28 Jan 2016

Changed planet, the dawning of the Anthropocene

From Nine To Noon, 9:35 am on 28 January 2016

Indicators of the Anthropocene in recent lake sediments differ markedly from Holocene signatures. Photo: Credit: J. P. Briner

Humans are altering the planet at an increasing rate. Leading geologist and Antarctic researcher, Dr Colin Summerhayes says there is strong evidence that the massive human impact on Earth constitutes its own distinct geological epoch, known as the Anthropocene.

He has just co-authored a ground breaking study which demonstrates how accelerating technology, and growth in population and consumption builds a strong case for the new geological time stamp to be formally declared. The research was published in the international journal Science

He speaks to Kathryn Ryan

Dr Summerhayes is an Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University. He graduated with a Master of Science from Victoria University of Wellington in 1967, before completing his doctorate at the Imperial College in London.