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The Earth: an Icy Planet

Prof. Hans Oerlemans

Accumulating geological evidence suggests that our planet went through a series of snowball-earth events, with snow and ice covering the entire globe. In other episodes temperature was so high that glaciers of any significance did not exist.

During the past few million years the Antarctic ice sheet has been in a quasi-steady state, but pulsating ice sheets were found on the Northern Hemisphere continents. Large fluctuations in ice cover have thus characterized the evolution of the Earth's climate. In this lecture we will discuss the mechanisms behind these fluctuations. With some basic understanding we can perhaps make a speculative statement about the future of our planet…

Dr. Johannes Oerlemans is Professor of Meteorology in the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of the Utrecht University. He worked for the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research of the Utrecht University, the Department of Physics of the University of Leuven and the Alfred-Wegener Institut für Polarforschung in Bremershaven. In 2001, he was honoured with the Spinoza-award of NWO and last year, he has been appointed Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Johann Bernoulli Lecture is organised by the Johann Bernoulli Stichting voor de Wiskunde in cooperation with Studium Generale Groningen.

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