GeoLog

EGU GA 2017

Science is in fashion!

Sandra and Rolf model their REpost fashion at EGU 2017. Credit: Kai Boggild/EGU

Sandra and Rolf model their REpost fashion at EGU 2017. Credit: Kai Boggild/EGU

Back in August last year EGU’s Laura Roberts-Artal chatted with Sandra de Vries to discuss her new company REpost, which recycles old fabric conference posters into new products, such as bags or even clothes!

Today at the European Geoscience Union General Assembly, we caught up with Sandra and one of her satisfied customers, Dr Rolf Hut from TU Delft to find out what REpost has been up to in the last year.

Hi Sandra! First of all, can you give us a reminder of what REpost is all about?

So I started REpost three years ago when I was a masters student in hydrology water management at TU Delft and I was a poster assistant, here at EGU and I had to throw away the conference posters at the end of the day, which people apparently didn’t want to have any more. And I thought it was a sad thing because I could do so much more fun things with them. So actually I didn’t throw them away, I kept them and I made them into a beach bag and a dress, for fun, and they actually looked pretty awesome! I even made a hydrological pencil skirt and I did my thesis presentation wearing it!

Since Laura spoke to you last year, what has been happening with REpost poster?

At the end of my Masters I realised that I still want to do work on research, I want to do hydrology, I want to stay in the water sector, but I had to balance that with running REpost. So, what I did was I started contacting these ‘social working places’, which are places where you work together with disabled people or with people coming back into working society and these working places found a very good way of making, for example this bag, which is a sample version. Now I’m kind of facilitating for anyone who wants to REpost or upcycle their poster into something else and I do it together with those working places.

Then of course after the EGU said ‘wow, this is a good idea and if you want you can promote the idea at the EGU’, then I knew that I had a pilot location and I knew that I could actually see if people were interested in this. And I started kind of figuring out if indeed it was possible: can I do this with social working places, can I do it logistically, can I make my own website, you know? Whilst still doing my other jobs.

From your experience, what kinds of posters work best for REposting?

It is like with normal posters actually, the more visuals you have, the more it is eye catching. So for example indeed you said, you have the fish, that’s something that people look at. Or for example if you have the back side this is also something that people say ‘Hey what’s that?’ It’s like a graph, and there’s a map, what’s on the map, you know? And then people start asking you about your research because that’s actually what I found out is the most fun about it because you have the recycling part, which is nice, but I really think that you could show your scientific message on such a nice and more cool way and you can reach more people than just conference people, you can reach your neighbour and tell them about research and your research and make it more reachable for anybody in the world! That’s what I really like about it.

Doctor Engineer Dr. Ir. Rolf Hut is a MacGyver geoscientist specialising in hydrological data and sensor design. Today he is wearing one of REpost’s upcycled outfits to present his poster on programmable off-the-shelf GPS loggers that can be used and recovered in large river experiments.

So, Rolf, why did you want a data suit made by Sandra?

Well I really loved Sandra’s idea of being able to reuse posters, a lot of people take fabric posters with them, I’ve used them in the past and then whenever we have the opportunity. So last week in the Netherlands I was presenting something at an event where our former queen and some princesses would be, as well as a lot of press and so I thought it would be awesome to be able to show something that you made! Then Sandra just came over to me, “we should just do a suit!” So we just made a complete suit, this one [that Rolf is wearing], and then it went awesome, because they loved it. It got attention because they come to you, because it’s weird! So you explain what it is.. and then you get the opportunity to just give them a soldering iron and say ‘now you are going to make something’, right there. That was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed that.

If anyone is interested in upcycling their poster, Sandra has some useful advice:

Really look at the type of material if you want to REpost it; I recommend flag sheet, it might be a little see-through, but it is very flexible and very cheap and then we can do anything you want with it!

 

Contact REpost via email here, visit the website, on Twitter [@REpost_poster] or you can leave your poster at a facility desk, where you can fill in a form with your request for upcycling.

Interview by Hazel Gibson and video by Kai Boggild, Press Assistants at EGU 2017 General Assembly

 

Extraordinary iridescent clouds inspire Munch’s ‘The Scream’

Screaming clouds

Edvard Munch’s series of paintings and sketches ‘The Scream’ are some of the most famous works by a Norwegian artist, instantly recognisable and reproduced the world over. But what was the inspiration behind this striking piece of art?

