Friday, March 3, 2017

PhD Students Attend Sri Lankan Climate Change Conference

PhD researchers at ICAURS Padraig Flattery and Darren Clarke recently attended a climate change conference in Sri Lanka - the 'International Conference on Climate Change 2017: Climate Change, Facing the challenge beyond COP21'. The event was held over two days in Sri Lanka's capital city, Colombo. The conference was facilitated by the International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM), and was attended by students and academics from all over the world.

The conference was chaired by Dr. Erandathie Lokupitiya, who works in the department of Zoology and Environment sciences at the University of Colombo. She opened the conference in the early morning along with representatives from TIIKM.
Dr Erandathie Lokupitiya
The first keynote speech was by Professor Scott Denning of Colorado State University, who gave a fascinating talk on the sources of uncertainty in climate change projections into the future. This was followed by the first technical session of the conference - 'Measurements and modeling in relation to greenhouse gas exchange and future climate prediction'. First up to present was Padraig Flattery who introduced the international audience to soil carbon modelling in Ireland. Other topics in this session included future climate projections and statistical downscaling approaches in Sri Lanka, global carbon flux estimation and mathematical approaches to future climate projection.
Padraig Flattery presenting at the conference
After a fantastic Sri Lankan lunch the afternoon saw a session on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security with topics including Paddy field salinity, climate smart/resilient agriculture, extreme weather and conservation tillage. After this the first day closed with a workshop conducted by Prof. Denning on the role of industry in climate change mitigation - which sparked some interesting conversation and debate.
Selection of the local food 
Day two began early with a session on climate change impacts on forests, biodiversity conservation and natural resource management, followed by a keynote forum by Dr. Elanor Milne from the University of Leicester who discussed land management and climate change co-benefits, accounting tools and the carbon benefits project. The next technical session discussed the impacts of climate change on water, sanitation and livelihoods in the developing world and preparedness, with talks on sea level change, drought, water resources and emergency food reserves.
Traditional dancers and musicians entertain the audience

After another fantastic lunch and interesting poster session, the final technical session on climate change adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development began. Here we heard talks on energy use from tea and rubber manufacturing, livestock production, shrimp farming and gender and climate change. Darren Clarke held the room's attention with his presentation on barriers to transformative adaptation: responses to flood risk in Ireland.

Darren Clarke engaging the crowd

The conference concluded with an award ceremony where each person who presented got a certificate. Prizes were also given for the best presenter in each session, the overall best presentation and a number of plaques were awarded to the keynote speakers and conference chair. Padraig was awarded the 'Session's Best Presentation' certificate and medal for his talk on the first day.

Receiving the medal

Medal winners
Overall it was an excellent conference and a great chance to meet researchers from all over the world. We look forward to getting the opportunity to present our research at international conferences in the future.

By Darren Clarke & Padraig Flattery

The authors would like to express huge thanks to the conference organisers, chair, keynote speakers and people of Sri Lanka for making it such a wonderful trip. Credit for the photos used in this blog goes to TIIKM, taken from their Facebook page

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