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EGU 2012 General Assembly: the highlights

19 Jun

The most recent video uploaded to EGU’s YouTube page, the EGU 2012 General Assembly highlights video, brings back good memories. It’s a compilation of some of the best moments at the conference and was produced by Sue Voice, who worked at the press office in Vienna.

Sue says, “Part of my role in the media team at EGU2012 involved producing short movie clips and photos for EGU’s social media platforms. This movie clip was not quite conventional; it was mostly captured with an iPad2, edited in iMovie and the final product compiled in Motion4. With over 11,000 people attending the EGU 2012 General Assembly, it was a wonderful challenge to try and capture the essence of the event. I had a fantastic time and learnt a lot during my week in Vienna and made many new friends. Thank you to all the people who appear in the movie, you are all stars of EGU2012. Also, a big thank you to Bárbara T. Ferreira and Edvard Glücksman for allowing me the opportunity to explore and create.”

Sue’s video equipment with the ACV in the background.

Thank YOU Sue!

Can you spot yourself, or one of your geoscience colleagues, in the video?

Imaggeo on Mondays: Melt Stream

28 May

Melt Stream, Greenland by Ian Joughin, distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons license.

Supraglacial lakes are created when water forms in depressions on top of a glacier, remaining there until it dissipates by seeping through crevasses, or cracks in the ice sheet. Despite their sometimes impressive size, supraglacial lakes may drain in a matter of hours under the right conditions, when the pressure they exert on the ice causes it to crack creating a sometimes spectacular lake draining event.

Draining of supraglacial lakes may have important environmental consequences and may even, as warming temperatures further increase meltwater volumes, affect rates of sea-level rise by accelerating the rate by which ice sheets slide into the ocean.

Dr Ian Joughin, from the University of Washington Polar Science Center, took this breathtaking photo under freezing conditions, earning him the 1st Prize at the 2012 General Assembly photo competition. He explains, “This image was taken as part of a project investigating the rapid drainage of supraglacial lakes in Greenland. Each year, these lakes, which often are a few kilometers across and 10 or meters deep, fill with melt water. If the water can find an open crack, it fills the crack and the greater density of water relative to ice allows it to hydro-fracture through the full thickness (~1 km) of the ice sheet, causing the entire lake to drain rapidly (< 2hours). This picture shows a large melt stream that we encountered as we were out exploring the lake basin, and it is only one of many streams feeding the lake.”

Additional images from this trip can be viewed here.

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.

What did you like about the EGU 2012 General Assembly?

22 May

In the most recent video uploaded to EGU’s YouTube page, Sue Voice, who worked at the press office in Vienna, asks General Assembly participants what they like the most about the conference. Check out their answers in the clip below!

And you, what did you like about EGU 2012?

Imaggeo on Mondays: Icy Landscape

21 May

Icy Landscape by Lucien von Gunten, distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons license.

Ice is a hazardous beauty, ephemeral in nature and, under the right conditions, capable of dominating landscapes. Earlier this year, while North America enjoyed an unusually mild winter, central and eastern Europe experienced brutal cold spells. The continent witnessed widespread freezing as cold air swept south from Siberia, claiming hundreds of lives, knocking out power supplies, and disrupting transport services. In Poland and the Ukraine, temperatures dropped as low as -33C and in Italy over 80,000 citizens were left without electricity after power lines were felled by trees.

This year’s icy spell brought Switzerland its coldest weather since 1987, the year it experienced its lowest ever recorded temperature. Lucien von Gunten, Science Officer at PAGES (Past Global Changes), explains the exceptional circumstances behind this captivating shot, taken earlier this year. “In Versoix, near the Lake of Geneva, the combination of low temperatures and strong easterly winds led to an unusual natural spectacle as the lake shores were partly covered with ice. Images of cars and boats under a thick ice shell were shown in the international press. Next to these popular eye-catchers one could also admire smaller scale ice structure, such as those depicted on this photograph, which covers an area of 30×30 cm.” This photo won 3rd Prize at the 2012 General Assembly photo competition.

Exceptional weather events, such as extreme temperatures, drought, or tropical storms and hurricanes, have increased in frequency over the past 50 years, partly as a result of human-induced climate change.

More pictures of Switzerland during this year’s freeze can be seen here.

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: Burst

14 May

Burst by Melissa S. Bukovsky, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license.

This photo won 2nd Prize at the 2012 General Assembly photo competition and, according to the photographer, Melissa S. Bukovsky, epitomises the idea that an expensive camera is not a necessity for taking great photos. “You just need to know how to use what you have. I travel with a point and shoot that fits in my back pocket,” she explains.

Currently a Project Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Bukovsky snapped this shot on one of her many work related trips. “This picture of a bursting mud bubble in a boiling pool of mud was taken just outside of the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area near Rotorua, New Zealand.  The area is part of New Zealand’s Taupo volcanic zone. I stayed in this area for a few days of holiday before traveling back to the US after working in Melbourne for the summer.  Aside from all of the fantastic geothermal phenomena to see in that area, there are numerous hot springs that are great for relaxing in.”

Mud pools, hot springs of bubbling mud, form in high-temperature geothermal areas where water is in short supply. The little water that is available rises to the surface at a spot where the soil is rich in volcanic ash, clay, and other fine particulates. The viscosity of the mud varies, from fluid during the rainy season to viscous in drier months.

The Wai-O-Tapu geothermal complex has been protected as a scenic reserve since 1931 and it remains a major tourist attraction.

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.

