Hannah L. Cloke receiving the 2018 Plinius Medal established by the Natural Hazards Division.
From 14th to the 20th October a number of countries across the globe celebrate Earth Science Week, so it is a fitting time to celebrate the exceptional work of Earth, planetary and space scientist around the world.
This week, the EGU announced the 45 recipients of next year’s Union Medals and Awards, Division Medals, and Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Awards. The aim of the awards is to recognise the efforts of the awardees in furthering our understanding of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The prizes will be handed out during the EGU 2019 General Assembly in Vienna on 7-12 April. Head over to the EGU website for the full list of awardees.
Sixteen out of the total 45 awards went to early career scientists who are recognised for the excellence of their work at the beginning of their academic career. Twelve of the awards were given at division level but four early career scientists were recognised at Union level, highlighting the quality of the research being carried out by the early stage researcher community within the EGU.
Sixteen out of the 45 awards conferred this year recognised the work of female scientists. Of those, six were given to researchers in the early stages of their academic career.
As a student (be it at undergraduate, masters, or PhD level), at the EGU 2018 General Assembly, you might have entered the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Awards. A total of 64 poster contributions by early career researchers were bestowed with a OSPP award this year recognising the valuable and important work carried out by budding geoscientists. Judges took into account not only the quality of the research presented in the posters, but also how the findings were communicated both on paper and by the presenters. Follow this link for a full list of awardees.
Further information regarding how to nominate a candidate for a medal and details on the selection of candidates can be found on the EGU webpages. For details of how to enter the OSPP Award see the procedure for application, all of which takes place during the General Assembly, so it really couldn’t be easier to put yourself forward!
Meet Nilay Dogulu, the current ECS Representative for the Hydrological Sciences Division, in front of her poster at EGU 2014. Credit: Nilay Dogulu.
In addition to the usual GeoTalk interviews, where we highlight the work and achievements of early career researchers, this month we’ll also introduce one of the Division early career scientist representatives (ECS). They are responsible for ensuring that the voice of EGU ECS membership is heard. From organising short courses during the General Assembly, through to running and attending regular ECS representative meetings, their tasks in this role are varied. Their role is entirely voluntary and they are all active members of their research community, so we’ll also be touching on their scientific work during the interview.
Today we are talking to Nilay Dogulu, ECS representative for the Hydrological Sciences (HS) Division and past chair of the Young Hydrologic Society.
Before we get stuck in, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little more about yourself, your involvement with EGU and how you became interested in hydrology?
I am a PhD candidate at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, researching clustering methods for data-driven hydrology at the Water Resources Laboratory. This year I attended the General Assembly (GA) in Vienna for the fifth time in a row. Since 2014, the Assembly has been the one and only conference that I have persistently and willingly participated in. The Hydrological Sciences (HS) division’s scientific programme at the GA had a special role in shaping my career as a researcher, so I would like to share my journey in the hydrological sciences lightened up by the EGU GA and its HS community.
First, little about me. I am a civil engineer by training. I was a third year (BSc) student at METU (ODTU) when I took the course “Engineering Hydrology.” It was the first time I learned about the terms catchment, basin and hydrograph. In that very semester I had the opportunity to participate in the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul. That was it. I was determined to specialize in water for my future career.
To broaden my understanding of hydrological processes and gain a critical view of the latest hydrology topics, I gathered the courage—as only a BSc student at the time—to attend the 6th National Hydrology Congress and the 2nd National Flood Symposium. Then a three-month internship at the State Hydraulic Works of Turkey introduced me to the wider community of hydrological sciences in the world.
My class notes from the Engineering Hydrology course back in March 2009 (Credit: Nilay Dogulu)
In Fall 2011, I joined the FLOODRisk Master to study floods, from modelling them to understanding their socio-economic effects. This two-years programme enriched my academic background on flood risk management and provided me with different insights into water-related problems.
Could you tell me about your first experience with the EGU General Assembly?
With EGU HS Division president Elena Toth (right) and president-elect Maria-Helena Ramos (left) at EGU 2018
The EGU GA brings together researchers from all around the world. The EGU Hydrological Sciences Division is EGU’s largest division with a diverse and comprehensive scientific programme at the GA, large enough to fill in the whole second (red) floor of the conference venue.
The EGU HS division is a great platform aimed at addressing current research challenges in hydrology. During the GA, one can follow up with the latest research on various topics within these areas and network with members (of all stages) of this great community. At the 2018 EGU GA, hydrological sciences programme had 2350 abstracts submitted to 91 HS-lead sessions (66 oral and poster sessions, 6 poster only sessions, 19 PICO sessions)—equivalent to 13.5% of total EGU GA submissions.
Given this, I was very motivated to experience the General Assembly for the first time! I submitted an abstract summarizing part of my MSc research—on predictive uncertainty estimation for flood forecasting using data-driven modelling techniques; and once it was accepted, I started to get ready for EGU and Vienna! Flight and accommodation booked, poster printed, weekly conference schedule prepared. This was the first poster presentation of my career and I was quite excited. Luckily, all went really well.
EGU Hydrological Sciences Division
I remember having a busy week at EGU 2014: from presenting my first poster, working on a manuscript with my co-authors, as well as attending project meetings, sessions on flood forecasting and flood risk management, and short courses organized by the Young Hydrologic Society (YHS).
There were many interested people visiting my poster and asking questions. There were many posters I visited too—I have to admit, sometimes I asked so many questions that the presenters thought I was an OSPP Award judge.
Throughout the week I listened presentations, many of which were given by researchers I cited in my master’s thesis. Matching the papers with authors’ faces was amazingly so much fun! Moreover, I arranged a small meeting with my co-authors to discuss the manuscript draft (which has been later published in HESS) that we had only been working on remotely before then.
At the time, I was also working for the EU-FP7 project ASTARTE (Assessment, STrategy And Risk Reduction for Tsunamis in Europe). The EGU GA is an excellent time for research project teams, editorial boards of journals, etc. to schedule meetings. ASTARTE team (26 partners from 16 countries) also took this opportunity to meet up to discuss the progress following the project’s first 6-months period. During this meeting, I presented one of the very important deliverables of the project which focused on tsunami resilience from a social sciences perspective.
On the Saturday after the conference there was the Vienna Catchment Science Symposium organized by the Vienna University of Technology Centre for Water Resources Systems. It proved to be a very enlightening symposium for a young hydrologist.
Sounds like a great first experience! How has your time at the GA changed over the years?
After enjoying the academic fun of EGU 2014, I wanted to come back to Vienna for EGU 2015. Another reason was that I was very curious why people were heading to the conference venue on the very last hours of the last day (Friday): I left around 5 pm and many people were coming out of metro!
Without any hesitation, I decided to attend EGU 2016 and EGU 2017 in the next years. Although I didn’t have any presentations in 2016, listening to presentations covering my research interests helped me stay updated and synthesise various perspectives on overarching problems in hydrology. The sessions kept me thinking about some questions that had been tingling my mind—which later became the research questions in my PhD thesis proposal.
At EGU 2017, my poster presentation was a literature review on application of clustering methods in hydrology, and actually it attracted more people than I expected. EGU poster sessions provide an excellent way to bring together early career researchers while they stand in front of their posters, paving the way for interesting discussions.
Memories from EGU 2017
My fifth year at the EGU GA last April was great too: including two posters, sessions to co-/convene, YHS events (from short courses to PICO sessions), the EGU ECS Representatives Workshop, YHS Hydrodrinks, the HS division meeting, medal lectures and many other activities. Being an experienced EGU GA participant, I also served as a mentor as part of the EGU mentoring programme designed to help novice conference attendees navigate their first EGU experience.
Almost forgot! On Friday evening, the conveners’ reception (and party, with a different theme every year) takes place at the ACV.
In addition to being an EGU ECS representative, you also are involved with the Young Hydrologic Society (YHS). Could you tell me more about this organisation and your role in YHS?
YHS is a bottom-up initiative that aims to help early career hydrologists interact and actively participate within the hydrological sciences community and beyond. We are a group of motivated PhDs and postdocs who enjoy serving our very own community, considering the needs and interests of young hydrologists.
The YHS is most actively involved with the EGU GA, where we organizing short courses, scientific sessions and social events. The full list of all events that YHS has organized for the EGU GA since 2013 can be found on the YHS webpage. The open call for session proposals for EGU GA 2019 has just closed (deadline 6 September) – there have been quite a number short course submissions (in cooperation with YHS) that will play a significant role in shaping the HS programme for ECSs. YHS Hydrodrinks event held annually at the EGU GA is now a 5-year-old tradition where we meet our new team members. If you are planning to come to EGU 2019, don’t miss the chance to meet fellow hydrologists at the Hydrodrinks (however, please note that this is not a sponsored event). Contributing to the academic and social development of early career hydrologists by organising activities at the EGU GA is a unique and rewarding experience, so get involved!
YHS Hydrodrinks at EGU 2014 (Credit: The waiter)
I joined YHS after meeting the team at EGU 2014. Since then I couldn’t help myself but contribute to the aims of the society in many ways—like organizing short courses at conferences (e.g. Hydroinformatics for Hydrology at the EGU GA), managing and contributing to the YHS Blog (Streams of Thought and Hallway Conversations), and acting as a Board member (secretary 2015-16, chair 2016-17).
Right: EGU 2018 Poster 1—Clustering approaches for analysing similarity in ungauged catchments: input variable selection for hydrological predictions Left: EGU 2018 Poster 2—Input variable selection for hydrological predictions in ungauged catchments: with or without clustering? Bottom Centre: YHS team at EGU 2018 (with only a few missing! It is not east to arrange a common time for everyone, even for a group photo)
I also took over the role of EGU ECS Rep for HS division from Shaun Harrigan at EGU 2017. Being elected as the EGU ECS Rep, I became more enthusiastic about advancing the hydrologic science community equally (and globally) in support of, primarily, the ECS. The ECS Rep is expected to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth of the EGU HS division by fostering the active participation and integration of ECS and the hydrologic science community globally under the umbrella of EGU, keeping in mind the necessity of creating equal opportunities for ECS to enhance their research and communication skills.
