Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG

Hoboken Lecture 2017 - From Greenhouse to Icehouse: history and future of Antarctica’s climate

On Wednesday 8 November 2017, the British Council, in partnership with Natural History Museum RotterdamThe Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and Codarts, presented the seventh Hoboken Lecture by renowned British palaeoclimatologist Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG: 'From Greenhouse to Icehouse: history and future of Antarctica’s climate'. Photos of the lecture can be found on the Hoboken lecture website

About the Lecture

Although the polar regions are now covered in ice and snow, fossil plants preserved in rocks in Antarctica show that the continent was once covered in lush green forests that flourished in warm humid climates, even though the continent was situated over the South Pole.

Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG studies fossil plants from the Arctic and Antarctica, fossils that contain a rich store of information about past polar environments. She will illustrate her Hoboken Lecture with pictures of Antarctic fossil plants and reconstructions of the forests and landscapes in Antarctica. The fossils show how the climate cooled from tropical warmth about 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs lived in Antarctica, to cold climates with ice sheets 30 million years ago. The last small trees survived on the continent until about 10 million years ago when Icehouse conditions set in and glaciers covered both poles. Now scientists see evidence of warming climates and melting ice sheets in Antarctica. The fossil plants may thus provide us with a window into life at high latitudes in our future warm world.  

About Professor Dame Jane Francis DCMG

Professor Dame Jane Francis is Director of the British Antarctic Survey, based in Cambridge. A geologist by training from the University of Southampton, she was a NERC Postdoctoral Fellow in London, palaeobotanist at the British Antarctic Survey, Australian Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow, and Professor of Palaeoclimatology at the University of Leeds, where she was also Dean of the Faculty of Environment. Her research interests include ancient climates and fossil plants from polar regions. She was awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to British polar research and was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to UK polar science and diplomacy.

More information 

For more information go to the Hoboken Lecture website