Uploading 2012 General Assembly presentations

7 May

This year it is once again possible to upload your General Assembly oral presentations and posters for online publication alongside your abstract, giving all participants a chance to revisit your contribution. Files can be in either PowerPoint or PDF format. Note that presentations will be distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence. The upload of your presentation is free of charge and is not followed by a review process. All legal and technical information as well as the upload form are available here. You will need to log in using your Copernicus Office User ID [using the ID of the Corresponding Author].

Share your presentation with the world by uploading it to the 2012 General Assembly website.

Review: 2012 General Assembly Great Debate on open science and the future of publishing

4 May

Today’s guest post comes from freelance writer Celso Gomes, who also worked at the 2012 General Assembly Press Centre.

Upon admitting that he refused to knowingly associate with Elsevier for years, Cambridge’s award-winning mathematician Tim Gowers stirred a discussion of unprecedented magnitude surrounding Open Access publishing. Such public outcry has so far culminated with over 10.000 other researchers following in his footsteps and vowing to boycott Elsevier journals, and the movement is still gaining momentum. Has the time come for a new publishing paradigm?

The first of this year’s Great Debates explored just that question, starring some of the heavyweights from both sides of the barricade. From the traditional publishing industry, delegates from Elsevier, Springer, and Oxford University Press (OUP) were present; and the Open Access movement was represented by PloS, Copernicus.org and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

Great Debate on Open Access publishing, including the panelists and chair, Edvard Glücksman of the EGU (far right). Photo: Suzanne Voice

After a quick introduction of the panelists, the debate kicked off by giving voice to a thought that has been on the mind of many researchers: why have the traditional publishers been so resistant to move towards open access? –  provocatively suggesting it might all boil down to profit margins. Opinions were as polarised as could be expected but it quickly became clear that profit is just one dimension of a very complex question.

In fact, the case was put forward that there are already several business models in the academic publishing field and not all can successfully accommodate a shift towards open access, with journals in the social sciences and also learned societies-backed journals as two examples. Fields with little to no centralised funding sources would arguably find it financially unsustainable to make the shift from subscription-based to the author pays model, as a significant portion of the individual or group-level research budget would need to be allocated to cover publication costs. On the other hand, the many societies which rely on the steady revenue stream from their publications are (claimed to be) weary of making the shift due to concerns that income from their journals might be significantly reduced or disappear altogether. However, such financial hurdles might be just temporary, as new financial models to back academic publishing are being developed by funders and research institutions themselves.

The discussion moved on to explore what might happen to research communication in the future, driven by the rise to dominance of a much more versatile digital media which has technological tools that challenge the conceptual notion of the research article. Geosciences are a particularly interesting case in this respect, given that the knowledge that needs to be transferred goes far beyond the images and text of the contemporary journal articles – large data sets seem almost ubiquitous and some (incredibly complex) concepts are much better explained in video than in writing. Publishing houses recognise this trend and appear to be experimenting with new formats, but details are sparse at this stage and it is unclear to what extent traditional publishing houses will make content freely available and what will continue to be hidden behind a paywall.

Still, there is a clear sense amongst all the panel members that Open Access publishing (and open science) will eventually rise to prominence , but how fast the changes take place is largely dependent on the researcher’s ability to break free from the current publishing paradigm – will it be gradual or are we witnessing an ‘academic spring’? While there is no answer, there are solid arguments for both cases, which you can revisit in detail by watching the debate in its entirety on the General Assembly’s website.

By Celso Gomes, freelance writer

EGU2012 photo competition results

30 Apr

The three 2012 General Assembly photo competition winners are:

1st Prize (214 votes): Melt Stream, Greenland by Ian Joughin, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

2nd Prize (142 votes): Burst by Melissa Bukovsky, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

3rd Prize (135 votes): Icy Landscape by Lucien von Gunten, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Friday at the 2012 General Assembly

27 Apr

We’ve made it – welcome to the final day of the 2012 General Assembly! Although so close to the end, today offers plenty of Union-wide events. Be sure to complement the information below with EGU Today, the daily newsletter of the General Assembly, available both in paper and for download here.

Don't miss next year's General Assembly!

One of the highlights of the day is the co-organised session entitled Advances in understanding of the multi-disciplinary dynamics of the Southern European Seas (Mediterranean and Black Sea) (oral programme Room 5, 13:30-17:00; poster presentations Hall X/Y, 10:30-12:00). In addition, today features two Medal Lectures by Robin T. Clarke (Room D, 12:15-13:15) [Webstreaming] and Aikaterini Radioti (Room 18, 10:45-11:15) as well as the Educational and outreach symposium on Teaching Soil Science or how to teach that dirt is fascinating (Room 35, 10:30-11:15).

Meet EGU continues today, so please step up to meet your Division leaders. If you haven’t already seen all the films, GeoCinema (10:30-18:45 daily in the GeoCinema Room) remains open. Also, the winner of the photography competition will be announced at 12:15 in the Crystal Lounge.

Have a great day, and see you in 2013! For more information on next year’s meeting, please check the 2013 General Assembly page soon online at www.egu2013.eu.

Exhibition at the General Assembly

26 Apr

Last day today to visit the Exhibition at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2012!

Exhibition booths for companies, publishers, research facilities, scientific societies, among others, are scattered throughout the blue (basement), yellow (ground floor), and green (first floor) levels of the Austria Center Vienna. Make sure you don’t miss the EGU Booth in the blue level.

EGU Booth at the 2011 General Assembly (detail).