Expansion of the Tropics – Climate Windows for Polynesian Colonisation of the Pacific & the evolution of the East Australian coastline

Guests at this lecture arrived in a Sydney downpour, but emerged with minds filled with thoughts of Polynesia and beyond.  The lecture was a great success. 

A signature of modern climate change is the poleward expansion of the tropics, but has it happened in the recent millennia. A/Prof Ian Goodwin  described how his group at Macquarie University have reconstructed the Pacific climate, decade by decade for the past millennium. He explained how climate change opened windows of opportunity for Polynesian seafarers to use changing windfields to voyage and colonise the Pacific, in particular, Easter Island and New Zealand, during the Medieval Period. At the same time these ocean winds and waves were shaping our modern East Australian coast, and Ian provided an insight into waves and coastal evolution.

Ian is Associate Professor in Climate and Coastal Risk at Macquarie University, and a researcher at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. Ian leads the Marine Climate Risk Group at Climate Futures@MQ. Ian has 30 years research experience in the fields of climatology, paleoclimatology and climate change science, coastal and marine geoscience, coastal oceanography, and polar glaciology.

image for goodwin lecture