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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.

EGU General Assembly Twitter Account

16 Jun

As the skeleton programme is being put together and in advance of the Public Call-for-Session Proposals (20 July – 10 September 2010) the EGU GA Twitter Account has been changed to @egu2011.

The tweets about the EGU GA 2010 are there as we’ve just changed the name. If you followed the account you will automatically be subscribed to the new account.

JAH

Why I Blog series at the Plainspoken Scientist

4 Jun

The American Geophysical Union’s Plainspoken Scientist blog has the first of a series on “Why I Blog” by Geoscience bloggers. Its worth checking out, they’ve put a request out on twitter for anyone else who wants to post.

Columns in EGU Today

30 Apr

From Dick van der Wateren and the editors of EGU Today

We have recently seen the worst attack on science in ages. The hacking incident at the University of East Anglia set off a worldwide scandal, with climate scientists being accused of fraud and sceptics having a field day. Despite the complete and explicit rehabilitation of Phil Jones et al., the impression remains that scientists are dilly-dallying frauds. Clearly, scientists are vulnerable to attacks by laymen oblivious to scientific truth.
The aftermath is worrying. If we are sceptical about the causes and extent of global warming – “Science is simply organised scepticism.” (the Observer’s Robin McKie) – tampering with the atmosphere is risky business. These worries have led us to invite five people to write a daily column for EGU Today “Science under Fire”. We invite you to join the discussion on the blog and Twitter pages @DickEGUPress and @egu2010.
Hope to meet you in blogosphere.
The editors of EGU Today
Anne Martens, Andrew Gilman, Armand van Wijck and Dick van der Wateren