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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

VIPS at EGU GA 2011

8 Apr

During the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011 several distringuished guests have been hosted. These have included the Irish Ambassador to Austria for HS1.1 Perspectives for the Future of Hydrology in a Changing Environment. Memorial Session in Honour of Professor Jim Dooge and the New Zealand Ambassador to Austria for the Union Symposia on the Christchurch Earthquake and accopanying Press Conference.

Friday at EGU GA 2011

7 Apr

Welcome to the last day of the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna 2011.

Some union wide events of note are below. The winner of the photography competition will be announced at 12:15 in the Crystal Lounge. Home will be shown in the GeoCinema from 17:30 (for 90 minutes) and we have a chocolate and sweets stall in the Exhibition Hall.

08:30–10:20 Union Symposium. The 11 March 2011 Tohoku (Sendai) Earthquake and Tsunami, Room D. [Webstream]

10:30–13:15 Townhall Meeting. Women in Geosciences and ‘What can EGU do for Women Geoscientists?’, Room D.

13:30–15:00 Townhall Meeting. Panel Discussion on the 11 March 2011 Tohoku (Sendai) Earthquake and Tsunami, Room D. [Webstream]

Perspectives from EGU GA 2011 (4)

7 Apr

This year on the EGU General Assembly blog there will be guest posts from participants about their research and their impressions of sessions. These are personal points of view not EGU corporate views. If you would like to contribute a research or session viewpoint, please email us.

This viewpoint is James Pope concerning the Union Masterclass (webstream available here). James is a PhD student at the University of Leeds and presented his research earlier in the week.

What are the unresolved questions and future challenges for Palaeoclimate research?

I feel that one of the joys of science is that we are striving to push the boundaries of knowledge or clarifying our knowledge, I think curiosity is a strong personality trait in scientists, I think we have a drive to find out why. So, it was of little surprise that a Union Master Class on the unknowns of Palaeoclimate attracted approximately 200 people during the Wednesday afternoon session.

As someone who works on uncertainty in Pliocene climate models, I was keen to discover what two experts in palaeoclimate, Andre Berger and Wolfram Berger, thought of as the key questions to be covered.
I guess I should start by justifying palaeoclimate science. I mean, why would we want to look at the past? What can we gain from looking back? Surely we should only look forward and investigate the future, the now and the next, and prepare for what climate change will cause to happen. One of the founders of modern geology, James Hutton said “The present is the key to the past”, by which he meant you could look at present day processes and use them to work out what had formed the rocks we could see. Palaeoclimate is the inverse of his principle, that we use the past as the key to the present and the future. Like Hutton, however, we have unconformities in Palaeoclimate, and as sections of the rock record are missing, so we are missing some understanding from our studies, the gaps in our knowledge record, and this Union Master Class, was looking at where these are. This is crucial, because as Wolfram put it “The present is unusual”, and despite our extensive high resolution dataset of recent times, we can not see anything in this dataset which can intrinsically explain what is happening and why.

Andre opened quite rightly by pointing out that Palaeoclimate is a diverse field and that you should “never trust a model if not confirmed by data” and I agree 100% with him. The data works to show the model where it is doing well and where it is weak, the data can constrain uncertainty in model predictions and is vital for that. But, the relationship is symbiotic, modellers can turn to the data community and ask them, push them and encourage them to develop data for areas, where we lack it at present. Sometimes this challenges the data community to develop new analytical techniques, or leads to new drilling expeditions from teams on Antarctica or at sea as part of the IODP. Palaeoclimate modellers and palaeo-data people are a team, a community and it is important for development of our branch of climate science.

So, what are the unanswered questions? The presentations focussed mainly on the challenges in the last 3 million years and the last million specifically, the list below is from their talks, so they covered:
• The drivers of inter glacial, so what terminates the glacial time period and the role of both solar and greenhouse gases as forcings in this.
• The role of carbon dioxide in the Plio-Pleistocene transition
• The mid-Pleistocene transition from the 41kyr orbital cycle to the 100kyr orbital cycle.
• Climate sensitivity in models, the role of a number of feedbacks such as ice
• Carbon dioxide as a forcing AND as a feedback
• Sea level rises and rates of change.

