At the Antarctic, conditions are harsher than possibly anywhere else on Earth. Average temperatures range from -10 to -60 degrees Celsius. And yet, once upon a time, this is what all of Earth used to look like. Dr Alexandra Rodler takes us back in time to explore the Snowball Earth, while researchers Dr Sainan Sun and Dr Mana Inoue explain what it's really like to live and work in Antarctica, and why Antarctic research is important.
Climate, Ice, Antarctica
Over the course of five weeks, Dr Sainan Sun and Dr Mana Inoue slept in small tents in the freezing Antarctic. They had travelled there in order to take ice core samples and other measurements for computer modelling. Their research strives to examine past climates, as a way to predict future climates. They'll explain to the audience the importance of this kind of research and talk about what life is like in Antarctica.
Dr Sainan Sun and Dr Mana Inoue are Antarctic researchers based at ULB.
Imagine Planet Earth covered by ice.
Snowball Earth describes times in our planet’s past, when glaciers covered the land and perhaps the entire ocean surface. Clues of glaciation occur worldwide, even in regions that were located at the equator during these times. This ice cover cut off the oceans from the atmosphere, causing oxygen levels in the sea to drop. Early life may have survived Snowball Earth in refuges – only to rapidly expand into new environments and evolve new species once the ice vanished. Dr Alexandra Rodler will tell us more about Planet Earth during its icy past.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel