The General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), a meeting with over 11,000 scientists that covers all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences, is taking place next week (27 April – 2 May) in Vienna, Austria. Interested journalists can register on-site free of charge. Those who cannot make it to Vienna, can watch press conferences remotely through a webstreaming link. Media briefings include presentations on the latest news from the Cassini mission and an update from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Other events of interest include debates on mining and geoengineering, which will also be streamed online.
Press conference schedule
Union-wide sessions of interest
Media registration and badge collection
Press conference schedule
Press conferences at the EGU General Assembly will be held at the Press Centre located on the Yellow Level (Ground Floor) of the Austria Center Vienna. All times are CEST.
Documents relating to the press conferences listed below, such as press releases and presentation slides, will be made available from the Documents page at http://media.egu.eu during the meeting.
SINKING COASTAL CITIES
Monday, 28 April, 14:00
Historically coasts, estuaries and rivers have been prime spots for locating human settlements. Today, these areas have some of the most bustling and economically prosperous cities on Earth, but does rapid urbanisation and population growth come with a price? Researchers in this press conference will discuss their work on sinking coastal cities – such as New Orleans, Bangkok, Venice and Shenzhen – many of which are also at risk from the effects of sea level rise. They will address the measurement of the rate of subsidence and its causes – human or natural – and the strategies we can put in place to mitigate the hazards associated with these sinking cities.
Researcher, Faculty of Geosciences, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Researcher, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
Peng Liu [TBC]
Researcher, Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Spatial Information Smart Sensing and Services, Shenzhen University, China
Related scientific session: GM1.8
HYDROLOGICAL CHALLENGES FACING THE PLANET
Monday, 28 April, 15:10 (note delayed start)
The availability of freshwater is widely seen as one of the major challenges facing society. Climate change and an increasing demand for water – due to a growing world population and intensive water use – are expected to make the problem worse, contributing to a sharp decline in water security around the world. Changing conditions demand that societies adapt, emphasising the need for more sustainable water-use policies and improved strategies for prevention from, and adaptation to, water-related risks. In areas where water scarcity is or will soon be acute, some even predict conflicts over water use. In this media briefing, a panel of hydrologists will answer questions about the hydrological challenges facing humanity and how recent initiatives plan to address them.
President, International Association of Hydrological Sciences & Hydrologist and Water Resources Engineer, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Gerrit de Rooij
President, EGU Hydrological Sciences Division & Deputy Department Head, Soil Physics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
EGU President & Chair of Hydrology and Water Resources Management at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria
Related scientific session: HS1.1
THE CHANGING ARCTIC
Tuesday, 29 April, 12:00
Polar sea ice is important in many ways: as a climate regulator, critical habitat and a platform for human activities. Rapid loss of Arctic sea ice could threaten these services and pose risks to both coastlines and infrastructure. With increasing changes to average world temperatures, how much do we know about the future of the Arctic sea ice? In this press conference, researchers reveal records of methane emissions during the last deglaciation and what they mean for the Earth's carbon budget. They will also explore the likelihood of an ice free Arctic by 2035 and assess the balance of benefits and risks associated with changing Arctic sea ice cover.
Associate Professor in Environment and Climate, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
Oceanographer Emeritus at CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France
Professor, Geophysical Institute and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, US
Related scientific sessions: CR4.3, AS4.14/BG7.4/CL3.10, OS1.2
THE ANTHROPOCENE: ARE WE LIVING IN THE AGE OF HUMANS?
Tuesday, 29 April, 13:00
Humans have changed the face of the Earth like no species ever before. We move more sediment than natural processes such as erosion or rivers, we alter watercourses by building and removing dams, and our large-scale urbanisation has resulted in unprecedented changes in land use and levels of air pollution. But are we truly living in the Anthropocene, the geological age dominated by human influence? This press conference will centre around research into recognising and characterising the Anthropocene, focusing on new results that highlight the extent to which human activities have had a global and significant impact on the Earth's ecosystems.
Professor of Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere, University of Bremen, Germany
Professor of Physical Geography, University of Southampton, UK
Senior Lecturer, Geomorphological Systems and Risk Research, University of Vienna, Austria
Senior Lecturer in Palaeobiology, University of Leicester, UK
Related scientific sessions: AS3.7, GM4.1/HS9.12/SSS9.18, SSP2.1
LOOKING IN TO THE PAST TO PREDICT FUTURE CLIMATE: NEW RESULTS FROM THE IODP AND PAST4FUTURE PROGRAMMES
Tuesday, 29 April, 14:00 (may last an additional 30 minutes)
Global warming is an ever more pressing problem that calls for an improved understanding of the Earth's climate. By looking into the past, researchers can better understand how the Earth system will respond in warmer climates and improve predictions of future climate change. In this press conference, researchers representing two projects – Past4Future and the Baltic Paleoenvironmental Expedition of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) – will present their most recent results, which aim to better understand climate change dynamics in the last interglacial period and the last ice age, respectively.
