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Deadline approaching: applications for the GIFT Symposium

16 Nov

Applications for the 2012 GIFT Symposium should be received by November 30, 2011. Send your application via email to any of the members of the Committee on Education preferentially the member in your country if there is one. Details for the application are below.

The 2012-GIFT (Geosciences Information for Teachers) symposium will take place on April 23-25, 2012 during the General Assembly of EGU in Vienna Austria. The general theme of the workshop is « Water!» and will be dedicated to the study of the hydrological problems of our planet.

The water cycle, also known as the hydrological cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. It also involves the exchange of heat energy, which leads to temperature changes. The water cycle figures significantly in the maintenance of life, society and ecosystems on Earth. However, several problems threaten water resources today, which are related to the unsustainable use of water and the lack of adequate supply of water in many parts of the world. Such problems are caused by an ever increasing population, consumerism, urbanization and changes in agricultural practice.

In addition, as the water cycle involves heat exchange, it has a two-way feedback with our climate as well. In particular, the effects of atmospheric global warming on the water cycle are significant. Observed warming over several decades has been linked to changes in the large-scale hydrological cycle such as:

• increasing atmospheric water vapor content;
• changing precipitation patterns, intensity and extremes;
• reduced snow cover and widespread melting of ice;
• and changes in soil moisture and runoff.

As a consequence, water resources have already been deeply affected by global warming: sea levels have risen, glaciers have retreated. The hydrological cycle is heavily affected by land use change which in turn affects groundwater recharge. The above problems cause concerns in almost every sector of everyday life, and geo-engineers are seeking ways of mitigation. All water bodies are going to be affected by global warming, making knowledge of the water cycle essential for any kind of human activity. Entire regions on Earth would face extreme temperatures eventually associated with torrential rainfalls whilst other regions would experience scarcity of water and droughts.

In the GIFT workshop “Water!” all the different aspects of the water cycle will be described and discussed. Talks will focus on global freshwater availability and distribution, overexploitation of water, strategies for sustainable use of water in the future and the threats by environmental change. Particular regions where global warming will have a major impact, such as the regions depending on the water supply from the Himalayan, Alpine and Andes mountain glaciers will be used as exemplars. The use of naturally occurring isotopes to “fingerprint” sources of water in precipitation and rivers, and the presence of ‘ancient’ water beneath the deserts and other areas, will also be discussed..

Focus will also be put on climate model simulations for the 21st century, mitigation measures to reduce the magnitude of impacts of global warming on water resources, and water resources management and its impacts on other policy areas.

As in every GIFT Symposium, contributions by the attending teachers on particular “off-the-program” activities that they may have had in their classrooms are particularly welcomed, either as poster or oral presentations, even if their subject is not directly related to the theme of the workshop.

Also, a first step will be a guided visit to the Vienna Museum of Natural Sciences, on Sunday April 22 afternoon, followed by a small reception as an ice-breaker event.

Grants are available to support teachers to participate in the 2012 Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) Symposium at the 2012 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. Selected teachers will receive a travel /hotel stipend and free registration to the meeting.

Participating teachers will be selected based on their teaching experience and a supporting statement from their school administration. Selected teachers will be expected to attend the entire workshop and submit a statement within 1 year after the workshop on their impression of the workshop and how they plan to use this experience in their future teaching activities.

To apply please submit the following information:

• Applicant name, contact information, E-mail address
• School name and address
• List the subjects you teach, and the ages of students
• The workshop will be conducted in English. Please describe your capability to understand and speak English.
• A description of any leadership activities you have taken at your school or in national educational activities (examples: training new teachers, developing curriculum, etc.).
• A letter of recommendation from the senior administrator in your school supporting your application (by attached pdf document).
• (Optional) There will be opportunities for teachers to present any creative science activities they have developed for their classrooms to other teachers at the workshop. These presentations can be in the form of a talk, a poster or a demonstration. If you would like to present a science activity, please provide a title and description for inclusion in the program.