The lurid colours and tremulous lines have long been thought to represent Munch’s unstable state of mind; a moment of terror caught in shocking technicolour. At the same time, scientists have recently identified the connection between the great works of artists such as William Turner and the red and orange sunsets which can be a result of the global impact of volcanic aerosols. However, research presented this week at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna by atmospheric scientists in Oslo Norway, suggests that the painting might show us evidence of something much stranger, and rarer – nacreous clouds.

Nacreous or mother-of-pearl clouds, are an extremely rare form of cloud created 20-30km above sea level – in the polar stratosphere when the air is extremely cold (between -80 and -85 degrees centigrade) and exceptionally humid,. So far observed mostly in the Scandinavian countries, these clouds are formed of microscopic and uniform particles of ice, orientated into thin clouds. When the sun is below the horizon (before sunrise or after sunset), these clouds are illuminated in a surprisingly vibrant way blazing across the sky in swathes of red, green, blue and silver. They have a distinctive wavy structure as the clouds are formed in the lee-waves behind mountains.

In 2014, these clouds were seen again over the skies of Oslo and given their extreme colouration and unexpected appearance, a photographer, Svein Fikke, immediately thought of Munch’s work. This perceived similarity between the mother of pearl clouds and the striking clouds and sense of tension in the painting is only reinforced when reading Munch’s writings about his experiences on the day that inspired the painting.

“I went along the road with two friends – the sun set

I felt like a breath of sadness –

– The sky suddenly became bloodish red

I stopped, leant against the fence, tired to death – watched over the

Flaming clouds as blood and sword

The city – the blue-black fjord and the city

– My friends went away – I stood there shivering from dread – and

I felt this big, infinite scream through nature”

                            Edvard Munch’s Diary Notes 1890-1892 (Tøjner and Gundersen, 2013)

Scientists have, in the past, used artworks to infer environmental conditions; from paintings of the ‘frost fairs’ held on the River Thames that show the gradual environmental change in Europe, to the discovery that several artists depict the influence of volcanic aerosols on global atmosphere in their paintings.

In a study conducted in 2007 (and 2014), scientists found that the visible impact that volcanic aerosols have on the atmosphere has in fact been recorded in the works of many of the great masters – particularly William Turner (Zerefos et al, 2007)). Several of Turner’s paintings depict sunsets with a distinct red/orange hue, distinct from his usual work of other years. This was correlated with significant volcanic eruptions in the same time period and the researchers found that these reddish paintings were all created in the years of, or immediately following, a major eruption (shown in the graph below).

Graph to show the relationship between colour and volcanic aerosols (a)The mean annual value of R/G measured on 327 paintings. (b)The percentage increase from minimum R/G value shown in (a). (c)The corresponding Dust Veil Index (DVI). The numbered picks correspond to different eruptions as follows: 1. 1642 (Awu, Indonesia-1641), 2. 1661 (Katla, Iceland-1660), 3. 1680 (Tongkoko and Krakatau, Indonesia-1680), 4. 1784 (Laki, Iceland-1783), 5. 1816 (Tambora, Indonesia-1815), 6. 1831 (Babuyan, Philippines-1831), 7. 1835 (Coseguina, Nicaragua-1835). 8. 1883 (Krakatau, Indonesia-1883). From Zerefos et al (2007).

For many years ‘The Scream’ was thought to also show the influence of a volcanic eruption, most likely the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 (described here by Volcanologist David Pyle), but whereas volcanic skies tend to tint the whole sky a red/orange, the skies in the scream have a distinct pattern, only seen in these extremely rare nacreous clouds.

How rare are they? Well, researcher Dr Helene Muri, a researcher based at the University of Oslo, who presented the research at the press conference, said that in her lifetime living mostly in Norway as an atmospheric researcher she has only seen them once. And what about Munch’s feeling of dread and ‘breath of sadness’?

Well, having a glowing swathe of iridescent petrol coloured clouds flare into bright relief after sunset, only for them to disappear 30 minutes later would be pretty shocking for any of us, even in our modern days of fluorescent streetlamps and light polluted skies.

By Hazel Gibson, EGU Press Assistant at the EGU 2017 General Assembly

Head on over to the EGU Booth!

Head on over to the EGU Booth!

You can find the EGU Booth in Hall X2 on the Brown Level. This is the place to come if you’d like to meet members of EGU Council and Committees (Meet EGU) and find out more about EGU activities.