Co-chief scientist of the IODP Baltic Paleoenvironment Expedition & Associated Professor, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden
Research Professor & Head of the Research Programme Marine Geology and Global Change, Geological Survey of Finland
Project coordinator, Past4Future & Researcher, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Palaeoclimatologist (Ice Cores), British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
Related scientific sessions: CL5.7, CL6.8/BG0/GMPV55
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: VOLCANOES ON EARTH AND MARS
Tuesday, 29 April, 15:30
Volcanic eruptions remain one of the most exciting geological processes on Earth and within the Solar System, but they are also one of the most dangerous. Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull's eruption in 2010, for example, alerted for the widespread disruption such events can cause. This press conference highlights the hazards that volcanic ash can pose for Europe and what the acoustics of Strombolian eruptions can tell us about their cause. Researchers will also address the evidence for explosive supervolcanoes on the surface of Mars.
Doctoral Student, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
Head, Computational Fluid Dynamics Group, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
Aurora Fellow, Earth Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London, UK
Related scientific sessions: NH2.3/AS3.17, PS2.6, GMPV35
CASSINI AND SATURN: THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY AND NEW RESULTS
Tuesday, 29 April, 16:30
Ten years ago, Cassini-Huygens, a mission lead by NASA, ESA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), entered the Saturnian System. The Cassini spacecraft became the first orbiter of Saturn in July 2004 and the Huygens probe landed softly on the surface of Titan in January 2005. These events marked the beginning of an era of astonishing discoveries that have revolutionised our understanding of this gas giant, its ring system and its moons. Major findings of the Cassini-Huygens mission include Titan's hydrocarbon seas and lakes, the cryo-volcanic activity of Enceladus, the dynamics of Saturn's rings, Saturn's North Polar hurricane, as well the overall variability of the Saturn's System with the seasons. The press conference will address the newest missions results and will look back at key moments in the exploration of the Saturnian System.
ESA (European Space Agency) Cassini Project Scientist
Cassini Team Member, Laboratoire d'études spatiales et d'instrumentation en astrophysique (LESIA), Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, France
Cassini Project Scientist
Cassini Team Member, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
NASA Principal Investigator, Cassini's Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument & Head Emeritus and Principal Staff, Space Department, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University
Related scientific sessions: PS3.2, PS3.1
SHEDDING LIGHT ON LIGHTNING – IN THE LAB AND EXTRASOLAR OBJECTS
Wednesday, 30 April, 9:00
Lightning is a natural and frequent phenomenon on Earth, but how well do we understand it? Volcanic lightning, for example, is hard to measure directly since it occurs when ash-rich volcanic plumes are released by erupting volcanoes. Now, a team of researchers has, for the first time, generated volcanic lightning in the lab. The new method could further studies of the phenomenon and help develop lightning monitoring systems to forecast volcanic ash emissions into the atmosphere. Another team is studying lightning in extrasolar planets to better understand how atmospheres become electrically charged. They hope to find out the role lightning can play in generating the building blocks for life.
Researcher in Physical and Experimental Volcanology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
Principal Investigator, LEAP (Life, Electricity, Atmosphere, Planets) Project, University of St Andrews, UK
Related scientific sessions: NH2.3/AS3.17, NH1.4
THE IPCC ASSESSMENT CLIMATE CHANGE 2013 AND BEYOND: MAKING SENSE OF RECENT CLIMATE CHANGE
Wednesday, 30 April, 12:00 (may last an additional 30 minutes)
At EGU 2014, the Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (WGI IPCC) is convening three scientific sessions and a Union Session to mark the completion of a five year effort by thousands of scientists worldwide. In this press conference, the Co-Chair of WGI IPCC will summarise the lessons learnt from the past assessment and reflect on the implications for future assessments carried out by the IPCC. The Head of the Technical Support Unit will report on the assessment process and highlight particular challenges. Finally, WGI authors will discuss two issues regarding recent climate change: (i) the 'warming pause' observed during the past 15 years, and (ii) the role of man-made climate change in recent extreme weather events. The latest research findings are put into the context of the comprehensive assessment by IPCC completed in September 2013.
Co-Chair Working Group I, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate and Environmental Physics, University of Bern, Switzerland
Head Technical Support Unit Working Group I, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), University of Bern, Switzerland
Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK
Related scientific sessions: US4, CL1.1, CL1.2, CL1.3
THE NEW FACE OF THE MOON: SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION
Wednesday, 30 April, 13:30
Lunar science and exploration is experiencing a revival with a number of missions under study or planned for launch within the next decade from China, Europe, the US, and other countries. In this press conference, researchers will present new results from recent lunar missions, including updates on the Chinese lander Chang'e 3 and the Yutu rover. They will also talk about the latest research discoveries using data from orbiters such as NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, GRAIL (Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) and ESA's SMART-1 (Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-1), the first European mission to the moon. The panel will also discuss key questions relating to future lunar research and robotic and human exploration of the Moon.