Applications should be received as soon as possible and in any case no later than November 30, 2011.

This information is also available in pdf format.

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New initiative from the EGU

19 Oct

In response to EGU members’ requests individually and at Town Hall meetings at the General Assemblies 2010 and 2011, the European Geosciences Union is trialling a mentoring scheme for members. Initially this will be for female mentees (mentors can be of either gender).

The mentoring scheme is designed so that face-to-face contact is not vital and is meant to be an enriching experience for both the mentor and mentee. Guidelines will be issued to both parties before the start of the mentoring process. You can be both a mentor and mentee in the same cycle of partnerships. Mentees can be from undergraduate level and above, mentors can be masters students and above. We encourage applications from mentors from all sectors of the Geosciences e.g. industry, government, academia.

To ensure your inclusion in this exciting initiative, please submit your details before the 31 October. The sign up forms for Mentors and Mentees are online. Information on the scheme is online via the EGU webpage. Mentoring partnerships will be provided with guidelines and agree a partnership contract concerning types and frequency of meetings and the topics to be covered.

We will try to consider all of your requests when assigning mentoring partnerships. If you have further questions, please email Jennifer Holden.

GIFT workshop on Ocean Acidification

5 Aug

A Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) Workshop was held in Penang, Malaysia on the 23rd and 24th June 2011 on theme of ocean acidification. Over 40 teachers took part, participating in 8 lectures and a viewing of Tipping Point. The brochure, presentations and a video are available online on the GIFT pages on the EGU website.

Call for applications: 2012 GIFT Syposium

27 Jul

The 2012 GIFT (Geosciences Information for Teachers) symposium will take place on April 23-25, 2012 during the EGU General Assembly 2012 in Vienna Austria. The general theme of the workshop is «Water!» and will be dedicated to the study of the hydrological problems of our planet. The deadline for applications is 30 November 2011. This pdf gives more details (also available on the EGU website.

In the GIFT workshop “Water!” all the different aspects of the water cycle will be described and discussed. Talks will focus on global freshwater availability and distribution, overexploitation of water, strategies for sustainable use of water in the future and the threats by environmental change. Particular regions where global warming will have a major impact, such as the regions depending on the water supply from the Himalayan, Alpine and Andes mountain glaciers will be used as exemplars. The use of naturally occurring isotopes to “fingerprint” sources of water in precipitation and rivers, and the presence of ‘ancient’ water beneath the deserts and other areas, will also be discussed.

GIFT presentations available online

1 Jul

The presentations from the GIFT workshops at past General Assemblies are now available online (where the author has given permission).

The GIFT programme offers teachers of elementary to high school the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge in geophysical themes and to shorten the time between new discoveries and textbook information. There are three main activities to the programme, one of which is The GIFT Workshop. This symposium (at the General Assembly each year) combines presentations on current research by leading scientists with hands-on activities presented by science educators for about 100 invited teachers.

A new part of the GIFT programme: GIFT Distinguished Lectures Series, is being inaugurated. For details of how apply see the PDF on the EGU homepage.

GIFT Distinguished Lecture Series

14 Jun

The EGU Committee on Education is going to inaugurate an annual series of Geosciences Information For Teachers (GIFT) Distinguished Lectures, to be given by top scientists who have previously participated as speakers in GIFT workshops during the EGU General assemblies. High school teachers, high school directors, educators for teachers from the European area are welcome to request a lecture, for which the EGU Committee on Education will cover the travel and subsistence costs of the speaker. Lecturers and topics should be selected among the ones given in the latest 5 years in EGU General Assembly GIFT Workshop, whose programs can be viewed on the GIFT webpages. Be aware that lectures will be offered in English only.

More information including event criteria and the application process is available on the EGU website at the top of the page.

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.

Geocinema Films available to view online (1/3)

9 May

Did you miss a particular film during the GeoCinema at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011? Quite a few of the films are available online. In this series of posts the descriptions and online locations of these films will be discussed. A film’s inclusion in the Geocinema does not mean that EGU endorses any opinions expressed in the film.

River Trip with Family, 5 mins [Online]
Water is life! A family experiences the element “water” in a series of different settings during a boat cruise on a river. The film gives an overview of the benefits hydrology provides to society in the context of the so-called State’s provision of general public services. It was produced by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS) to commemorate the anniversary “200 Years of Hydrology in Germany”.

Stefano Mancuso: The roots of plant intelligence, 14 mins [Online]
Plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities … But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.

Greg Stone: Saving the ocean one island at a time, 17 mins [Online]
Aboard Mission Blue, scientist Greg Stone tells the story of how he helped the Republic of Kiribati create an enormous protected area in the middle of the Pacific — protecting fish, sealife and the island nation itself.

Lee Hotz: Inside an Antarctic time machine, 10 mins [Online]
Science columnist Lee Hotz describes a remarkable project at WAIS Divide, Antarctica, where a hardy team are drilling into ten-thousand-year-old ice to extract vital data on our changing climate. Talk from TED.com, distributed under a Creative Commons License.

Rob Dunbar: Discovering ancient climates in oceans and ice, 18 mins [Online]
Rob Dunbar hunts for data on our climate from 12,000 years ago, finding clues inside ancient seabeds and corals and inside ice sheets. His work is vital in setting baselines for fixing our current climate — and in tracking the rise of deadly ocean acidification.

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial, 17 mins [Online]
Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress. Talk from TED.com, distributed under a Creative Commons License.

IODP 318 Wilkes Land Expedition, 20 mins [Online]
From January to March 2010, the JOIDES Resolution sailed on IODP Expedition 318 to the Antarctic coastline of Wilkes Land. During this two-month voyage a team of top international scientists explored the history of Antarctic climate changes over the past 53 million years. By drilling for unprecedented sediment cores from the bottom of the Southern Ocean, scientists can begin to understand the process behind the transition from the greenhouse world into the present icehouse world and it’s impact on global climate. This 20 minute documentary tells their story; the adventures at sea, the scientific operations and life on board.

Webstreams from the EGU GA 2011

13 Apr

All the webstreamed events at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly are available online still. Please share with those you think will find them useful.

Webstreaming Page.

The events from the EGU GA 2011 that are available are:
US1 A Planet Under Pressure
US2 The Future of Water Cycle Earth Observing Systems
US3 How Science Can Aid Society in Tackling Emerging Risks
US4 The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
US5 The 11 March 2011 Tohoku (Sendai) Earthquake and Tsunami
GDG1 How will Europe face the raw materials crisis?
UMC1 What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research? An EGU Masterclass by André Berger and Wolfgang H. Berger
ML1 Alfred Wegener Medal Lecture – Understanding the drivers of environmental changes in West Africa from sedimentary deep-sea records by Gerold Wefer
ML2 Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture – Three grand challenges in geomorphology: rock, climate, and life by William E. Dietrich
ML3 Jean Dominique Cassini Medal Lecture – Highlights of ESA’s Planetary Sciences Programme Achievements and a Glimpse into the Future by Jean-Pierre Lebreton
US0 EGU Award Ceremony

Also the press conferences are available;
Press Conference 1 A new science plan for ocean drilling – The Future of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
Press Conference 2 Polar Ozone – What’s going on in the Arctic?
Press Conference 3 What can we do about Europe’s raw materials crisis?
Press Conference 4 Unlocking climate and sea level secrets since the Last Glacial Maximum – Results from the IODP Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes Expedition
Press Conference 5 Geothermal energy versus CO2-storage: can we use the underground more than once?
Press Conference 6 GOCE & GRACE: global impacts of the ever changing surface of the Earth, recent mission results
Press Conference 7 Emerging risks and natural hazards: a multi-stakeholder approach to understanding and managing extremes
Press Conference 8 Oxygen Depletion – Triple Trouble
Press Conference 9 The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
Press Conference 10 Tsunami impact and Tsunami Early Warning Systems