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Union-wide events at the 2012 General Assembly

12 Apr

At the 2012 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union there are a variety of Union-wide sessions, summarised below.

Maria Theresien Platz, Vienna (source: Wikimedia)

Union Meetings (UM)

These meetings are open to Union members, though note some are invitation-only events. Of particular importance is the UM8: Plenary in Room D on Monday 23 April from 12:15 to 13:15. This is an annual event, open to all EGU members and all General Assembly 2012 participants, held to discuss the past and future developments of EGU. The whole EGU Council is in attendance. A free lunch buffet (sandwiches & soft drinks) will be served.

Union Symposia (US)

Union Symposia cover a range of topics and also include the US1: EGU Award Ceremony in Room D, on Tuesday, 24 Apr from 17:30 to 20:00. Details on Awards and Medals of the European Geosciences Union can be found on the EGU homepage.

Great Debate

There are two Great Debates this year, entitled Open Science and the Future of Publishing (Room 20, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 from 13:30-15:00) and The Role and Responsibilities of Geoscientists for Warning and Mitigation of Natural Disasters (Room 15, Thursday, 26 April 2012 from 12:15-13:15).

Medal and Keynote Lectures

There are 32 Medal Lectures and three Keynote Lectures during the General Assembly.

Short Courses

There are nine Short Courses at the General Assembly.

Townhall Meetings (TM)

Townhall Meetings cover a variety of topics, including educationpolicy, and funding opportunities. These sessions aim to offer more discussion time than the normal oral presentations allow.

Splinter Meetings (SPM)

Like Townhalls, Splinter Meetings are organised by participants. However, they are typically smaller and can be either public or by invitation only.

Other

Europe in Geosciences sessions have a pan-Europe outlook and this year feature topics such as climate reconstruction, sea dynamics, and flood resilienceEducational and Outreach Symposia (EOS) are sessions dedicated to education and outreach, including to the Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT), a long-running event for high-school teachers. The EOS8 session, Communicate your Science, also merits highlighting. It is aimed at teaching scientists how to best communicate their research to journalists and the general public.

Finally, now in its third year, GeoCinema (full schedule available online) features a nearly continuous schedule of relevant film content, including documentaries and full length features.

New official twitter account for the EGU: @EuroGeosciences

23 Sep

The European Geosciences Union has a new official twitter account: @EuroGeosciences.

This account will be a constant account throughout the year, replacing @egu2011 (which replaced @egu2010). It will have news from the EGU year round, along with General Assembly items for the EGU GA 2012 and beyond.

This is the first of several developments concerning media and social media activities of the European Geosciences Union following the appointment of our new Media and Communications Officer: Bárbara Ferreira.

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.

Grímsvötn volcanic eruption

24 May

The Grímsvötn volcano in Iceland started erupting on 21 May 2011. Icelandic airspace was closed soon after with flights now being affected in the United Kingdom.

This post brings together some good sources of imagery and information. These sources are not endorsed by the European Geosciences Union, more a resource letting people know what is available. If you know of a good source of information, let us know in the comments or email us.

The UK Met Office is responsible for ash cloud monitoring for Northern European airspace. Their pages include warnings issues and maps showing predicted ash cloud movements.

NASA Earth Observatoryimagery is available (such as below). Including commentary on the image.

Grímsvötn Modis Natural-Color Image (NASA, 2011)

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) has imagery and animcationsfrom various satellites, including real-time images. An example is shown below.

Grímsvötn Altitude Imagery, copyright EUMETSAT (2011)

Grímsvötn Altitude Imagery, copyright EUMETSAT (2011)

News and information from Iceland itself is available from the Iceland Met Office and the University of Iceland Institute of Earth Sciences which has an Eruption in Grímsvötn 2011 page, which contains photos, satellite imagery, GPS time series, chemical composition information, and relevant scientific publications alongside status reports.

Relevant abstracts about the Grímsvötn volcano that were presented at the EGU General Assembly 2011 are Óladóttir et al., Thordarson et al., and Magnússon et al..

Imaggeo on Mondays: Water Angel

23 May

Water Angel

A “water angel” seems to appear in the upper part of the Trift Glacier Lake in the Swiss Alps. This image was a finalist in the EGU GA 2011 Photo Competition.

Image by Romain Schläppy, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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.

EGU GA 2011 Feedback Survey: please complete

20 May

The EGU General Assembly 2011 was again a great success with 4,333 oral and 8,439 poster presentations in a dozen union wide and 520 disciplinary sessions, along with townhall meetings, short courses, splinter meetings, etc. At the conference 10,725 scientists from 96 countries participated, of which 28% were students, 15,000 copies of EGU Today distributed, keen media presence and reporting, and thousands of visits to the webstreams as well as to the EGU 2011 blog. We thank all of you very much for your attendance and your active contribution to this great event.

Last year, we had a GA feedback form and asked 24 questions. We received 1,819 responses (results), which were examined carefully and helped us in many important decisions.

This year, we again would like to ask EGU GA participants to take 10-15 minutes of time to complete the short questionnaire here. If you an abstract accepted for the General Assembly 2011 but did not attend we’re also interested in your views.

Your input is genuinely invaluable in shaping the EGU GA 2012, to be held 22–27 April 2012, Vienna, Austria. Thank you very much in advance!

Imaggeo on Mondays: Carboniferous arachnid

16 May

Carboniferous arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii

A 3D reconstruction of the 312 million year old arachnid Eophrynus prestvicii, from a CT scan of the fossil. Arachnids such as this – members of the Trigonotarbida – were amongst the first terrestrial predators. This image was one of the finalists in the EGU GA 2011 Photo Competition. To find out more about this image, see Friday’s post: 3D reconstructions of ancient arachnids.

Image by Russell Garwood, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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.

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.