THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY - HONG KONG
"How our Great Oceans breathe"
Dr. David Hydes
Thursday, 23 October 2008
The Hong Kong Football Club, Causeway Bay
6.30 pm Drinks Reception; 7.30 pm Lecture
We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong Dr. David Hydes of the UK's National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) to speak on "How our Great Oceans breathe". NOCS is a global centre for ocean research with some 500 academics, with research from fauna to flora to chemistry, but which is taking an increasingly active interest in global warming. This includes the recent exciting theory that humans did not exit Africa by the Nile Valley, as always assumed.
Dr. Hydes takes as his starting point the fact that global warming is a problem and then moves on to the role of the Great Oceans in the breathing cycle of the Earth. The Oceans are in fact more important that all our forests combined. Though the research is extremely detailed, Dr. Hydes explains in understandable terms the different mechanisms by which the oceans slow down global warming together with the ways the oceans are observed to quantify how much CO2 is taken in.
Dr. Hydes sees the Great Oceans behaving like a living organism with processes that move waters to the lungs, which is the sea's surface with the atmosphere. This includes the physical processes that form the circulation pattern, the time scales of circulation (up to thousands of years), the biogeochemical processes that control the natural production of oxygen, key points in the history on the developments of these ideas and the sea going activities that have confirmed or contradicted them.
One aspect studied is weighing the oceans, measuring the level of oxygen taken in, e.g. a litre of seawater now weighs easily more than it did in 1760. At the surface Dr. Hydes looks at what acidification might do to different eco-systems and which ones are likely to be most vulnerable. There is also a flow of surface waters to the depths, which is assisting the Earth with global warming, but Dr. Hydes questions for how much longer might the Earth benefit from it.
In this lecture, though on an essential topic, Dr. Hydes also tells good action stories of research globally from his active research schedule, and is also illustrated by fine slides.
Dr. Hydes is a marine chemist who is presently principally working with shipping companies to increase data supply for improving understanding of global and regional variations in the flow of CO2 between the Earth's atmosphere and its oceans. He started his career at the University of East Anglia where he developed the first successful method for determining concentrations of metals dissolved in sea water. He then researched at the University Goettingen, Germany, before moving to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA. He moved back to UK to join the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences leading work in the North Sea Research Programme on eutrophication. Dr. Hydes is a leading member of the European FerryBox group that has taken a world lead in demonstrating how scientists can partner with shipping companies for scientific work. FerryBoxes are now a corner stone of the European contribution to the Global Ocean Observing System. Dr. Hydes lectures frequently to audiences globally, including recently in the UK, Norway, China, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands and France.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for Members' guests and others.