So why are these unknowns important? They are important because we need to develop our understanding, but specifically they are crucial to our development. Geologically as Wolfram discussed, CO2 has been a feedback in the system, but humans have made it into a forcing as well as a feedback, separating the anthropogenic and the natural signal (modelled in the last IPCC report) is important showing the effect that our emissions have had on creating the ‘Hockey Stick’ graph. It is also linked to understand the onset of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation at the Plio-Pleistocene boundary, how did the change in CO2 lead to this new climate state? Likewise improving our understanding of the onset of inter-glacial periods is crucial in a whole number of elements of the climate and the earth system, we need to have a better understanding of post glacial ice melt and sea level rise, ~40% of the world’s population live within 100km’s of the coast to what level are they exposed to when sea level rise and when? It will also aid our understanding of a warming world, of which we live in today.

Personally, I also think we should look to the challenges of modelling the warmer climate optimums of the recent past, in time periods such as the mid-Pliocene Warm Period, the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum, and rapid change events such as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Warmer climates are a model test-bed and while I have a bias to this (as a Pliocene climate modeller), I think it is easy to understand why they are important. Warmer climates enable us to test how a model behaves in a warmer set of conditions, where the model is good and where it is weak at reproducing the climate. This has the potential to affect our ability to work with regional impacts of climate change. However, warmer climates are not without their complications. Workers in this field often have to state the caveat that we usually work in the equilibrium periods of the climate system, the world was warm for a stable period before a climate shift, this is different to our transient change we are experiencing. However we must continue in this area for it is the best record of warmer elevated CO2 world’s, we just don’t have the ability to test the models for these conditions without the use of palaeoclimate scenarios which provide data to validate our simulations.

These uncertainties are all vital to our understanding of the climate system, and without improving our understanding, how are we to fully understand what will happen as a result of climate change? And more importantly to those involved in planning and mitigation, where will it happen?

Palaeoclimate research has tackled a number of significant issues over the years, and developed ever increasing strategies for developing our knowledge. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) each year drills more and more cores of the ocean bed, allowing the data community to develop new and ever more detailed datasets. The modellers use this data, their models and their own understanding to push the models harder than ever to develop better simulations on a whole host of platforms, we have grown and developed, we are continuing to do so and we must continue, we can never stop, we can never ‘wait and see’ because that is not an option as Wolfram pointed out at the conclusion of his session.

I would like to thank the organisers of the EGU General Assembly for organising this session and I hope that they will encourage other sections to organise similar events at EGU2012, because I have left today’s session feeling stimulated to continuing pushing myself, to push my model and to push my colleagues into tackling our uncertainties, our unknowns, because only if we do that will we tackle what we don’t know!

Thursday at EGU GA 2011

7 Apr

Below are Union wide events of potential interest. Please remember that the exhbition closes this evening, photo competition voting closes at 16:00 and to post your postcards in the box at EGU Information by 18:00.

08:30–10:15 Union Symposium. The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake in Room D. [Webstream]
This late-breaking session will discuss several aspects of the 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. Invited speakers will present various aspects of the earthquake event. Posters allied to the event will be at XY550 onwards on Friday with authors in attendance 10:30-12:00.

13:30–15:10 Union Symposium. How Science Can Aid Society in Tackling Emerging Risks in Room D [Webstream]
Emerging Risks is not only highly topical at the moment, it is an issue which has been shouldering its way up the priority rankings, increasingly capturing the attention of the academic community, policy makers, regulatory bodies, commercial stakeholders and the public alike. Emerging risks, defined as developing or changing risks that pose unintended socio-economic consequences, are difficult to quantify. They include water scarcity, climate change, nanotechnology, regulation, biodiversity loss, and energy and food insecurity. The penetration, combination and range of emerging risks impacts was highlighted by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused one of the largest ecological disasters in history. Consideration of emerging risks has percolated into mainstream natural hazard risk assessment and are integral parts of projects such as Global Earthquake Model (GEM) program.

