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We are moving!

13 Jul

As you can see from our updated header, from Monday 16 July 2012 onwards, we will be moving GeoLog to a new, simpler address: The content and layout of the blog on our new page are exactly the same as on this one – only the address is changing.

If you subscribed to this blog via email, you will be automatically subscribed to the posts in the new address. If you subscribed to this blog via WordPress, please follow our new blog by clicking on the “Follow” button on the bottom right corner of the new website.

Geolog has a new URL, update your bookmarks!

Join the EGU Blog Network!

9 Mar

To complement our official blog, we are launching a blog network related to the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. If you are a scientist who likes blogging about your research, or about geosciences in general, we would like to hear from you.

Join our network of bloggers and feature on the EGU's official website!

In a few months, the EGU blog will migrate from WordPress to the EGU website, and we would like to have other bloggers joining us within an EGU Blog Network. The aim of this project is to foster a diverse community of geoscientist bloggers and to offer them a place to interact with each other and with the Union.

The network would work similarly to Nature Network or Scientific American Blog Network, with all blogs having a unified design and general theme – Earth, space and planetary sciences – but with each blogger being responsible for the content of their own blog.

Apart from your site gaining exposure by having its name and a short introduction listed on the EGU website, we will also share highlights of your work on our social media channels, and may ask you to contribute original content on our official blog.

If you’d like your blog to be considered for our network, fill out this form. Please note that only blogs in English will be considered.

Feel free to contact the EGU Media and Communications Officer Bárbara Ferreira if you have any questions.

Happy blogging!

Science bloggers: join the 2012 General Assembly blogroll!

1 Mar

Will you be blogging at the 2012 EGU General Assembly? Sign up here and we’ll add you to our official blogroll.

Like last year, a list (“blogroll”) of General Assembly related blogs will be compiled and made available. The content of each blog on this list is the responsibility of the authors and is not sanctioned by the EGU, but we’d ask you to write posts directly related to the Assembly during the meeting. If you would like your blog to feature on our list, please submit your blog details to us.

There is free (unsecured) wireless internet throughout the General Assembly venue and plug points are available throughout the building. International plug adapters can be borrowed from the Austria Center Information Desk, for a deposit.

Got thoughts and opinions about the 2012 General Assembly? Sign up to the official blogroll!

GeoLog, the official EGU blog, will be updated regularly during the General Assembly. It will include posts about some of the meeting’s sessions, highlight media coverage of the assembly, and feature interviews with relevant scientists. If you would like to contribute to this official blog, please contact with your idea. You may also use this email address for any questions you might have about the blogroll.

Sand Dunes at EGU GA 2012

22 Nov

Several participants in the Geoblogsphere having been posting recently about sand dunes. Its part of Sand Dune Week declared on twitter by Brian Romans. Some of the posts are listed by Matthew Francis or find more by searching on twitter for “sand dune week”.

There are three sessions at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2012 directly related to sand dunes, these are listed below. To submit an abstract visit the meeting website.

GM5.1 Aeolian Processes and Landforms

Convener: J.M. Nield, Co-Convener: J. King
Aeolian geomorphology covers a wide spectrum of research from the small scale study of processes in the field or laboratory to modelling projects predicting long-term dune field evolution. This session aims to bring together a diverse group of researchers that study wind-blown sediment (both sand and dust) and associated bedforms in a range of environments, from coastal and semi-arid regions, to hyper arid deserts. Contributions that use novel instrumentation in field studies, remote sensing at the landscape scale or innovative numerical modelling methods, are encouraged, particularly those which attempt to elucidate feedback between surface properties and sediment transport.

GM10.1/PS2.9 Planetary Geomorphology

Convener: S. Conway, Co-Conveners: M. Balme , C. Gallagher
This session aims to give a different perspective on planetary science by bringing together geomorphologists from terrestrial sciences with those who spend more time on other planets. Studies of landscapes on any scale on any solid body are welcome. We particularly encourage those who use Earth analogues (either in the field or laboratory) to present their work. Submissions can include studies on glacial, periglacial, aeolian, volcanic or fluvial landforms. We welcome submissions from geomorphologists who are new to planetary science.

AS4.13/CL4.7 Aeolian dust, initiator, player, and recorder of environmental change

Convener: P. Knippertz, Co-Convener: J.-B. Stuut

The interactions between aerosols, climate, and weather are among the large uncertainties of current climate and atmospheric research. Mineral dust is an important natural source of aerosol with significant implications on radiation, cloud microphysics, atmospheric chemistry and the carbon cycle via the fertilization of marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
In addition, properties of dust deposited in sediments and ice cores are important (paleo-)climate indicators.

