A lecture on the WAIS

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, July 5th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

There are a few odd times that I wish I was living in Wellington instead of Auckland (not often).This is one of them.

There is a lecture by one of the leading researchers looking at the geology of the West Antarctica ice sheet (WAIS) and the critical medium-term effects of climate change.

Tim Naish says new evidence shows that changes to Antarctica’s most vulnerable element, the West Antarctic ice sheet, could raise global sea levels by up to five metres.

The Director of Victoria University’s Antarctic Research Centre will present this new evidence at his inaugural professorial lecture on Tuesday 7 July at Victoria University.

I have written on previously how important the WAIS is in An idiots* guide to what happens when the CO2 affects the WAIS. Professor Naish points out the critical aspect in the climate change that many skeptics appear to have a problem understanding (my italics)

‘Polar ice sheets have grown and collapsed at least 40 times over the past five million years, causing major sea-level fluctuations. The most recent ‘interglacial’ has lasted 10,000 years, during which time global sea-level and atmospheric temperatures have remained more or less constant, and human civilisation has flourished.’

The risk levels to human civilisation involved in disturbing that benign climate balance pose a major problem over the next century. I’m a skeptic about humans being able to avoid a large scale die-back in population if they manage to trigger a change in climate. A new climate equilibrium is going to be a lot less benign for our painfully garnered technologies like farming.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says Professor Naish is an outstanding researcher, teacher and leader in the field of Antarctic research.

‘Professor Naish’s Antarctic research has raised international awareness about the role of Antarctic ice sheets in climate and sea-level change. Through the ANDRILL project in particular, he has provided leadership on an issue that is of global significance.’

I’d urge people to go to attend. It will be extremely interesting getting the information from an expert in the field. Perhaps a few of our politicians, especially those on the select committee on the ETS, could go and expand their knowlege of down stream effects.

The public lecture is at 6pm in the Hunter Building, Lecture Theatre 323, Gate 1 or 2 Kelburn Parade on Tuesday 7 July. To RSVP, email rsvp@vuw.ac.nz with ‘Naish’ in the subject line.

It’d be great if Victoria University could get this lecture up on the net for those of us lucky enough not to live on a major fault line.

12 comments on “A lecture on the WAIS”

  1. roger nome 1

    This is just alarmism. Everybody knows that the American Association of oil barons are right and everyone else is wrong? My understanding is that so called “global warming” is just a global conspiracy that’s been whipped up by the comunust liberal media (this guy for example)

    and the global comunust peer-reviewed science journals?

    I’m sure redbaiter and MacDoc can give us a more sophisticated look at the conspiracy than i can though … guys, a bit of help here?

  2. RedLogix 2

    Will be there. I’ll try and knock up a post if not all of the Prof’s material goes whistling overhead.

  3. lprent 3

    Thanks.. .

    Sounds like Nevil Gibson, the editor at the NBR should go as well. He wrote a particularly stupid editorial last week. Not understanding the science is no excuse for being a credulous fool. Time to worry: NBR editor lacks insight on climate change.

    Looks like he believes number of non-scientific paper lines rather asking scientists themselves.

    • Anita 3.1

      The comment to which this is a reply appears blank in the RSS feed.

      • lprent 3.1.1

        RL’s comment? Umm that’s odd. Adds to bug list.

        The other nice thing about Peters anti-spam though is that not only does it allow me to respond from my iPhone, I’ve also just found that it also allows me to respond from my severely locked down work system…….

        And I just got a quote string – that is definitely the problem. Will fix now. Time for a break anyway.

        • Anita 3.1.1.1

          Your comment from 2:48pm is blank in the RSS feed. I read off RSS most of the time and it’s the only blank I’ve seen.

          P.S. The fact that edit works on my own comments in the RSS feed is pretty cool 🙂

          • lprent 3.1.1.1.1

            Yeah. This is a nice (if somewhat ugly) system. I haven’t seen a noticeable increase in the spambots getting through to akismet. Looks like it is doing its job.

            I turned off the speaking version mainly to get rid of the extra comment. Will turn back on if anyone desperately needs it.

  4. djp 4


    Polar ice sheets have grown and collapsed at least 40 times over the past five million years, causing major sea-level fluctuations.