The scientific community has a critical role to play in assessing the combined impacts of emerging risks, both in the public and private sectors. This session will bring together academics, industry representatives, and public policymakers to discuss the individual and collaborative roles which must be played in order to advance our understanding of the scope and impacts of emerging risks, readying and equipping us to deal appropriately with the same. For more information see the Session Details.

Townhall Meetings
19:00–20:00 EGU and INSPIRE, Room 4

19:00–20:00 Future Internet: Opportunities and Challenges for the Geo-sciences community, Room 1.

17:30-19:00 SPM1.13 Earth Science Women’s Network Reception, Room SM2
09:00-09:15 and 19:00 YESS (Young Earth System Scientists) presentation and networking event. For more details see their website.

EGU GA 2011 Union Award Ceremony

6 Apr

New at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011 is an official Awards Ceremony where all the medal and award winners across the Union are honoured (session details). It will also be Webstreamed.

Please come join us at the EGU 2011 Award Ceremony which will take place on Wednesday 6 April, 17:30-20:00, Room D (Blue Level, basement). We will first recognize on stage all Division Outstanding Young Scientist Awardees and Division Medallist.

Then, Union Service Awards, Arne Richter Outstanding Young Scientist Awards and Union Medals will be presented to the respective recipients, including citationists and response. We very much encourage everyone to come in honouring our EGU award recipients for 2011 in this gala ceremony. Refreshments will be served.

The Union Masterclass at EGU GA 2011

6 Apr

Today, Wednesday at 13:30-15:00 in Room D (Basement, Blue level) will see the first Union Masterclass. This is an opportunity to hear insights from two senior scientists reflecting on their research.

The first Union Masterclass is What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research. The details are available online and it will be webstreamed.

What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research? An EGU Masterclass by André Berger and Wolfgang H. Berger

Convener and Moderator: Gerald M. Ganssen.

Climate research has never received so much attention as during these days. People are concerned about the future of our planet. Global Change is an important item on the political agenda. Stakeholders, politicians and the general public have a great need to get informed about the consequences of the continously rising carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. Scientists try to better understand the processes taking place right now to help giving answers to the burning question: What will happen to our ‘Planet under pressure’?

During this masterclass, two pioneers with together nearly 100 years of experience in Palaeo-climate research, Prof. Dr. André Berger and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Berger will exchange their thoughts and ideas to the question:

What are the unknowns of the natural variability of past climates?

Topics to be dealt with:
Quaternary cycles
Ice-buildup through the Cenozoic
The impacts of humans on the future climate at the astronomical time scale
Positive and negative feedbacks: will the future be really grim or somewhat manageable?

André Berger
(detailed biography)
André Berger was born in 1942. He is Master of Science in Meteorology from M.I.T. (1971) and Doctor of Science from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) (1973). He was Ordinary Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) where he lectured on meteorology and climate dynamics. He is Emeritus Professor and Senior Researcher at UCL, doctor honoris causa from the Universities of Aix-Marseille III, Toulouse and Mons. He is a member of the Academia Europaea and of the Academies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Paris, Canada, Serbia and London. He received the Lemaître prize in 2010, the European Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation in 2001, the Prix quinquennal of the Belgian National Funds for Scientific Research for 1991-1995, and the Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award from the World Meteorological Organization in 1994. He has been responsible for 78 research grants, among which a 2008 European Research Council Advanced Grant (ranked top of the list).

