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Department of Geography


Research seminars

Research seminars

Jump to: Main Departmental seminars | Cultural and Historical Geography | Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure | Conservation | Environmental Systems and Processes | Political ecology | Polar physical science | Circumpolar History and Public Policy (CHiPP) | Gender | Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) | Reading groups

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Main Departmental seminar series

Main Departmental seminar series at the Department of Geography.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 3rd December 2015, 4.15pm - Dr Kevin Horsburgh, National Oceanography Centre
Challenges for an improved understanding of sea level extremes and coastal flood mitigation
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Coastal flooding represent one of the major challenges of climate change for humanity, due to mean sea level rise over the coming centuries as well as the potential for changes in storm surge and wave climate. It is estimated that in 2005 in the largest 130 coastal cities there were 40 million people and $3000 billion of assets exposed to the 1 in 100 year flood event. These figures are predicted to rise to 150 million people and $35000 billion of assets by the year 2070. The most high impact examples of coastal flooding occur due to large storm events, often coinciding with extremely high tides. Any change in the statistics of flood frequency or severity will impact severely on economic and social systems. It is therefore crucial to understand the physical drivers of extreme storm surges, and to have confidence in datasets used for extreme sea level statistics.

This demands a consistent methodology to obtain a global climatology of storm surges combined with advanced statistical methods for estimating extreme sea levels. This presentation will outline a global project directed by the IOC-WMO Joint Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) expert team on waves and coastal hazards. I will present analysis of tide gauge data from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Atlantic seaboard of the USA to provide baseline statistics for Atlantic storm surges. These methods can be extended to other regions including those affected by tropical cyclones. Much previous research has focussed on the process of tide-surge interaction, and it is now widely accepted that the physical basis of tide-surge interaction is that a phase shift of the tidal signal represents the effect of the surge on the tide. This presentation will show conclusively and for the first time that in extra-tropical regions the storm surge (when measured correctly) is independent from the tide. This implies that any storm surge can occur with any tide, although the probability may be very small.

Finally I will present plans to use a global tide-surge numerical model to provide a coherent global picture of storm surge climate. This could provide the basis of globally consistent vulnerability assessments that help disaster and risk reduction (DRR) agencies, and will also help planners and policy makers devise ways to mitigate coastal flood risk in the face of rising sea levels.

# Thursday 21st January 2016, 4.15pm - Professor Georgina Endfield, University of Nottingham
"Wondrous signs of wondrous times": cultural histories of extreme weather events in the UK
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

There is growing concern over the impacts of inter-annual climate variability and anomalous and ‘extreme’ weather events such as droughts, floods, storm events and unusually high or low temperatures. While social and economic systems have generally evolved to accommodate some deviations from “normal” weather conditions, this is rarely true of extremes. Attempts to better understand the nature of future events and specifically the socio-economic impacts of and responses to these traumatic events, must consider the characteristics and repercussions of similar events in recent centuries for which most data are available (Alexander et al., 2009). Drawing on work conducted as part of an ongoing AHRC project focusing on archival investigations of past weather extremes, I wish to explore through selected UK based case studies how different types of events, including floods, extreme heat and cold, extreme cold and storms, over recent centuries affected the lives of local people and became inscribed into the cultural fabric and social memory in the form of oral history, ideology, custom, behaviour, narrative, artefact, technological and physical adaptation, including adaptations to the working landscape and built environment. These different forms of remembering and recording represent central media through which information on past events was curated, recycled and transmitted across generations.

# Thursday 11th February 2016, 4.15pm - Professor Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick
Cities and the Anthropocene
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Abstract not available

Seminars in Cultural and Historical Geography

All seminars begin at 1pm and take place in the Hardy Building, Room 101 (unless otherwise stated), Department of Geography. All welcome!

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 26th November 2015, 1.00pm - Jake Hodder, University of Nottingham
Untangling Black Internationalisms: Bayard Rustin, Nonviolence and the Promise of Africa, c. 1953
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

“Bayard Rustin is best remembered for his work with Martin Luther King Jr. and, in particular, for his organisation of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the crowning achievement of his prolific career. This paper reconstructs some of Rustin’s formative years in the early 1950s when he was a leading pacifist charged with developing Gandhian nonviolence in American race relations. The paper considers Rustin’s American race work in the light of his interests in African decolonisation, centred on his unpublished 1953 “Africa Program”. By considering a previously ignored African American commentary, the paper questions the tendency to fold Black travels abroad into one another as part of a singular, coherent Black internationalist project, and how specific forms of black internationalism centred on nonviolence simultaneously utilised, redefined and undermined the rise of American post-war power.”

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series

Research seminar series run by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.
The support of the Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History) is gratefully acknowledged.

Sandwiches and fruit will be available from 12.45pm.

Convenors: Leigh Shaw-Taylor (, Romola Davenport ( and Alice Reid (

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.

Cambridge Conservation Seminars

The series is intended to provide a research and social focus for university lecturers, research staff and postgraduate students interested in conservation research. The primary aim is to inform university colleagues of what research is going on in different departments and to bring in high quality outside speakers. Equally, members of conservation organisations are welcome to attend. A key element is the opportunity after each talk to socialise with colleagues from different departments and organisations.

Generously funded by the CCI Strategic Initiative Fund

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 5.00pm - Richard Primack, Biology Department, Boston University
Conservation impacts of a warming climate: changes in Massachusetts since the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)
Venue: Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Abstract not available

Environmental Systems and Processes - Department of Geography

Seminars within the Environmental Systems and Processes research group of the Department of Geography.

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.

Polar Physical Sciences

Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)