family member – we’ve never seen them but we definitely know they exist. For others, it’s a relationship of confusion – is it adding to sea level or not? Is it growing or shrinking? And what will happen in the future? But it’s not just people who have this complex relationship – the ice sheet has a complex relationship with the ocean around it and the solid Earth beneath it. As the ice sheet thins the bedrock uplifts and sea levels near to it fall, which acts to slow – with the right conditions even stop – the ice sheet’s further thinning. But even this relationship is complex, varying substantially across Antarctica. This talk will highlight our recent advances in understanding the ice sheet, how it is changing and adding to sea level, and what we know (and don’t know) about the interactions between the solid Earth and ice sheet.

Matt King is Professor of Polar Geodesy at the University of Tasmania. 

Professor King is an acknowledged world expert on the contribution that changes in the polar ice sheets make to world sea levels. He is the author of numerous papers published in scientific journals. In 2015, for his research in field glaciology, he was awarded the Kavli Medal, a biennial award for excellence in science and engineering relevant to the environment or energy, at the Royal Society (London) .

The Phillip Law Lecture is presented as part of the Australian Antarctic Festival. We acknowledge the support of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).  Admission to the lecture is free. Friday 3 August at 6:00 pm. at CCAMLR, 181 Macquarie Street.