He was chairman of the International Climate and the International Paleoclimate Commissions, president of the European Geophysical Society and is Honorary President of the European Geo-Sciences Union. He is fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is a member of the Conseil scientifique consultatif auprès de Météo-France (since 2001 and a co-founder of the International Polar Foundation (1999). He was a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency (2002-2008) of the Conseil de l’Environnement de Electricité de France (1998 to 2009) and of the Conseil scientifique de Gaz de France (1994-1999), chairman of the External advisory group on Global Change, Climate and Biodiversity (1998-2002) and of the Coordination Group on Climate Processes and Climate Change (1988-1992), both of the Commission of the European Communities and of the NATO Special Programme Panels on the Science of Global Environmental Change (1992). He serves in many Scientific Councils of Research Institutes and in advisory boards of industries and ministries. He was invited to lecture in many universities and deliver papers in specialized symposia. He is the author of “Le Climat de la Terre, un passé pour quel avenir?”, has edited 12 books on climatic variations and has published more than 180 papers on this subject. He is associate editor of Surveys in Geophysics and editorial board member of The Holocene, Climate Dynamics and Earth and Planetary Science Letters. He was editor of EOS for Atmospheric Sciences, associate editor of Atmospheric Environment and board member of Climatic Change. His main research is about modeling climatic changes at the geological time scales. He has made notable contributions to the astronomical theory of paleoclimates. The climate model that he has developed with his team is also used for simulating the response of the climate system to human activities and the possible impacts on the natural course of climate at the geological time scale. He is a cited pioneer of the interdisciplinary study of climate dynamics and past climate history. He has been ennobled by His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, with the title of Chevalier (Sir) and received the title of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur from the President of France.

Wolfgang H. Berger
(more information)
Wolfgang Berger was born in 1937. He is Master of Science in Geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder (1963) and holds a Ph.D. From the University of California, San Diego (1968). He was full professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in Oceanography and is Research Professor in Geosciences at SIO. Between 1998 and 2005 he was Director of the California Space Institute at the University of California. He had appointments as guest professor at the universities of Kiel and Bremen.

He has received the following honors:
Bigelow Medal, Woods Hole 1979
Norwegian Research Fellow, 1980
Huntsman Medal, Bedford 1984
Lady Davis Fellow, Hebrew University, 1986
Humboldt Award, Bonn 1986
Ewing Medal, San Francisco, 1988
Prince Albert I Medal, Paris, 1991
Balzan Prize, Bern, 1993
Steinmann Medal, Bern, 1998
Shepard Medal, SEPM, Denver, 2001

He is a Foreign Member of the Academia Europaea since 2001.
He is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and edited 10 books:
1982 (with J.C.Crowell) Climate in Earth History. National Academy Press, 198 pp.
1987 (with L.Labeyrie) Abrupt Climatic Change – Evidence and Implications. Reidel.
1989 (with V.S. Smetacek, G. Wefer) Ocean Productivity – Present and Past. John Wiley.
1993 (with L.W. Kroenke, L.A. Mayer, et al.) Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, Leg 130 (Ontong Java Plateau), Texas A&M University.
1995 (with E. Seibold) The Sea Floor – An Introduction to Marine Geology. 3rd ed. Springer.
1997 (with G. Wefer, G. Siedler, D. J. Webb, editors) The South Atlantic: Present and Past Circulation. Springer.
1998 (with G. Wefer, C. Richter, et al.) Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Results, Leg 175 (Benguela Current), Texas A&M University.
2002 (with G. Wefer, K.E. Behre, E. Jansen, eds.) Climate Development and History of the North Atlantic Realm. Springer.
2005 (H. Drange et al.) The Nordic Seas: An Integrated Perspective. AGU Geophysical Monograph.
2009 Ocean: Reflections on a century of exploration. UC Press.

His research interests comprise micropaleontology, marine sedimentation, ocean productivity, carbon cycle, ocean history, climate history, environment, and history of Earth science. His contributions were fundamental toward the understanding and quantification of carbonate production, preservation and sedimentation in the ocean. He is driven by curiosity, everything we do not understand in the functioning of the Climate and Earth System is a challenge for him.

