Top climate researchers to meet in Buffalo to discuss glaciers, ice sheets

Icebergs in Greenland, perceived as white and blue in a beautiful light.

Icebergs in Jakobshavn Isfjord, Western Greenland. Credit: Beata Csatho

International Glaciological Society symposium — with several events open to the public — highlights UB’s growing visibility in climate change research

Release Date: May 30, 2018

A scientist kneeling on a snow-covered plain in front of a small plane.

Beata Csatho, lead symposium organizer and chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Geology, makes gravity measurements on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Credit: Robert Thomas

“In the past few years, UB’s visibility has grown a lot in the field of climate science. Our researchers are very active in this field.”
Beata Csatho, chair of geology
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An international conference on glaciers and ice sheets will bring about 80 climate researchers from around the world to Buffalo this June.

The event — the International Glaciological Society (IGS) Symposium on Timescales, Processes and Glacier Dynamics — will feature presentations by some of the leading climate researchers of our time. The aim is to advance scientific knowledge of how ice sheets and glaciers respond to climate change, which could lead to improved predictions of how quickly sea levels will rise over the next century and beyond.

The conference, taking place from June 3-8, illustrates UB’s growing prominence in climate change research.

“In the past few years, UB’s visibility has grown a lot in the field of climate science. Our researchers are very active in this field. There are only a handful of institutions that host these international symposiums, and we are proud to be among them,” says Beata Csatho, PhD, chair of UB’s Department of Geology and one of the meeting’s lead organizers.

A number of conference events are free and open to the UB community and the public. All will take place in the Marquis ballroom of the Hotel at the Lafayette at 391 Washington St., Buffalo:

  • On Monday, June 4 at 2:45 p.m., President-Elect of the American Geophysical Union Robin Bell will give a sustainability lecture sponsored by the UB College of Arts and Sciences. The title of her talk is, “Building an Ethical Sustainable Future: From the Poles to Our Homes.” Her lecture will delve into both climate change and the #MeToo movement's influence on science as an occupation. To RSVP, contact bac6@buffalo.edu by June 3 with your name, institutional affiliation and information on whether you are a student.

  • On Monday, June 4 at 4 p.m., Shane Hanlon, producer for the science-focused podcast, “The Story Collider,” will lead a science communication workshop sponsored by the UB College of Arts and Sciences. The event discusses compelling ways to share science, including through social media. “The Story Collider,” which is nationally known, is dedicated to true, personal stories about science. To RSVP, contact bac6@buffalo.edu by June 3 with your name, institutional affiliation and information on whether you are a student.

  • On Monday, June 4 at 5 p.m., a networking event and reception will be held for attendees of the IGS symposium, sustainability lecture and science communication workshop, including the opportunity to talk to the speakers. To RSVP, contact bac6@buffalo.edu by June 3 with your name, institutional affiliation and information on whether you are a student.

  • On Thursday, June 7 at 3 p.m., polar explorer Sebastian Copeland will chronicle some of his seminal expeditions, with stories ranging from encounters with polar bears to traveling with severe frostbite and broken bones. He will also discuss the perils of climate change.

    The lecture will be followed at 4 p.m. by a conversation between Copeland and Richard Alley, PhD, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University and one of the world’s top climate scientists. Alley has authored more than 300 scientific publications about the relationships between Earth's cryosphere and global climate change. He hosted a PBS special on climate change and has testified on the issue to the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions.

    Copeland’s visit is part of the RENEW Distinguished Lecture Series. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m. on June 7, and attendees are asked to RSVP in advance.

UB’s growing visibility in climate science

An aerial view of an ice sheet, showing large cracks called crevasses.

Crevasses on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Credit: Jason Briner

In recent years, the UB Department of Geology, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been actively expanding its focus on climate change research.

The department now has four tenure-track faculty members who study ice sheets and glaciers — a relatively large research group for glaciology. These UB scientists do field studies in the Arctic, use satellites to monitor ice sheets, and employ numerical modeling to understand ice sheets and glaciers.

The RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water) Institute is highly engaged in environmental, renewable energy and climate change research. RENEW promotes interdisciplinary research activities to position UB as a global leader in select areas of energy, environment and water. The institute engages over 100 faculty across seven schools and colleges at UB.

During the IGS symposium, scientists from around the world will share the latest research on glaciers and ice sheets. They’ll also have the chance to explore some Western New York wonders, with the conference being held in the architecturally significant Hotel at the Lafayette, and a trip to Niagara Falls planned for Wednesday, June 6.

A full program is available here: https://www.igsoc.org/symposia/2018/buffalo/proceedings/.

The International Glaciological Society Symposium on Timescales, Processes and Glacier Dynamics is sponsored by the UB Department of Geology, Center for Geohazards Studies at UB, UB College of Arts and Sciences, UB RENEW Institute, the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, the National Science Foundation and NASA.

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