Coun­try­file’s Tom Heaps to speak at Oban con­fer­ence

The Oban Times - - OUTDOORS -

THE UK’S lead­ing Arc­tic sci­en­tists are due to gather in Oban this month to raise aware­ness of the in­creas­ing changes the po­lar re­gion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, writes Kay­ley Cor­nelius.

SAMS (The Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Marine Sci­ence) based at Dun­staffnage, just out­side Oban, will host the bi­en­nial UK Arc­tic Sci­ence Con­fer­ence on Septem­ber 19-21.

Over the past few decades, the Arc­tic re­gion has been hit hard by cli­mate change. Ice is in­creas­ingly melt­ing due to the rapid rise in global warm­ing.

From 1979-2000, the daily av­er­age global tem­per­a­ture raised by 0.55 de­grees Cel­sius, how­ever, the Arc­tic tem­per­a­ture raised by 6.42 de­grees Cel­sius in the same time frame.

The av­er­age Arc­tic sea ice cover for Novem­ber 2016 set a record low, lead­ing to sug­ges­tions that sea ice cover could be at a tip­ping point, from which the re­gion may not re­cover.

Tom Heap, best known as a pre­sen­ter on the BBC’s Coun­try­file, will be giv­ing a pub­lic lec­ture on the topic.

The free-to-at­tend, event will take place in the Cor­ran Halls from 7.30pm on Tues­day Septem­ber 19. Speak­ing about the con­fer­ence, Mr Heap said: ‘From ex­plor­ers and whalers to eco-cam­paign­ers and me­te­o­rol­o­gists, the frozen north has fas­ci­nated our minds and af­fected our lives for cen­turies.

‘To­day, the re­treat­ing ice is un­lock­ing fresh nar­ra­tives of the North as we con­tem­plate a new Arc­tic ge­og­ra­phy.

‘The con­fer­ence will be a great chance to catch up with top po­lar sci­en­tists and orig­i­nal thinkers on mat­ters con­cern­ing the top of the world. It should be lively and a great re­source for me as a jour­nal­ist.’

Arc­tic sci­en­tist Dr Finlo Cot­tier from SAMS chairs the con­fer­ence’s lo­cal or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, he said: ‘Oban is known to many as the Gate­way to the Isles but for UK sci­ence it is re­ally the Gate­way to the Arc­tic and we are de­lighted to wel­come the Arc­tic sci­ence com­mu­nity to Oban.

‘The en­vi­ron­men­tal changes in that re­gion are giv­ing us a win­dow into the pace and ef­fects of cli­mate change and SAMS is in­volved in many na­tional and in­ter­na­tional arc­tic projects to help na­tions across the north­ern hemi­sphere pre­pare for the fu­ture.’

Coun­try­file pre­sen­ter Tom Heaps will speak in Oban.

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