He has initiated, supported and guided the Parker Program for Public Education, which is focused on working with teachers on elementary Earth Science concepts, using materials from the geologic collections and posting reliable background information on the web, along with glimpses on ongoing research (in collaboration with Memorie Yasuda). At present (2011) he is working with the Children’s Museum in Escondido to generate interactive exhibits on Earth sciences.

Sustainable Development and the Great Debate

6 Apr

The Great Debate at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011 considered How will Europe face the raw materials crisis?, you can watch the debate online and the session details are here.

Someone in the audience (around 70′) at the Great Debate questioned using the model of increasing consumption driving increasing metal use and advocated a sustainable development model. None of the panel accepted the idea, what do you think?

Please respond in the comments, do you think a sustainable development model is possible? will increasing consumption still drive to increasing metal use? are there other alternatives?

N.B Please consider that comments are moderated, so there may be a delay in your comment appearing.

Tuesday at EGU GA 2011

5 Apr

We hope you had a good first day at the European Geoscience Union General Assembly 2011, whether you’re here in person or following online via the webstream.

Some union wide events happening at the EGU GA 2011 on Tuesday 5 April.

13:30–15:10 Union Symposium. The Future of Water Cycle Earth Observing Systems, Room D [Webstream]
This Union Session will explore visions on new water cycle observing systems. Major space agencies are planning new satellites that will provide new and additional space-based observations of the water and energy cycles components. It is expected that these observations will lead to improved applications (e.g. in agriculture, water and energy management) and scientific understanding the Earth’s climate. Overall the level of innovation presented in the future missions is limited, whether in sensor design, the synergistic use of the data with other data or the delivery of the information to users. For more information see the Session Details

15:30–17:00 Great Debate. How will Europe face the raw materials crisis? Room D [Webstream]
Recent publicity of China’s control of the rare earth element market and the growing crisis of supply of metals essential for new technologies is a reminder of Europe’s near-total dependence on imported metals. The European Union spends 55 billion Euros per year, half of its total budget, to assure a supply of agricultural products but seems satisfied that >97% of all metals are imported. In this debate, experts from academia and industry will discuss the current state of the minerals industry, in Europe and on a global sale; they will explore which metals may be in short supply and what can done in universities, government agencies and industry to mitigate the problem. For more information see the Session Details

Townhall Meetings
10:30–12:00 A roadmap for European Geoscience Infrastructure (sponsored by EU RD infrastructures) and ESFRI, Room 1.

19:00–20:00 Joint IODP ICDP Townhall Meeting. (Room 4)

19:00–20:00 Career Development: how can we integrate graduate and employer needs, Room 5. More details about the speakers can be found on the YES Network site. This is being webstreamed independently see their webstream page for details.

Monday at EGU GA 2011

4 Apr

Welcome, to the first full day of the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011. The meeting programme is available online, via the USB stick available at the ACV and via computer terminals around the General Assembly venue itself.

Key union wide events today include:
12:15-13:15 Union Plenary
All attendants are invited to this annual event where the past and future development of EGU is discussed. The Plenary is open to all EGU members and all EGU2011 General Assembly participants. The whole council will attend. This is the main meeting for bringing forward new ideas to the organization. Free lunch buffet (sandwiches & soft drinks) will be served.

13:30–15:10 Union Symposium. A Planet Under Pressure. (Room D). [Webstream]
Our planet Earth is under increasing pressure. This union session will consider the broad geosciences aspects of those pressures, by combining presentations of past variability in combination with present observations/status and projections for the future of our Planet. It is planned to organize this EGU Session as a contribution to the ICSU (International Council for Science) meeting that will be held in 2012 in London. The past, present and future will be addressed by the three key-note speakers.

Townhalls of Potential Interest
19:00–20:00 Townhall Meeting. The U.S. Planetary Decadal Survey. (Room D)
19:00–20:00 Townhall Meeting. The Earth Observation Programmes of the European Space Agency. (Room 12)