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Expert on Physics of Oceans Delivers EPA Public Talk this Wednesday

18th April 2023
Professor Stefan Rahmstorf
The lecture in Dublin’s Mansion House is due to be delivered by Prof Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam

Ocean circulation, tipping points and the climate breakdown debate are themes of a public lecture by an international expert hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this Wednesday.

The lecture in Dublin’s Mansion House is due to be delivered by Prof Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam.

Prof Rahmstorf is internationally renowned for his work linking climate change to a significant slowdown in the Gulf Stream system.

He recently co-authored an important paper highlighting evidence of how fossil fuel companies had denied and questioned climate science in public, while privately acknowledging the seriousness of the issue.

The EPA says he will discuss how continued melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the coming decades could contribute to further weakening of the Gulf Stream.

This will have important consequences for the ocean ecosystem, the weather in the North Atlantic region, regional sea levels and the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

He will explore how close we already are to the Gulf Stream tipping point; and he will comment on his recent examination of fossil fuel companies’ awareness of the seriousness of climate change over 40 years ago, and the difference between their public statements and internal knowledge.

The lecture, hosted by the EPA with Dublin City Council, will also be streamed online and forms part of the National Dialogue on Climate Action.

“Understanding the evolution of climate change and the ocean is essential if we are to understand our future,”EPA director-general Laura Burke said.

“ This knowledge can help inform policy to manage our responses and adapt to the future climate conditions.”

The free event in the Mansion House Round Room at 7 pm on Wednesday, April 19th, requires registration through the following link.

The event will also be recorded and uploaded to the EPA YouTube channel.

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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