This interdivision session is open to contributions dealing with:
(1) measurements of all aspects of the dust cycle (emission, transport, deposition, size distribution, particle characteristics) with in situ and remote sensing techniques,
(2) numerical simulations of dust on global and regional scales,
(3) meteorological conditions for dust storms, dust transport and deposition,
(4) interactions of dust with clouds and radiation,
(5) influence of dust on atmospheric chemistry,
(6) fertilization of ecosystems through dust deposition,
(7) any study using dust as a (paleo-)climate indicator including investigations of Loess, ice cores, lake sediments, ocean sediments and dunes.

We especially encourage our colleagues to submit papers on the integration of different disciplines and/or modeling of past, present and future climates.

Image by Ioannis Daglis, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Glacial Balance

21 Oct

Some of you may know me already since Jennifer was kind enough to introduce me in a previous blog post. For those of you who don’t, I am EGU’s Media and Communications Officer, who joined the EGU Executive Office in Munich in early September.

One of the perks of this job is receiving e-mails advertising interesting and exciting geosciences-related initiatives. In my first post on the EGU blog, I’d like to tell you about one of these, which popped up in my inbox just a few days ago.

The e-mail was from Ethan Steinman, a filmmaker based in Seattle, US, who wrote to me about his latest project, “Glacial Balance”. This documentary film shows the effects of climate change on Andean glaciers. In Ethan’s words:

“Glacial Balance is a look at the effects of Andean glaciers on the lives of those depending on their existence. Getting to know the individuals and lives of those who will be first affected by the dwindling glacier reserve, the canaries in the mine. For our journey we will be accompanied by an international team of glaciologists and paleoclimatologists who will give us a perspective on what is really happening and what we can expect. Our end goal, to bring home the global warming debate and understand just how this will affect us, the viewer. Regardless of the city, country, racial or ethnic background… we will all be affected, unless action is taken.”

The film features stunning views of the Andean landscape, and takes the viewer in an exciting journey through the Andes, from Argentina to Colombia. It includes interviews with famous personalities and renowned geoscientists, such as Al Gore and Dr. Lonnie Thompson, a member of the team accompanying Ethan to South America.

Ethan’s goal is to have the film completed in early March next year. At the moment, he’s trying to raise money for post-production expenses.

I’d love to see this documentary ready in time for EGU’s General Assembly in April, not only because I think it is a worthwhile and interesting project, but also because Ethan accepted to show it in the 2012 edition of the GeoCinema. There’s a campaign on at IndieGoGo, and I have donated already. Maybe you’d like to help Ethan out too?

By Bárbara Ferreira, EGU’s Media and Communications Officer

Come and meet EGU at AOGS

3 Aug

Are you going to be at the AOGS 2011 8th Annual Meeting and Geosciences World Community Exhibition? If so, come and meet the European Geosciences Union at Booth B4 of the Exhibition Area in Room 101 on Level 1 of the Taipei International Convention Center. The exhibits will be open Monday 8th to Thursday 11th August between 08:30 and 18:00 each day. The Executive Secretary Philippe Courtial and the EGU Science Communications Postdoctoral Fellow Jennifer Holden will be in attendance.

3D reconstructions of ancient arachnids

13 May

One of the finalists in the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011 Photo Competition was an image from Russell Garwood. This image was not a traditional photograph but a 3D reconstruction of a 312 million year old arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii, from a CT scan of the fossil. The image itself will be the feature for the Imaggeo Mondays post on 16th May. However, due to the different nature of the image Russell has put together a brief description of the image and how it was created.

Russell Garwood is a invertebrate palaeontologist who is currently based at the Natural History Museum in London. He has a personal research webpage. He presented work on Tomographic reconstruction in palaeontology at the EGU General Assembly 2011.

Many Carboniferous fossils, such as this specimen of Eophrynus prestvicii, are found as three-dimensional voids within siderite (iron carbonate) concretions. This means that traditional palaeontological techniques – for example, splitting the rock open and inspecting the surface revealed – result in incomplete data recovery. Such limitations can be overcome with the aid of x-ray micro-tomography (XMT), a high-resolution form of CT scanning. This remarkably complete specimen of Eophrynus prestvicii was first described in 1871, and was used three years ago to test the applicability of XMT to siderite-hosted fossils, resulting in this image. The XMT provided a slice-based (tomographic) dataset. Custom software (called SPIERS) was used to threshold and clean each slice, and then define regions of interest. This allowed the limbs to be rendered separately and coloured. The image you see was then created by outputting a finished ‘virtual fossil’ as a mesh, and using the open source ray-tracer Blender to model it under user-defined lighting conditions. The reconstruction reveals an arachnid with heavy armour – presumably a defensive adaptation – and also showed, for the first time, the mouthparts (or chelicerae) of the species. Representatives of the order to which this species belongs, the Trigonotarbida, were amongst the earliest terrestrial predators. While this Carboniferous (~311 million year old) specimen postdates these early examples of the order by many millions of years, it too was a predator, probably running down its prey with its long limbs. The same techniques has now been applied to a wide range of the arthropods living in these Carboniferous coal forests. The image first appeared in the publication Garwood et al. (2009). A more comprehensive introduction to these techniques can be found in the publication Garwood et al. (2010).

Garwood, R.J., Dunlop, J.A. & Sutton, M.D. 2009. High-fidelity X-ray micro-tomography reconstruction of siderite-hosted Carboniferous arachnids. Biology Letters, 5(6):841-844. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0464 link, , requires subscription for full article]
Garwood, R.J., Rahman, I.A. & Sutton, M.D. 2010. From clergymen to computers – the advent of virtual palaeontology. Geology Today, 26(3):96-100.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2451.2010.00753.x link, requires subscription for full article

Geocinema films available online (3/3)

13 May

This is the last in a series of posts (Part 1, Part 2) with descriptions and online locations of Geocinema films. A film’s inclusion in the Geocinema does not mean that EGU endorses any opinions expressed in the film. If you have a film you’d like to submit for the Geocinema at the EGU GA 2012 look out for the call.

Inspection Exercise in Jordan, 6 mins [Online]
This film discusses a simulated on-site inspection exercise that was carried out in regards to monitoring compliance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Listening for Nuclear Noise, 5 mins [Online]
This film discusses some of the technology used to monitor compliance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. In particular the technology that goes into a typical infrasound monitoring station, this particular station is located in the Bavarian Forest.

EISCAT_3D, our window to geospace, 7 min [Online]
FFAB:UK, together with EISCAT Scientific Association, has produced an information film about the EISCAT_3D project. It explains the background, the concept, and some of the new science that will be possible when the EISCAT_3D facilities are completed.

Earth System Trailer, 7 mins [Online]
Trailer for a documentary feature about climate, what the scientists know, what is unknown and what needs to be done to improve our stewardship of this planet. ESS trailer explores the need for next generation supercomputing to develop climate models which are a prerequisite to predicting climate change with scientific certainty.

SNORTEX – Snow reflectance transition experiment, 10 mins [Online]
The video introduces the SNORTEX (Snow Reflectance Transition Experiment) campaign taken place in Sodankylä (lat. 67.4N), Finland, in spring 2009. An overview on the background, objectives and expected scientific outcome of the campaign is given. Experimental methods and equipment employed in ground-based and air-borne measurements of snow reflectance and characterization of snow properties are presented.

Science@ESA: Solar System, Siblings of Earth and the Moon and Titan, 54 mins total [Online, with others]
In these Science@ESA vodcasts Rebecca Barnes looks at the Solar System. We’ll discover the scale and structure of the Solar System, find out why we explore it and introduce the European missions launched on a quest to further investigate our local celestial neighbourhood. We’ll look at two of the terrestrial planets: Venus and Mars, explore their similarities and differences to Earth and find out about the European missions that are helping to unravel their mysteries. Finally we’ll look at the Earth’s Moon and Titan, two very different natural satellites in our Solar System, and find out about the two ESA missions that have explored them.

Huygens probe landing on Earthlike world, 5 mins [Online]
This short film documents spectacular descent of ESA’s Huygens on Saturn’s giant moon Titan.

Geocinema Films available online (2/3)

11 May

Did you miss a particular film during the GeoCinema at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011? Here’s the second post containing where to see films that are available online. A film’s inclusion in the Geocinema does not mean that EGU endorses any opinions expressed in the film.

Royal NIOZ, Fathoming the Sea, 10 mins [Online]
Once again a prominent scientific institute called Zcenes help in making science accessible for all who are fascinated by marine sciences. “After NWO, Utrecht University, European Science Foundation and NSF/IODP (USA), NIOZ, the Royal Dutch Maritime Research Centre, has asked us to produce a film focusing on how oceans work, global climate history, the dynamics of the coastal Waddenzee and the significance of Dutch maritime research”.

Drill Bits, 20 mins in total 5 mins for each section [Online, listed by geographical location]
Drilling into Lake Peten Itza (Guatemala) for paleoclimate studies on drill core. Scientific drilling into Lake Malawi (Malawi) for paleoclimate studies. Drilling through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depths. Scientific Drilling at Hawaii to investigate Hot Spot volcanism.

We are prepared – Tsunami Early Warning System, 5 mins [Online]
Describes the installation of a Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS) in Indonesia and shows some of the different components. It reflects the interaction as well as the human factor.

Deep Sea Observatories: Internet in the Ocean, 9 mins [Online, with other similar movies]
ESONET movie to show observatories preparation and deployment on ESONET sites.

Ocean Under Observation, 9 mins [Online, with other similar movies]
This movie explain why now we have to go a step forward in the earth and Sea observation by developing and implementing deep sea observatories that are able to provide real time or near real time data continuously, with a high sampling frequency and on long term, (more than 10 years).

Signs of Life on Mars, 5 mins [Online]
A musical video to inspire the next generation of explorers.

EGU GA 2011 Perspectives (7)

27 Apr

This year on the EGU General Assembly blog there will be guest posts from participants about their research and their impressions of sessions. These are personal points of view not EGU corporate views. If you would like to contribute a research or session viewpoint, please email us.

This perspective from the European Geosciences Union General Asembly 2011 is from Joe Kasprzyk, who is a a PhD candidate at Penn State University, USA. His research was presented in a talk in HS5.4 Advances in Modeling of Coupled Hydrologic-Socioeconomic Systems .

I am very happy I was able to attend EGU 2011 and am honoured to contribute this blog post. In this post, I’d like to briefly introduce my research and some emerging areas of focus for hydrological sciences and water management and then discuss the importance of researchers in my field attending the EGU meeting.

The goal of my research is to aid sustainable decision making within environmental systems using risk-based water management, which includes feedbacks between social, natural, and built systems. Currently this involves studies that use many-objective solution techniques to quantify the tradeoffs between conflicting objectives. An example of these conflicting objectives is in minimizing the cost of a water supply system while maximizing its reliability. The situation is more complicated when other objectives are considered, however, including minimizing surplus water for municipal use that can be considered a proxy for other regional uses. To aid in solving this problem, our research combines the solution tools with interactive visual analytics that can involve stakeholders in showing them the consequences of different policy and engineering decisions.

Using a case study of a water market in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, USA, we started by exploring the effects of adding market instruments on the city’s many objective tradeoffs [1], and then proposed a de Novo planning framework that adaptively introduces new problem learning in an iterative process [2]. My future research will address the Susquehanna River Basin to aid the sustainability of water for competing water uses of municipal supply, electricity generation, and environmental flows.

There is increasing concern over the impact of increasing populations, amplified hydrologic variability, and climate change on water management. Future research should continue to provide tools for addressing these challenges, and this will necessarily involve interactions with scientists in different fields and from varied regions. One relevant research question, for example, is how does the time scale of observing environmental changes affect the time scale of decision making processes? The set of preferences for decision makers now may not be the same as in the next generation, especially given the availability of new information within subsequent planning horizons. Another concern is incorporating diverse uses into economic frameworks, especially those for which it is difficult to provide a monetized value of utility. Modeling of ecosystem processes will help inform this decision-making process, but the large amount of uncertainty present may not be able to be fully reduced.

These challenges have a direct connection to the value of international meetings such as the EGU General Assembly, because scientists from across many disciplines can discuss research and ideas throughout the whole conference program. Beyond just interdisciplinary work, though, I find it enlightening that we can interact across national boundaries as well. The concept of governance is a central one to water management since this directly constrains the breadth of actions that can be taken to react to change. Data availability, stakeholder preferences, and regulatory environment can all vary from country to country and I have learned much about this here at the conference.

I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this blog, and I would be glad to interact with you if you have any questions through e-mail.

[1] Kasprzyk, J., Reed, P., Kirsch, B., Characklis, G. (2009) “Managing Population and Drought Risks Using Many-Objective Water Portfolio Planning Under Uncertainty” Water Resour. Res., 45, W12401, doi:10.1029/2009WR008121
[2] Kasprzyk, J., Reed, P., Characklis, G., Kirsch, B. (In Review) “Many Objective de Novo Water Supply Portfolio Planning Under Deep Uncertainty” Env. Mod. Soft.