A Ballarat scientist has been invited to join others from across the globe to compare notes on world climate change.
Professor Peter Gell of the University of Ballarat has accepted an invitation from the International Geosphere Biosphere Program to sit on a scientific steering committee on Past Global Changes (PAGES).
Professor Gell’s main area of research is the lakes of western Victoria and how they have been affected by climate change over the past 1000 years.
Along with other members of the PAGES committee he will compare the effect of human populations on climate with longer term climate trends.
“It’s very much along the line of the research I do myself,” Professor Gell explains.
“We know there is a range of cycles of change. When we get to understand the natural cycle of change we can then look in detail over the past 200 years and the added impact of the human footprint.
“In western Victorian lakes we have picked up evidence of recent warming and drying.
“We continue to hear how we overestimate the impact of people on climate change. But if you go through archives about change, look at stalactites, tree rings, coral, and lake sediment cores, for example, they enable us to understand the natural variability and put into context the human impact.”
Professor Gell is one of two Australian representatives, the other is from the University of New South Wales.
The PAGES group, which is centred in Bern, Switzerland, has 15 representatives from New Zealand, Uganda, France, UK, Canada, Colombia and other countries.
Professor Gell’s first meeting with the committee is in Paris in January.
“I have had a leadership role within PAGES for some time now co-hosting meetings in Mildura, India and China,” Professor Gell said.
“So I welcome the opportunity to have a more central role, particularly as the Earth Systems Science world moves more directly into addressing issues of sustainability at a global scale.”
Meanwhile Professor Gell will host a PAGES meeting
in Queenscliff next month on understanding change in the world’s wetlands, under the Ramsar Convention.