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Inaugural Lecture: Biospheric feedbacks and the ‘Arctic Amplification’ of climate change

Part of the Research Week 2018 series

30 Apr 2018, 6.30PM–7.30PM
This is a public event as part of the University of Stirling's Research Week 2018
Professor Philip Wookey

As a region, the Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the planet; it is both a sentinel of global change and a key component of the climate system.

In this talk, Phil will highlight the subtle yet potentially powerful linkages between the biosphere, the cryosphere and the atmosphere in the Arctic, and how these matter to us all. Presenting some of his own research in northern Fennoscandia, and in the Northwest Territories of Canada, Phil aims to illustrate several key feedbacks between the biosphere and the atmosphere, and the biological processes underpinning them.

We can no longer view the Arctic as a pristine wilderness way over the northern horizon; it’s an integral part of the ‘life support system’ upon which we all depend - Planet Earth.

Phil Wookey joined the University of Stirling in July 2017, as Professor in Ecosystem Ecology, from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Phil is an ecosystem ecologist/biogeochemist, whose principal research focus is on high latitude ecosystems and environmental change. He has worked in the Arctic/sub-Arctic since 1993 and was previously based at Uppsala University, in Sweden, for over seven years. He is passionate about ‘The North’, and attributes his love of cold, snowy and windswept places to his maternal heritage (from Sutherland, in the north of Scotland), going on expedition to North Iceland as an undergrad, reading Jack London novels, and possibly also to the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song!

At his core, Phil is a process ecologist/biogeochemist but is particularly keen to see process studies placed into Earth System context. Research highlights have been the publication of three International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) meta-analysis papers (in Ecological Monographs, PNAS and Ecology Letters), each of which has had a major impact on the scientific community. Phil and colleagues’ more recent work on soil processes and global change has been published in Nature and Nature Climate Change. This research hints at some looming and unwelcome ‘surprises’ in the global greenhouse and challenges the validity of some of the basic logic underpinning key models of the global carbon cycle and climate system.

Phil is currently Chair of the Terrestrial Working Group (TWG) of IASC (the International Arctic Science Committee) having previously chaired the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX).

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