Here you can discover the EGU’s 17 open access journals, browse the EGU blogs (GeoLog, the EGU Blog Network and the EGU Division Blogs), catch up on the conference Twitter feed, and more! We will also be giving away beautiful geosciences postcards, which the EGU will post for you free of charge.

Beside the booth you’ll also find the finalists in the EGU Photo Contest, make sure you vote for your favourite images!  You’ll also find the Assembly Job Spot – be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a job in the geosciences, or someone to fill as spot in your research group.

If you have any questions about the EGU, or want to be more involved in the Union, come and ask us, we’re happy to help!

At the Assembly 2017: Wednesday Highlights

At the Assembly 2017: Wednesday Highlights

We’re halfway through the General Assembly already! Once again there is lots on offer at EGU 2017 and this is just a taster – be sure to complement this information with EGU Today, the daily newsletter of the General Assembly, available both in paper and for download here.

The day kicks off with an interdisciplinary Union-wide session: Vegetation-climate interactions across time scales (US1, 08:30–12:00 in E2, followed by posters from 13:30 to 15:00 in Hall X4). It will bring together palaeocologists, ecophysiologists, geoscientists and climate scientists to explore the different processes through which plants interact with the climate system across timescales. You can also follow the session on Twitter (#EGU17SSE) and catch up with the EGU 2017 webstream.

The second of our Great Debates is also on today. It is particularly gear towards Early Career Scientists (ECS). Head to room G1 from 19:00 to 20:30 to discuss, in a series of small group debates, whether ECS should be judged by their publication record? There will be free drinks provided to help lubricate the conversation. You can follow the discussion on Twitter with #EGU17GDB, and, #EGUecs.

Another highlight of today’s events is the EGU Award Ceremony (US0). Come and celebrate the recipients of the 2017 awards and medals from 17:00 in room E1.

Another promising event set for today is the EGU Award Ceremony, where the achievements of many outstanding scientists will be recognised in an excellent evening event from 17:30–19:00 in Room E1. Here are some of the lectures being given by these award-winning scientists:

The EGU Early Career Scientists’ Forum (12:15–13:15 in L2) is the best place to find out more about the Union and how to get involved. Because the EGU is a bottom up organisation, we are keen to hear your suggestions on how to make ECS related activities even better. There will be plenty of opportunities during the Forum for you to provide feedback.  It’s over lunch, so you’ll find a buffet of sandwiches and soft drinks when you arrive too!

There are a host of interdisciplinary events taking place today. If you are interested in big data and machine learning in the geosciences head to Room L2 at 08:30 for orals, or poster hall X4 at 17:30 for further discussion later in day. While session IE3.1/BG9.58: Information extraction from satellite Earth observations using data-driven methods (13:30–15:00 / Room L2, Poster:17:30–19:00 / Hall X4), is also set to be thought-provoking. Check the conference programme, our EGU Today, for details of a further two events spanning the cryospheric, atmospheric and ocean sciences.

There are more short courses than ever at EGU 2017! (Credit: EGU/Stephanie McClellan)

Now on to short courses! Today offers the opportunity to learn some tips for winning grant proposals with Open Science (SC74: 08:30–12:00 / Room -2.85). Don’t worry if you can’t make it today, it runs again tomorrow at the same time and place. Perhaps you’ve considered showcasing the fruits of your research in an informative science film, but are struggling to identify where you can find the funds to make the film happen. Then the workshop on finding funding for your science film is just the ticket (SC78:10:30–12:00 / Room 0.90). If instead you feel blogging might be the best way to make your work accessible to a broad audience, come along to the short course on the nuts & bolts of blogging with WordPress where you can pick up a tonne of tips to get you started. If you work in the field of natural hazards you can learn how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used for monitoring (SC53: 15:30-17:00 / Room -2.61). Writing your first paper can be daunting, so head to room N2 at 17:30 to develop successful strategies to design, develop and write a scientific paper (SC92:17:30–19:00 / Room N2)

And check out some of today’s stimulating scientific sessions:

Finally, remember to take the opportunity to meet your division’s representatives in the day’s Meet EGU sessions and, if you’ve had enough of the formalities, head on over to GeoCinema, where you’ll find some great Earth science films, including the finalists of EGU’s Communicate Your Science Video Competition. Make sure to vote on your favourite entries by ‘liking’ the videos on the EGU YouTube channel.

Have an excellent day!

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