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Roundup of EGU Twitter Journal Club 2

13 Jul

The EGU’s Twitter Journal Club had its second virtual meeting yesterday, this time focusing on a paper from the EGU’s journal Biogeosciences, investigating the means by which microscopic life is sustained in the hostile aridity of the Atacama Desert. Read a full transcript of our discussion on our Storify page!

Vast expanse of Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the most arid regions in the world. (source: Wikimedia)

The European Geosciences Union, through publishing house Copernicus Publications, publishes 14 peer-reviewed Open Access journalsBiogeosciences (BG, IF 3.587)  is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical processes in terrestrial or extraterrestrial life with the geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The objective of the journal is to cut across the boundaries of established sciences and achieve an interdisciplinary view of these interactions.

EGU Twitter Journal Club: Article 2

6 Jul

Time for the second edition of the EGU’s Twitter Journal Club, our interactive online discussion about a timely scientific article. Full details can be found here

This time, our article focuses on one of the most extreme environments on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile, and the method by which rock-dwelling microorganisms obtain their water. The Twitter discussion will take place on Thursday 12 July at 17:00 CEST (hashtag #egutjc2). Please email the EGU’s Science Communications Fellow Edvard Glücksman with further questions. Happy reading!

The Atacama Desert is one of Earth’s driest environments. (credit: Wikimedia)

Novel water source for endolithic life in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert
Biogeosciences, 9, 2275-2286, 2012

Abstract. The hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert, Chile, is possibly the driest and most life-limited place on Earth, yet endolithic microorganisms thrive inside halite pinnacles that are part of ancient salt flats. The existence of this microbial community in an environment that excludes any other life forms suggests biological adaptation to high salinity and desiccation stress, and indicates an alternative source of water for life other than rainfall, fog or dew. Here, we show that halite endoliths obtain liquid water through spontaneous capillary condensation at relative humidity (RH) much lower than the deliquescence RH of NaCl. We describe how this condensation could occur inside nano-pores smaller than 100 nm, in a newly characterized halite phase that is intimately associated with the endolithic aggregates. This nano-porous phase helps retain liquid water for long periods of time by preventing its evaporation even in conditions of utmost dryness. Our results explain how life has colonized and adapted to one of the most extreme environments on our planet, expanding the water activity envelope for life on Earth, and broadening the spectrum of possible habitats for life beyond our planet.

Questions to think about:
1. How would you summarise this article in a tweet?

2. The Atacama Desert is one of the driest environments on the planet. Can you think of others, and do you know of similar studies done there?

3. What is the link between the research presented here and our quest to find extraterrestrial life?

4. How could the methods presented here be improved in follow-up studies?

5. Do you see industrial applications for these findings?

Related media coverage
National Geographic Magazine
Sydney Morning Herald

The European Geosciences Union, through publishing house Copernicus Publications, publishes 14 peer-reviewed Open Access journalsBiogeosciences (BG, IF 3.587)  is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical processes in terrestrial or extraterrestrial life with the geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The objective of the journal is to cut across the boundaries of established sciences and achieve an interdisciplinary view of these interactions.

Roundup of EGU Twitter Journal Club 1

22 Jun

The EGU’s Twitter Journal Club had its first virtual meeting yesterday, discussing an article on a climate change related blunder made by The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and the swift response of an international group of scientists.

You can read a full transcript of our discussion on our brand new Storify page. Even though Twitter went down after an hour’s discussion, we’re optimistic that the TJC will continue to bring out the best of our now-over-1,000 followers!

Greenland ice outlines, from Kargel et al. 2012, published in The Cryosphere, an open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union (6, 533–537, 2012)

The European Geosciences Union, through publishing house Copernicus Publications, publishes 14 peer-reviewed Open Access journalsThe Cryosphere (TC) (IF 3.641)  is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of frozen water and ground on Earth and on other planetary bodies.

EGU Twitter Journal Club: Article 1

15 Jun

The EGU is pleased to announce the launch of its Twitter Journal Club, a regular, interactive online discussion about a timely scientific article. Full details can be found here

Our first ever article, described below, covers a climate change related blunder made by The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and the swift response of an international group of scientists. The Twitter discussion will take place on Thursday 21 June at 17:00 CEST (hashtag #egutjc1). Please email the EGU’s Science Communications Fellow Edvard Glücksman with further questions. Happy reading!

Greenland ice outlines, from Kargel et al. 2012, published in The Cryosphere, an open-access journal of the European Geoscience Union

Greenland’s shrinking ice cover: “fast times” but not that fast
The Cryosphere, 6, 533–537, 2012

Abstract. A map of Greenland in the 13th edition (2011) of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World made headlines because the publisher’s media release mistakenly stated that the permanent ice cover had shrunk 15% since the previous 10th edition (1999) revision. The claimed shrinkage was immediately challenged by glaciologists, then retracted by the publisher. Here we show: (1) accurate maps of ice extent based on 1978/87 aerial surveys and recent MODIS imagery; and (2) shrinkage at 0.019%a−1 in 50 000 km2 of ice in a part of east Greenland that is shown as ice-free in The Times Atlas.

Questions to think about:
1. Broadly, how does this article tie in with the current climate change debate, and the general public’s perception of environmental change?

2. Based on this paper, do you get the impression we need to be worried about Greenland’s ice shrinkage?

3. Do you often catch mistakes in the scientific content given to the general public by respected publishers? If so, what are some examples? Do you challenge them?

4. Here, the authors brought the Greenland map mistake up on www.cryolist.org, an open listserver for glaciologists. Would it be worth setting up a more general communications environment (website, forum etc) where mistakes like this can be reported? Do you know of any currently in use?

5. Is an article like this really necessary (see its final sentence), or are the authors being pedantic or perhaps even exaggerating the importance of the impact of their work?

6. Given all the benefits of online distribution methods (cheaper, easy to correct, wider potential audience), are paper atlases on their way out and, if so, is this a good thing?

Related media coverage
The BBC
The Carbon Brief
The National Review
The Telegraph

The European Geosciences Union, through publishing house Copernicus Publications, publishes 14 peer-reviewed Open Access journalsThe Cryosphere (TC) (IF 3.641)  is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of frozen water and ground on Earth and on other planetary bodies.

Launching the EGU Twitter Journal Club!

12 Jun

To commemorate approaching the magical 1,000-follower mark on Twitter, the EGU is happy to launch its online journal club! This relatively new concept has proven to be very popular in other areas of science and we’re keen to see how it evolves within the rapidly growing EGU online community.

Get ready for the launch of EGU’s very own journal club!

How does it work?
Initially, we will present you with a publicly accessible journal article (likely from an EGU publication), you read it, then all of us ‘discuss’ it on Twitter at a specified time using a specific hashtag (#egutjc). The Storify transcript of the event will subsequently be published on our blog. As the club progresses, you will be asked to recommend articles for discussion based on your own interests and expertise.

How long do we get to read the article?
You will get around a week to read each article before the discussion takes place.

How long is the discussion?
The formal portion of the discussion will last one hour but, if there’s more to say, feel free to continue for longer.

Will we be provided with background information?
Yes, we will precede each discussion by tweeting any relevant links and information we can find – and we hope you will do the same. The announcement of the article will be accompanied by a short summary as well as discussion points to get you started.

Sounds great! When does it start?
Soon! The first article will be divulged on GeoLog and Twitter on Friday 15 June. The first journal club discussion will take place on Thursday 21 June at 17:00 CEST, allowing even our most distant North American friends to join in from the breakfast table.

What if I have more questions?
Please email the EGU’s Science Communications Fellow Edvard Glücksman with further questions.

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.

Photo Competition at the General Assembly: the finalists!

23 Apr

The selection committee received close to 300 photos for this year’s EGU Photo Competition, in most areas covered by Union’s activities. The ten stunning finalist photos are below. Do you have a favourite? Vote for it! The photos are exhibited in Hall X (basement, Blue Level) of the Austria Center Vienna, where you will also find voting terminals. The results will be announced on Friday 27 April during the lunch break.

Water or new iridescent fluid? by Alessandro Arato, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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

Nacreous clouds in Husavik, by Sigurjon Jonsson, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Icy landscape by Lucien von Gunten, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Terraced rice field, Yunnan, China by Samiksha Volvaiker, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Russell Fjord (detail) by Jean-Daniel Champagnac, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

The beauty of ice by Romain Schläppy, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Nevada landscape near Las Vegas by Norbert Krupp, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Melt stream, Greenland by Ian Joughin, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Flat in the mountains by Olivier Galland, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

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.

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.

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.