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Skidmore College

Buffalo geologist to give Strock Lecture

February 15, 2013

Melting of the ice sheet has important consequences for global climate change and the rise in sea level. Jason P. Briner, the 2013 Lester W. Strock Lecturer, will share field research on the Greenland Ice Sheet in his Feb. 22 talk.

Professor Jason P. Briner, University at Buffalo
Professor Jason P. Briner

The sensitivity of ice sheets to climate change and the mechanisms that cause the fastest rate of change are topics of scientific debate, according to Geologist Jason Briner. He will discuss the debate and his research on the topic when he delivers this year’s Lester W. Strock Lecture in Geosciences. Titled “The response of ice sheets to abrupt climate change” the talk gets under way at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

Says Briner, “Uncertainty in our collective understanding of ice sheet response to climate change stems partly from the short duration (the past few decades) over which we have been making detailed observations at our planet's poles.” His Skidmore talk will include his recent Greenland research, and how he has pieced together a discovery about the Greenland Ice Sheet's lock-step response to climate changes in the geologic past. That the Greenland Ice Sheet has the ability to respond to very brief (few decades) perturbations to the climate system suggests that we can expect pronounced response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to ongoing Arctic warming, says Briner.

An associate professor of geology at the University at Buffalo, Briner heads the school’s Paleoclimate Lab, where he and his students work on a variety of topics focusing on global climate change.

The National Science Foundation has supported Briner’s research, which has included site work on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, where Briner and students have sampled and analyzed Arctic lake sediments to reconstruct past climates. His team has studied fjords to see how fast glaciers retreat, gathered data to reconstruct temperature changes over the past 2,000 years, and examined other phenomena to help them better predict how climate change will affect the planet.

Briner holds degrees from the University of Washington at Seattle, Utah State University at Logan, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Skidmore's annual Lester W. Strock Lecture in Geosciences was endowed by the late Dr. Lester W. Strock, a Pennsylvania-born geochemist and the world's foremost authority on Saratoga's mineral springs. Strock, who died in 1982, spent much of his distinguished career in research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with the Sylvania Electric Co.

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