U3A Cromwell – Climate Change

Climate Change – an update of the science and possible impacts

Date:       Wednesday 21 March 2018

Time:      10.00am – 12.00pm

Cost:       $5

Venue:   Cromwell Town and Country Club
Melmore Terrace

This talk will examine the underlying science that has led to a widespread international consensus that something must be done to prevent “dangerous” climate change. The Paris climate accord is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The Agreement aims to respond to the global climate change threat by keeping a global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Key questions to be considered are: How does the climate system work? Why are greenhouse gases so critical? How is the climate changing? What will happen in the future if human-induced warming continues? What will be the impacts of these changes? How, where and when will we become vulnerable? What can we do to deal with this problem?

Blair will attempt to answer these questions by drawing on his long experience working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He will also comment on the outlook for Australia and New Zealand, including Central Otago. Most systems and areas already have a coping range to existing climate variability. But as climate
continues to change, this range may be exceeded. Without further adaptation they will become vulnerable.
Vulnerability is likely to be high in sectors such as natural ecosystems (low adaptive capacity and subject to habitat loss), coastal communities (affected by sea-level rise,
larger storm surges, and other stresses such as ongoing population growth and coastal development), and water resources (drier conditions, ongoing development of
substantial infrastructure, economic growth, and more intensive agriculture all creating increased water shortages).

Blair Fitzharris is Emeritus Professor at the University of Otago. He has undertaken research on climate change in NZ, Canada, Norway, UK, Switzerland and Australia and has written over 150 research publications on the subjects of climate, snow and glaciers. He is also a consultant, with 35 years of experience on climate matters related to resource development, mining, farming and horticulture, energy (including hydro and wind power), and topoclimate mapping to better define the climate resource. He has a lifetime of experience with Central Otago.

Professor Fitzharris has been a Convening Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for four major Assessment Reports from 1993 to 2007. He was also a Review Editor for the IPCC’s most recent Report (Fifth Assessment Report) published in 2014. Blair is a past member of Antarctica New Zealand’s Research Committee and of the Royal Society of NZ Standing Committee on Climate Change. He is a former President of the Meteorological Society of NZ and former Chair of the NZ Mountain Safety Council.

To book: phone 0800 267-327 or (03)448-6115 or admin@coreap.org.nz









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U3A Alexandra – Specialists from the Otago Museum – Tuhura

Venue:       CENTRAL OTAGO REAP, 14-20 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra

Cost:           $5 per session

Dates:        Friday 16, 23 February & 2, 9 March 2018

Time:         10.00am – 12.00pm


Session 1 – Friday 16 February

Speaker: Ian Griffin

Observing the Universe with the Hubble Telescope: 28 years of discovery

Director of the Otago Museum in Dunedin, Ian has a PhD in Astronomy and from 2000 – 2004 served as Head of the Office of Public Outreach for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Programme.

Ian will  describe how the Hubble telescope works, and share some of the amazing discoveries it has made during its 28 years of operation. From craters on the moon to the deepest images of the cosmos ever obtained, the Hubble telescope has made key contributions to our understanding of the Universe.


Session 2 – Friday 23 February

Speakers: Samantha Botting & Eden Gray

Developing Tuhura, New Zealand’s newest Science Centre/Living Environments Within Museum

Sam will be speaking about science communication in Tūhura, Otago Museum’s brand new Science Centre opened on the 15th December 2017. This Science Centre is the end of a $2.5 million and four year project and is home to over 45 new hands-on science interactives each with the mandate of inspiring the next generation of scientists. Tühura goes a step further than any other Centre like it in Australasia by intertwining the Kai Tahu creation story and Mātauranga Māori with current scientific knowledge. Sam will cover the development of and the research into the centre as well as the science communication tactics that Tūhura deploys to engage and inspire our visitors.

Eden will be speaking about the role of living environments within a museum setting, focused specifically on one of the attractions of our new science centre; the Tropical Forest. Filled with hundreds of butterflies and other animals, this space allows visitors to have hands on interactions with species they may never get to encounter in the wild. But facilities such as the Tropical Forest have the responsibility to ensure that education,  and not just entertainment, take place within. We are also home to a native jeweled gecko, Manawa, who was smuggled from the Otago Peninsula, and repatriated back to New Zealand several years later.


Session 3 – Friday 2 March

Speaker: Moira White

SY Aurora and the Otago Museum

Moira is curator of Humanities at the Otago Museum. She has published on a wide range of topics relating to the Museum , its collections, the people who contributed to them, and the role of the museum in the ways the people of Dunedin and Otago have sought to understand the world around them. She is passionate about exploring ways in which collecting and display can promote appreciation and understanding.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition famously did not succeed in traversing the Antarctic Continent. Shackleton’s spectacular survival story is well known. That of the men on the other Expedition ship is less familiar. The Aurora broke from her moorings in the McMurdo Sound and drifted trapped in pack ice for months before her crew were able to make their way to Port Chalmers. While the work of repair and preparation for the rescue of the men remaining on the ice was underway, the crew of the Aurora had a lot of contact with Otago Museum and this is represented in our collections.


Session 4 – Friday 9 March

Speaker: Emma Burns

What’s in a name? A dangerous, sordid and sexy natural history of how living things get named

Emma’s varied role is a reflection on the varied nature of the Otago Museum collection. Some days she working on sampling penguin feathers, other days Emma is  organising the cataloging of New Zealand moths. Carrying out secondary research that adds information to the collection keeps her busy, while hosting visiting researchers carrying out primary cutting edge research. Emma is a strong advocate for telling the collections stories and for building a research collection that facilitates and supports new discoveries.

Over 300 years ago the world’s longest running science project began. Since its inception, scientists, naturalists and amateurs from the around the world have worked together to purse the goal of naming and describing all life on earth. It would allow us to answer one of humanities most important and frequently asked questions – What is this?

We’ll take a journey into the often bizarre etymology around naming living things and ponder how far away we are from describing all life on Earth?


To Register: phone 0800 267-327, (03)448-6115 or email admin@coreap.org.nz



































































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