    This could undermine the anthropogenic argument

    ps. New capcha is easier to read thx

    • lprent 4.1

      Except that this particular rise in C02 levels has the isotropic signature of released coal and oil rather than the volcanic gas emissions that appear to have triggered previous changes. It is also a *lot* faster than previous changes according to the ice cores. etc etc… Read http://realclimate.org or http://www.hottopic.com (or sites linked from there) if you want a readable version of the research.

      However the geology of previous eras tells us roughly what happens when greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere. Ice melts, sea levels rise, the climate changes over wide areas with changing rain and wind patterns, sea currents turn on and off, deserts shift, even possible northern glaciations, etc. The exact effects are unpredictable when you’re looking back over 10’s of thousands or millions of years.

      The only thing that you can be sure about is that human civilization will suffer intensely. It evolved for and during relatively stable climatic conditions (geologically speaking). Climate changes that can be withstood by hunter-gathers are likely to be lethal for complex civilizations. Do you want to take the risks to have an RV?

    • Pascal's bookie 4.2

      This could undermine the anthropogenic argument

      I love this shit.

      Hey, look at this! If you pump out these gases into the atmosphere everything we know about climatology says the temp should rise

      Oh yeah? So?

      So those are the gases we’ve been pumping out.

      Well the temperature isn’t rising so your *theory* is for shit.

      Yeah well there’s feedback loops and buffers and stuff. It’s a complicated business, but in any case, those buffers can’t handle what we are throwing at them and eventually things’ll have to pop somewhere. It’s fucking physics.

      Pffft. Nah you’re full of it. Come back to me when the temp starts rising.

      dum-de-doo, dum-de-doo

      Hi. the temps are totally rising. Look at this graph. It’s a zigzag heading up.

      Yeah but we’re going down at the moment. You’re such a liar, that’s the total opposite of what you said!

      Look smarter. Like I said, it zigzags, but if you smooth out those zigzags it’s heading up. Just like we expected. And it’s physics. There’s a problem here. We should really start pumping less of this shit into the atmosphere.

      Why? Even if we are getting hotter, hotter’s good, and you can’t prove it’s these gases you’re so concerned about.

      A little bit hotter overall can make life really unpleasant in the places humans actually fucking live, and every time these gases have been more prevalent, the temp has risen. We’ve been checking it out.

      So it’s happened before then?

      Yep. Here’s the graphs and data. It’s definitely happened before, lots of times. These gases that we are pumping out cause the temp to rise.

      Ha ha. That data says it happened before humans had even evolved, therefore it can’t be us. Or did we send back our gases in a time machine? What a loon. ha ha.

      Er, it’s the gases, not the people. The gases can be released in any number of ways, none of them good, some of them though, preventable. Which would be ‘the point’.

      So how can you say that it’s us that’s releasing the gases?

      Had a suck on your tailpipe lately?

      You’re really uncivil, you know that?

      Don’t get me fucking started.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Safety upgrades and certainty for Ōtaki highway
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today welcomed the NZ Transport Agency’s decision to fund urgent safety improvements and confirm the designation of the Ōtaki to North of Levin highway. Safety upgrades will be made along 23.4km of the existing state highway, running along SH1 from the end of the Peka Peka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Playing our part to support refugees in our region and the world
    New Zealand playing its part in Asia-Pacific and globally are behind changes announced today to the Coalition Government’s three year refugee quota policy, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “We are proud to be a welcoming and inclusive nation committed to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people to rebuild ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting thriving inclusive communities
    Creating thriving regions and inclusive local communities is the aim of the Welcoming Communities programme being rolled out across the country, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today. A successful pilot of the scheme ran over the last 2 years led by Immigration New Zealand and involved ten councils across five regions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Takahē population flying high
    Takahē may be flightless but their population is flying high with the official count reaching 418 after a record breeding season that produced an estimated 65 juveniles, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “The population reaching a high of 418 is great news for takahē which were considered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand makes further climate commitments
    New Zealand is today taking action to reduce the potent global warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases, Climate Minister James Shaw and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. “The global agreement to reduce these potent greenhouse gases is another step in New Zealand’s commitment to reduce global warming. It is estimated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago