GeoLog

EGU GA 2018

Educators: apply now to take part in the 2018 GIFT workshop!

Educators: apply now to take part in the 2018 GIFT workshop!

The General Assembly is not only for researchers but for teachers and educators with an interest in the geosciences also. Every year the Geosciences Information For Teachers (GIFT) is organised by the EGU Committee on Education to bring first class science closer to primary and high school teachers.

The topic of the 2018 edition of GIFT is ‘Major events that shaped the Earth’. This year’s workshop will be taking place on 9–11 April 2018 at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, Austria.

Teachers from Europe and around the world can apply to participate in the 2018 edition of GIFT, and to receive a travel and accommodation stipend to attend the workshop, by November 15. Application information is available for download in PDF format, a document which also includes the preliminary programme of the workshop.

Not sure what to expect? More information about GIFT workshops can be found in the GIFT section of the EGU website. You can also take a look at a blog post about the 2015 workshop and also learn what the workshop is like from a teacher’s perspective here. You might also find videos of the 2017 workshop useful too.

 

August GeoRoundUp: the best of the Earth sciences from around the web

August GeoRoundUp: the best of the Earth sciences from around the web

Drawing inspiration from popular stories on our social media channels, as well as unique and quirky research news, this monthly column aims to bring you the best of the Earth and planetary sciences from around the web.

Major Stories

On August 25th Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the southern coast of the U.S.A, bringing record breaking rainfall, widespread flooding and a natural disaster on a scale not seen in the country for a long time. In fact, it’s the first time since 2005 a major hurricane has threatened mainland U.S.A. – a record long period.

But Harvey’s story began long before it brought destruction to Texas and Louisiana.

On August 17th,the National Space Agency (NASA) satellite’s first spotted a tropical depression forming off the coast of the Lesser Antilles. From there the storm moved into the eastern Caribbean and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Harvey where it already started dropping very heavy rainfall. By August 21st, it had fragmented into disorganised thunderstorms and was spotted near Honduras, where heavy local rainfall and gusty winds were predicted.

Over the next few days the remnants of the storm travelled westwards towards Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. Forecasters predicted that, owing to warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and favorable vertical wind shear, there was a high chance the system could reform once it moved into the Bay of Campeche (in the southern area of the Gulf of Mexico) on August 23rd. By August 24th data acquired with NASA satellites showed Harvey had began to intensify and reorganise. Heavy rainfall was found in the system.

Harvey continued to strengthen as it traveled across the Gulf of Mexico and weather warnings were issued for the central coast of Texas. Citizens were told to expect life-threatening storm surges and freshwater flooding. On August 25th, Harvey was upgraded to a devastating Category 4 hurricane, when sustained wind speeds topped 215 kph.

Since making landfall on Friday and stalling over Texas (Louisiana is also affected) – despite being downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakened – it has broken records of it’s own. “No hurricane, typhoon, or tropical storm, in all of recorded history, has dropped as much water on a single major city as Hurricane Harvey is in the process of doing right now in Houston (Texas)”, reports Forbes. In fact, the National Weather Service had to update the colour charts on their graphics in order to effectively map it. This visualisation maps Harvey’s destructive path through Texas.

A snaptshot from the tweet by the official Twitter account for NOAA’s National Weather Service.

So far the death toll is reported to be between 15 to 23 people, with the Houston Police Chief saying 30,000 people are expected to need temporary shelter and 2,000 people in the city had to be rescued by emergency services (figures correct at time of writing).

Many factors contributed toward making Hurricane Harvey so destructive. “The steering currents that would normally lift it out of that region aren’t there,” J. Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, told the New York Times. The storm surge has blocked much of the drainage which would take rainfall away from inland areas. And while it isn’t possible to say climate change caused the hurricane, “it has contributed to making it worse”, says Michael E Mann. The director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University argues that rising sea levels and ocean water temperatures in the region (brought about by climate change) contributed to greater rainfall and flooding.

A man carries his cattle on his shoulder as he moves to safer ground at Topa village in Saptari. Credit: The Guardian.

While all eyes are on Houston, India, Bangladesh and Nepal are also suffering the consequences of devastating flooding brought about a strong monsoon. The United Nations estimates that 41 million people are affected by the disaster across the three countires. Over 1200 people are reported dead. Authorities are stuggling with the scale of the humanitarian crisis: “Their most urgent concern is to accessing safe water and sanitation facilities,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said earlier this week, citing national authorities. And its not only people at risk. Indian authorities reported large swathes of a famous wildlife reserve park have been destroyed. In Mumbai, the downpour caused a building to collapse killing 12 people and up to 25 more are feared trapped.Photo galleries give a sense of the scale of the disaster.

Districts affected by flooding. Credit: Guardian graphic | Source: ReliefWeb. Data as of 29 August 2017

What you might have missed

In fact, it’s highly unlikely you missed the coverage of this month’s total solar eclipse over much of Northern America. But on account of it being the second biggest story this month, we felt it couldn’t be left out of the round-up. We particularly like this photo gallery which boasts some spectacular images of the astronomical event.

This composite image, made from seven frames, shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming. Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Since the end of July, wildfires have been raging in southwest Greenland. While small scale fires are not unheard of on the island otherwise known for its thick ice cap and deep fjords, the fires this month are estimated to extend over 1,200 hectares. What started the fires remains unknown, as do the fuel sources and the long-term impacts of the burn.

The U.S.A’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlighted that the fires are a source of sooty “black carbon”. As the ash falls on the pristine white ice sheet, it turns the surface black, which can make it melt faster. Greenland police recently reported that unexpected rain haf all but extinguished the massive fires; though the situation continues to be monitored, as smouldering patches run the risk of reigniting the flames.

 

 

 

Links we liked

The EGU story

Do you enjoy the EGU’s annual General Assembly but wish you could play a more active role in shaping the scientific programme? Now is your chance! Help shape the scientific programme of EGU 2018.

From today, until 8 Sep 2017, you can suggest:

  • Sessions (with conveners and description), or;
  • Modifications to the existing skeleton programme sessions
  • NEW! Suggestions for Short courses (SC) will also take place during this period
  • From now until 18 January 2018, propose Townhall and splinter meetings

And don’t forget! To stay abreast of all the EGU’s events and activities, from highlighting papers published in our open access journals to providing news relating to EGU’s scientific divisions and meetings, including the General Assembly, subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter.

 

Organise a short course at EGU 2018: follow this simple guide!

Organise a short course at EGU 2018: follow this simple guide!

From supercharging your scientific skills, to boarding your base in science communication or picking up tips on how to boost your career – be it in academia or outside – short courses can be one of the highlights of the General Assembly programme.

But, did you know that any EGU member (you!) can propose a short course? You’ve got until 8 September 2017 to complete the application. This quick guide, will give you some pointers for submitting and organising your own short course at EGU 2018!

Before you even put pen to paper and plan your workshop, remember that the courses should provide a forum to teach your General Assembly peers something of interest. This means that courses should, preferably, not be connected, or only loosely connected, to any of the programme groups and should be designed to be open to all conference participants.

Planning your short course

As the organiser, you are free to choose the content and set-up of the course. But the content should be of interest to (a subset of) the community that the EGU represents!  The decision as to whether your course will be included in the final conference programme is made by the Programme Group Chairs: the ECS Union representative and Sam Illingworth.

To submit your course, you’ll need:

  • a title and a short description
  • the details of the course organiser

You also have the option to co-organise your course with a scientific division(s) (meaning it’ll appear in the both the Short Course Programme Group and that of your favored division(s)). You might consider doing this if your workshop is aimed at a specific community, as well as being of broad appeal.

Choosing a time-slot

An innovation introduce last year and available for EGU 2018 is that short courses can now be run on the Sunday before the conference official opens, as well as throughout the General Assembly week (please note that the Sunday slots will be given preferentially to day-long workshops). Make sure you add a note in the comments section if you’d like your course scheduled on Sunday.

The logistics

All short course rooms come complete with a microphone, a data projector, a notebook, and a VGA switch to use up to three individual notebooks in addition to the permanently-installed notebook of that room.

Usually, short course rooms have no technical assistants, but should you need support, don’t forget to indicate that on the request form!

If you require participants to register in advance of the course, it is your responsibility, as the organiser, to coordinate this. Be sure to include a registration email address or a Doodle link in the description of the short course, so potential participants know how to sing-up.

Food and drink can liven up any meeting! Should you wish to provide catering throughout your workshop (at your own expense), please get in touch with the General Assembly caterer (Motto Catering) before 31 March 2018.

Dos & Don’ts

  • Do make skills/abilities related to science and research the focus of your workshop
  • Do aim to provide training in skills needed by people working in science
  • Do promote your short course
  • Do make your course interactive or include hands-on activities (if possible)
  • Do let participants know (via the description) if they’ll need to bring along materials (e.g. laptop, tablet, specific software) to participate in the course
  • Do allow time for questions

 

  • Don’t invite too many speakers
  • Don’t engage in commercial activities during the course (e.g. sales)
  • Don’t charge admission fees or course fees – these are strictly prohibited

For a full list of guidelines head over to the EGU 2018 website. If you have questions about submitting a short course request please contact the Programme Group Chairs or the EGU’s Communication Officer, Laura Roberts.

Help shape the conference programme: Interdisciplinary Events at the 2018 General Assembly

Help shape the conference programme: Interdisciplinary Events at the 2018 General Assembly

Do you enjoy the EGU’s annual General Assembly but wish you could play a more active role in shaping the scientific programme? Now is your chance! But hurry, the session submission deadline is fast approaching. You’ve got until September 8th to propose changes.

As well as the standard scientific sessions, subdivided by Programme Groups, EGU coordinates Interdisciplinary Events (IE) at the conference. Their aim is to foster and facilitate exchange of knowledge across scientific divisions. IE typically tackle a common theme through an interdisciplinary combination of approaches.

The Earth, oceans and even space are interconnected in many different ways; rarely can one system be perturbed without others being affected too.

If interdisciplinarity is important to you and your work, know that you too can co-organise your session as an Interdisciplinary Event. Read on to discover how!

The skeleton programme for the 2018 General Assembly currently features four IE themes:

  • IE1: Life in the Earth system
  • IE2: From palaeo-timescales to future projections
  • IE3: New imaging technologies in the Geosciences
  • IE4: Big data

Sessions within each of these IE themes will be scheduled closely together, to foster cross-division links and collaborations.

To propose a session in one of the planned Interdisciplinary themes, follow these simple steps:

  • Visit the IE pages on the EGU 2018 website
  • Suggest a new session (within one of the four IE themes)
  • Choose a Programme Group that will be the scientific leader. For example, if you choose BG, your session will be listed in the programme as IE/BG
  • Suggest more Programme Groups for co-organisation in the comment box

Wondering whether your session would fit as an IE? Just ask IE Programme Group officers, Peter van der Beek (gm@egu.eu) or Susanne Buiter (programme.committee@egu.eu).

Peter and Susanne, are looking forward to a strong interdisciplinary programme at the 2018 General Assembly. But they need your help to achieve this!

You can also find more information about the call for sessions (and the organisation of the scientific programme in general) on the EGU 2018 website.

The EGU’s 2018 General Assembly, takes place in Vienna from 8 to 13 April, 2018. For more news about the upcoming General Assembly, you can also follow the offical hashtag, #EGU18, on our social media channels.

 

 

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