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Imaggeo on Mondays: Sequoias in full moon

25 Jun

Sequoias in full moon by Michael Prather, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

The Sequoia National Park in Sierra Nevada, California, is one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the United States. The park, spanning over 1,600 square kilometres, is home to high mountains, deep canyons, and long and pristine caves. But its most distinct feature are giant sequoias, the world’s largest trees.

Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) grow to an average height of 50 to 85 metres and have typical diametres of six to nine metres. The Sequoia National Park is home to General Sherman, the world’s largest (in volume) living tree, calculated to have a volume close to 1,500 cubic metres.

The giant trees frame a beautiful starry sky in this photo by Michael Prather. He took this picture in February 2010 during a family holiday to the Wuksachi area of the Sequoia National Park. He explains that the picture was taken the night after a very heavy snow storm. “We spent the weekend in Wuksachi, getting hit with about 24″ [~60cm] of snow overnight. The snow on the trees was heavy and lit up like daylight by the moon.  I was surprised to be able to see Orion so clearly with the near-full moon, but the sky was very clear.”

The lower half of the constellation of Orion is visible at the top centre of the photograph. The three stars that make up the belt of The Hunter appear clearly, and a more careful viewing also reveals the fuzzy Orion nebula – the middle of the three ‘stars’ south of the belt.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

‘International Innovation’ meets EGU

13 Jun

International Innovation is a global dissemination publication that provides access to interviews, content and presentations for the wider scientific, technology and research communities. The magazine has, on various occasions, interviewed EGU personalities such as Ulrich Pöschl (Publications Committee Chair), a few division presidents and, most recently, EGU’s Executive Secretary, Philippe Courtial. Some of these EGU-related interviews are now available online.

  • Interview with Gert-Jan Reichard: “Biogeology has emerged over the past decade as one of the most important fields within the geosciences. Dr Gert-Jan Reichart, Division President of Biogeosciences at the European Geosciences Union offers his insight into the environmental challenges we face and how this research area is striving to address them”
  • Interview with Philippe Courtial: “Executive Secretary of the EGU, Dr Philippe Courtial, details the work of the Union in assisting scientists and improving the availability of accurate scientific data”
  • Interview with Michael Kühn: “Boldly trying to push science for solutions to solve the energy problems of tomorrow, Michael Kühn [EGU Division President of Energy, Resources and the Environment] is studying new approaches where renewables play a vital role”
  • Interview with Ulrich Pöschl: “The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is the world leader in interactive open access publishing and public peer review. We speak exclusively to Dr Ulrich Pöschl, the EGU Chair of Publication Committee, about the important work being done in the pursuit of knowledge sharing in the geosciences”
  • Interview with Denis-Didier Rousseau: “President of the European Geosciences Union, Division on Climate: Past, Present and Future, provides an insight into the ever expanding remit of this branch of the EGU”

(A few of these texts have also been reproduced with permission in GeoQ, the quarterly newsletter of the European Geosciences Union.)

Drill cores and climate: An EGU 2012 poster presentation

15 May

In the past few weeks, we have been publishing various reports from the 2012 General Assembly, courtesy of our guest bloggers. Today, we bring you yet another report, in video format this time, produced by the lovely Sue Voice who worked at the press office in Vienna. The video features Otago University’s Christian Ohneiser talking about his PhD project. Christian tells Sue how drill cores, retrieved from remote dry valleys of Antarctica, can help us understand the past climate of the Southern Ocean.

Publications by the EGU

10 May

The EGU is responsible for 14 Open Access journals, all freely available online

Since 2001, the EGU and Open Access publishing house Copernicus Publications has published a growing number of successful geoscientific journals. These include 14 peer-reviewed Open Access journals, of which 11 have a Thomson Reuters Impact Factor, placing them in the top echelon of their respective discipline. EGU also publishes a host of other materials available in paper and online. As a signatory of the Berlin Open Access Declaration (2003), the EGU is committed to making all their publications freely available.

The EGU’s Open Access scientific journals are:


Portuguese wines at risk due to climate change?

25 Apr

Today’s guest post comes from Eline Vanuytrecht from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven, Belgium.

New study explores the impact of climatic change on the suitability of agricultural land in Portugal for wine growing

Wine is big business in Portugal. Viticulture or wine growing and the production of wine represent an important economic activity of the national agricultural sector. World famous are the Port Wine from the Douro Valley, the Vinho Verde from the Minho area, and different qualitative wines from the Alentejo region. The yearly revenue of the wine business is around 700 million euros.

Viticulture, as others sectors of agriculture, is extremely sensitive to local climatic conditions. Both the physiology of the vines and the quality of the wine are affected by several aspects of the local climate. For the Portuguese winemaking sector, it is of great interest to determine viticultural zones that give valuable information about the zone suitability for growing wine. H. Fraga and his colleagues from the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro in Portugal performed extensive viticultural zoning for the whole country. The researchers identified suitable zones not only for the current situation, but in anticipation of global warming and associated climatic changes also for the future.

Portuguese wine is unique.

The research group determined a combined set of indices that identifies suitable zones for wine growing. The set consists of a humidity index, a thermal index (Huglin index) and a hydrothermal index. The humidity index is an index for the dryness of the soil’s root zone. This is vital because vineyards are vulnerable to prolonged periods of drought. The warmth index combines temperature and solar radiation information to identify suitable zones for wine growing. The hydrothermal index assesses excessive precipitation or humidity. The latter is important to exclude regions were the vulnerability to pests is high. The study results confirmed that, based on the indices, the vast majority of the Portuguese land is suitable for the production of excellent wines.

The image for the future is less bright. In a large part of the country, the suitability for wine growing decreases as a result of projected warmer and dryer climate in Southern Europe. Particularly in the southern and innermost region of Portugal, the thermal index is projected to increase, indicating excessive heats that may harm the vineyards. The humidity index is projected to decrease, as a result of projected extreme periods of drought for which especially South-Eastern Portugal is vulnerable. Even worse is that high impacts are found in the most important wine production regions of the country, thereby hitting the best Portuguese wines. The one redeeming feature is the projected decrease of the hydrothermal index in the future, an indication of the decreased potential damage of vineyards due to pests. Indeed, the drier conditions in the future create more hostile conditions for most pests.

The study of H. Fraga and colleagues highlighted the urgent need to develop good adaptation and mitigation measures for the Portuguese viticulture sector, including new wine varieties, genetic modification or adoption of advanced agricultural practices like irrigation, to cope with the changing climate in the region. It is not unlikely that within the coming decades a reshaping of the viticultural regions in Portugal is necessary and will bring different Portuguese wines on the table.

By Eline Vanuytrecht, KU Leuven

Imaggeo on Mondays: Seeing double

27 Feb

Double rainbow over a Tibetan Plateau lake by Janneke IJmker, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

On 6 September 2009, monsoon clouds had built up throughout the day over the Donggi Cona lake in central China. Janneke IJmker, now a researcher at Deltares in the Netherlands, was doing fieldwork there as part of her PhD at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. By dinner time, the sun shone on raindrops from the clouds producing a magnificent double rainbow over the lake, which IJmker captured with her camera.

“The photograph was taken during a fieldwork study of Holocene climate variations in the Donggi Cona lake catchment on the north-eastern Tibetan Plateau. Monsoon clouds and intense solar radiation resulted in this double rainbow, nicely demonstrating the reversal of colours in the secondary rainbow,” IJmker noted.

Secondary rainbows are the result of a double reflection of sunlight inside the water droplets. This second reflection causes the colours of the secondary rainbow to be inverted, with blue on the outside and red on the inside, compared to the primary.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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.

EGU General Assembly 2012 Call for Papers

9 Nov

Abstract submission for the EGU General Assembly 2012 (EGU2012) is now open. The General Assembly is being held from Sunday 22 Apr 2012 to Friday 27 Apr 2012 at the Austria Center Vienna, Austria.

You can browse through the Sessions online.

Each Session shows the link Abstract Submission. Using this link you are asked to log in to the Copernicus Office Meeting Organizer. You may submit the text of your contribution as plain text, LaTeX, or MS Word content. Please pay attention to the First Author Rule.

The deadline for the receipt of Abstracts is 17 January 2012. In case you would like to apply for support, please submit no later than 15 December 2011. Information about the financial support available can be found on the Support and Distinction part of the EGU GA 2012 website.

Further information about the EGU General Assembly 2012 on it’s webpages. If you have any questions email the meeting organisers Copernicus.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Stretching to the Light

31 Oct

Stretching to the Lights, Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA. Image by Valeria Volpe, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Waterworld

5 Sep

Modern coral reefs surround an island formed from a dacitic dyke, part of the Pliocene volcanic rocks of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia. Image by Ian Watkinson, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.