The Parkland College Blog

Planetarium Lecture to Examine Climate History in Lake Sediment

Planetarium Lecture to Examine Climate History in Lake Sediment

Staerkel Planetarium to host paleoclimatology Kaler Lecture

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a presentation on paleoclimatology for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 5.

Dr. Jessica Conroy, associate professor in the Departments of Geology and Plant Biology at UIUC, will give a talk titled, "Climate, Water, Life, and Rock: Past Climate Information in Tropical Pacific Lake Sediments". The public lecture is free to attend on Zoom.

The coral atoll of Kiritimati (pronounced "Christmas") in the central tropical Pacific Ocean contains hundreds of brackish to hypersaline lakes that are a window into past climate variability in the region. These lakes and their sediments are also valuable archives that can be used to explore fundamental questions about how information about past environments is archived in lake sediments.

Dr. Conroy's group research in this region includes how remotely-sensed lake surface area responds to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Using sedimentology, stable isotope geochemistry, and organic biomarkers, the group can get a record of climate change on Kiritimati over the last millennium.

Having earned her B.A. in Geology from the College of Wooster, Dr. Conroy received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2013, she was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

The Staerkel Planetarium is presenting programs virtually to the public on Friday nights, and offers shows for schools and private groups. Public shows are rebroadcast on the planetarium's YouTube page. The Planetarium staff will present a special edition of Winter Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of Dr. Conroy's Kaler Lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, and special editions feature a topic of interest based on audience suggestions or astronomical events. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu.

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