General Assembly

Try something different – choose a PICO session at EGU 2017!

Try something different – choose a PICO session at EGU 2017!

Some of the sessions scheduled for the upcoming EGU General Assembly are PICO only sessions. This means that, rather than being oral or poster format, they involve Presenting Interactive COntent (PICO). The aim of these presentations is to highlight the essence of a particular research area – just enough to get the audience excited about a topic without overloading them with information.

What’s great about this format is that it combines the best of oral and poster presentations.  It allows researchers to stand up and be recognised for great research while giving an oral contribution as well as discussing their work in detail and networking with other participants.

PICO sessions start with a series of 2 minute long presentations – one from each author. They can be a Power Point, a movie, an animation, or simply a PDF showing your research on a display. After the 2 minute talks, the audience can explore each presentation on touch screens, where authors are also available to answer questions and discuss their research in more detail.

Presenting a PICO for the first time can be daunting, so we’ve prepared a guide which talks you through the format step-by-step. It’s packed with practical tips on the best layout for your PICO, how to capture the audience’s attention in just two minutes and how to get the most out of the discussion at the interactive screen.

And don’t forget, as of the 2016 General Assembly, PICO presentations are part of the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Awards. To be considered for the OSPP award, you must be the first author and personally present the PICO at the conference:

  • being a current undergraduate (e.g., BSc) or postgraduate (e.g., MSc, PhD) student;
  • being a recent undergraduate or postgraduate student (conferral of degree after 1 January of the year preceding the conference) who are presenting their thesis work.

Entering couldn’t be easier! Make sure you nominate yourself when you submit your abstract on-line. You’ll receive a letter, known as ‘Letter of Schedule’, confirming your presentation has been accepted, which will also include a link by which to register for the award. Before the conference, make sure you include the OSPP label (which you can find here) to your PICO presentation header so that the judges of the OSPP award now to evaluate your presentation.

To learn more about PICO presentations see the General Assembly website or download the How to make a PICO guide. For a first-hand account of what it’s like to take part in a PICO session, take a look at this post by early career scientists in the Seismology Division too.  Finally, you can also check out the short introductory video below:

Imaggeo on Mondays: Isolated storm

Imaggeo on Mondays: Isolated storm

Clouds and storms are formed when warm, moist air rises. This causes the air to expand and cool: forming clouds as the moisture condenses onto particles suspended in the air (called cloud condensation nuclei). Normally, air rises from surface heating, or when warm and cold air pockets collide, or if air is pushed upwards when passing over hills or mountains. If this heating, and subsequent rising, is rapid enough then thunderstorms can form.

This imaggeo on Mondays photo shows an isolated thunderstorm roughly 50 km North of Vienna. The difference between an isolated thunderstorm and scattered storms is how much coverage the clouds have over a given area. If less than 10-20 % is covered then these storms are described as isolated. Scattered storms occur when coverage is at least 30-50 %. These storms can lead to downpours lasting a few minutes that then leads to sunny spells, only to have another rain storm occur again shortly afterwards.1

Globally, there are roughly 16 million thunderstorms each year, and at any given moment, there are ~2,000 thunderstorms in progress.2 The visible dark grey anvil shape and the fact that the lighter clouds above appear to be being ‘pulled into’ the storm suggests that this is a ‘severe’ thunderstorm. This means that the storm is self-supporting3 and can cause more extreme impacts than a normal thunderstorm. Rainfall is more intense and can cause flash flooding. In some cases, hail over 2.5 cm large can fall and tornados can even be formed.4 For more information about severe thunderstorms please check out the further reading list below.

By Sarah Connors, EGU Science Policy Officer

Further reading / sources

[1] – Aerostorms Scattered vs. Thunderstorms –

[2] – Thunderstorm Basics –

[3] – Royal Meteorological Society Thunderclouds presentation –

[4] – Frequently Asked Questions About Thunderstorms –

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at

What’s new for the 2017 EGU General Assembly?

Following a record number of participants at last year’s General Assembly and feedback received, the EGU and its conference organiser Copernicus will be introducing a number of changes at the EGU 2017 General Assembly. In this post, we highlight a few of the changes that returning participants will notice at next year’s conference.

More participants means making way for more presentations, posters and PICOs! So, in 2017, when you come to register, you’ll be directed to the expanded Yellow Level, which will encompass a brand new space at the front of the conference centre. Not only will you be able to register there, it’ll also accommodate extra space for posters and two PICO spots.

The extended Yellow Level is seen in this picture from a previous conference.

The extended Yellow Level is seen in this picture from a previous conference.

With booming numbers, not only is more space needed for those presenting, but also for those who want to listen. For the 2017 General Assembly, the total seating capacity in the lecture rooms will be increase from 7998 seats (in 2016) to 9001. That represents an increase of 12.5%.

After 3 years without changes in the registration rates to the conference, this year we had to slightly adjust the weekly registration rates to partially compensate for inflation. If you register before 16 March and you are an EGU member, your weekly ticket will cost €385, an increase of 3.5% from last year’s €370. Early registration for EGU student members will cost €220, €10 more than last year. The abstract processing charge remains at €40 (€80 for late abstracts). This charge will be levied on all abstracts, with the exception of abstracts submitted by GIFT teachers to EOS sessions.

Because conferences are as much about networking and making new contacts as they are about sharing and discussing scientific advances, the ECS Lounge will also see some updates. The space will be redesigned to encourage more mingling and used to host more events and activities. Keep tuned to upcoming blog posts about ECS-specific activities at the conference for further updates.

When you make your way down to the Brown Level, you’ll also notice some changes. As well as the large EGU & Friends area, there will be three to four new, larger booths close by too. They’ll be home to some exciting exhibitors, who will no doubt liven up your visit to the basement levels.

To keep up with all the science at the conference you need to be well fueled. We’ve taken on board feedback from past conference attendees and introduced some low-budget catering options. There will also be a Biergarten outside the main entrance. Cheers!

So, now that you’ve heard about what’s new for EGU 2017, don’t miss the deadline (11 January 2017) to submit your abstract. Especially if you intend to apply for travel support, the closing date for applications is right around the corner: 1 December.

Also, don’t forget that April 23rd to 28th 2017 is a busy time in Vienna. Not only are we expecting 12000+ Earth, space and planetary scientists to descend on the city for EGU 2017, the Vienna Marathon takes place on 22 April (don’t forget your running shoes), and another 10000 participant conference is taking place the same week in a different location. Therefore, we strongly recommend booking accommodation as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you in Vienna!


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