Senior Exploration Officer, European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), European Space Agency (ESA), and Executive Director of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG)
Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University, US
GRAIL Deputy Principal Investigator, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and MIT, US
Professor, Institute of Planetology, University of Münster, Germany
Related scientific sessions: PS2.3
THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS – APPLYING GEOSCIENCE TO CROPS, COFFEE, FORENSICS AND WINE
Thursday, 1 May, 10:00
From the sustainable management of Earth's resources to the monitoring of volcanoes and landslides, the geosciences have made important contributions to society. But Earth science applications are far more wide-reaching. In this press conference, researchers will present results highlighting how the study of isotopes in human hair can further investigations of murder cases, and will report on the effects of climate change on grape quality and vine behaviour. Other panelists will explain how biochar made from coffee residues can absorb soil pollutants and how computer games can help map croplands around the globe, essential to improving estimates of future food availability.
Director, Stable Isotope Ratio Facility for Environmental Research, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, US
Researcher, Environment Quality Department, Neiker-Tecnalia, Derio, Spain
Researcher, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Greece
Group Leader, Earth Observation Systems, Ecosystems Services and Management, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Vienna, Austria
Related scientific sessions: SSS0.3, IG1, SSS9.8, ESSI1.8/EOS6
FINGERPRINTS OF LIFE: FROM THE EARLY EARTH TO OUTER SPACE
Thursday, 1 May, 11:00
Billions of years ago, cyanobacteria transformed the chemistry of our planet, a period known as the Great Oxidation Event. This episode was a pivotal point in Earth's history, opening the evolutionary door to oxygen-breathing animals. Until recently, the event was thought to have taken place 2.3-2.4 billion years ago. But recent results have pushed this milestone back, resetting the date for the origin of oxygen-releasing photosynthesis and highlighting the long-lasting and dynamic nature of the transition from an oxygen-poor to an oxygen-rich world. This press conference explores new research on when and how Earth came to have an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and discusses what the conditions for life in our planet can tell us about the possible habitability of other worlds, particularly of ocean-bearing planets.
Professor of Biogeochemistry, University of California, Riverside, US
Professor, Geology Department, University of Liège, Belgium
Post-doc, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
Related scientific sessions: BG8.1 , PS8.1/BG8.2
Note that the list above is subject to change. Please check the press conference page, or the information panels at the Vienna press centre, for the most up-to-date information.
If you can not make it to Vienna in April, you can still watch EGU press conferences online through our live webstream channel. You may also ask questions to panellists using Skype (add egu.media to your contacts) or Twitter (tag your tweets with #askEGU).
For full instructions on how to access press conferences remotely please check the Webstreaming page at http://media.egu.eu.
Videos of press conferences and Union-wide sessions will also be available on the EGU YouTube channel after the Assembly.
All sessions (over 700) and abstracts (over 15,000) are available online and fully searchable. You can access the programmeon the EGU 2014 website.
Media participants can use the meeting programme to search for abstracts or sessions they find particularly interesting. The programme is searchable by scientists' names, keywords (e.g., volcano, Antarctica), session topics (e.g., Natural Hazards, Climate: Past, Present & Future), and other parameters. Further, you can select single contributions or complete sessions from the meeting programme to generate your own personal programme.
Reporters may also find the list of papers of special interest, selected by session conveners, or the highlighted sessions/papers selected (available at http://media.egu.eu) by the media officer useful.
Union-wide sessions of interest
This year, the EGU 2014 General Assembly programme features a variety of Union-wide sessions that may be of interested to media participants. These include two Great Debates: 'Metals in our backyard: to mine or not to mine' and 'Geoengineering the climate: the way forward?', and two Union sessions: 'IPCC Climate Change 2013/2014: Findings and Lessons Learned'and 'The Face of the Earth', which is dedicated to the theme of this year's Assembly. Also of note is the session on 'The Role of Geoscientists in Public Policy', which will include the participation of Members of the European Parliament and directors of European science organisations, among others.
These Union-wide sessions will also be streamed online. However, journalists watching remotely will not be able to question the panellists.
Media registration and badge collection
Journalists, science writers and public information officers are invited to register on-site, free of charge, during the meeting. The registration counter for media participants ('Press & Media') is located in Hall Z of the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) near the main registration area. This is also where you can collect your badge if you have registered online.
Media registration gives access to the Press Centre and other meeting rooms and includes a public transportation ticket, the information and schedules book and a USB flash drive with the abstracts presented at the General Assembly, as well as extra material regarding this year's meeting theme. Media participants also have access to high-speed Internet (LAN and WLAN) and complimentary breakfast, lunch, coffee and refreshments at the Press Centre.
For information on accommodation and travel, please refer to the appropriate sections of the EGU 2014 General Assembly website http://www.egu2014.eu. The ACV, where the Assembly is taking place, is located in Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, 1220 Vienna, Austria next to the 'Kaisermühlen/Vienna Int. Centre' subway stop (line U1).
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