EGU ECS Reps at the EGU GA 2018
The ECS Rep for HS division works in close collaboration with YHS to initiate and support inspirational and intelligent ideas in line with the emerging needs of ECS. You also meet with ECS Reps of other EGU divisions and help the EGU community thrive together with its early career members. My term ends in April 2019. So keep your eye on EGU and YHS websites (and twitter) in early 2019—and apply to become the next EGU ECS Representative (April 2019-April 2021) for the HS division!
Do you have any parting words about your time involved with EGU?
It has been a very long post but now here are the last words. The EGU GA means seeing old friends and past professors, meeting fellow hydrologists and listening to presentations from enthusiastic researchers… plus the annual Hydrodrinks event among many other scientific sessions and short courses organized by YHS! I am glad to serve as the EGU ECS Rep for the Hydrological Sciences division – for the wonderful and inspiring people of the red floor:)
Acknowledgements: I would like to express my sincere thanks to Young Hydrologic Society, especially to Wouter Berghuijs, Shaun Harrigan, Hannes Müller and Tim van Emmerik, for their enthusiasm and support over the last five years.
Interview by Olivia Trani, EGU Communications Officer
Today we welcome probably one of the youngest participants who attended the 2018 General Assembly, Pariphat Promduangsri, a 16-year-old science baccalaureate student at Auguste Renoir high school in Cagnes-sur-mer, France, as our guest blogger. With a deep interest in the natural world and in taking care of the environment, Pariphat was a keen participant at the conference. She gave both oral and poster presentations in sessions on Geoscience Games and on Geoethics. She enjoyed particularly the sessions on education and geoscience.
The 2018 EGU conference in April was my first time attending the General Assembly; it was the biggest gathering that I have ever been to, and I think that I was most likely one of the youngest participants ever at the EGU General Assembly. Last year, my sister, Pimnutcha, went to the 2017 General Assembly with our stepfather, David Crookall. When she got home, she told me how exciting and interesting the conference was. She also wrote a blog post for GeoLog about her experience.
This year, it was my chance to attend this conference. However, the dates were still in the school term time, so I asked my high school teachers and director if they would let me be absent from school. They agreed, and told me that it would be a great opportunity to learn many things.
My stepfather and I arrived in Vienna on the Saturday before the conference; it was not as cold as I thought it would be. On Sunday, we went to a pre-conference workshop titled ‘Communicating your research to teachers, schools and the public – interactively’ organized by Eileen van der Flier-Keller and Chris King. It was very interesting. They helped us to think more clearly about aspects of teaching geoscience and how pupils can learn more effectively.
So began an enriching and wonderful week. We attended many oral and poster sessions.
During the conference, I had the opportunity to participate in two different sessions, giving two presentations in each – one oral and three poster presentations in all.
David and I doing the oral presentation (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)
The first session that I attended was Games for geoscience (EOS17), convened by Christopher Skinner, Sam Illingworth and Rolf Hut. Here I did one oral presentation and one ready-to-play poster. This session was the very first one on the topic of geoscience games at the General Assembly, and I was lucky to be part of this momentous event. Our oral presentation was called ‘Learning from geoscience games through debrieﬁng’. I did the introduction and some passages in the middle, with the rest done by David. The main idea of our presentation was to emphasize how we may learn more effectively from games by debriefing properly; it is during the debriefing that the real learning starts. As David says, “the learning starts when the game stops”.
Left: David and I in front of the poster. Right: Explaining to Marie Piazza how to play the GWCC game. (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)
The Geoscience Games Night was organized by the conveners of Games for Geoscience. Many people brought games of all kinds to share and play, and even more people came to play. The atmosphere was one of enjoyment, socializing and learning. I played a game about the water cycle, based on the well-known board game Snakes and Ladders. It was an exciting time. At the end of the session, Sam Illingworth came to tell me that earlier in the day I did a great job for the oral presentation. I felt really happy about his compliment.
Pictures of me playing games in the Geoscience Games Night session. (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)
Individuals are given a hand of 12 cards each representing an environmental value. Here are four examples of values cards:
Water (including waterways, seas) should have similar rights as humans, implying protection by law.
Water quality must be protected and guaranteed by all people living in the same watershed. Water polluters should be punished.
All people with community responsibility (politicians, mayors, directors, managers, etc) must pass tests for basic geosciences (esp climate science) and geoethics.
Families and schools have an ethical and legal obligation to promote respect for others, for the environment, for health, for well-being and for equitable prosperity.
Individually, they then select six of the 12 cards based on importance, urgency, etc.;
Then, in small groups of three participants, they discuss their individually-selected choices from step 2. Collectively, they achieve consensus and choose only six cards for the group;
The group then continues to reach a consensus in a rank ordering of the six cards;
Debriefing about (a) the values and (b) the group process using consensus.
The second poster was titled ‘Geo-edu-ethics: Learning ethics for the Earth’. In this interactive poster, we asked participants to contribute their ideas for geoethics in education, or as we call it, geo-edu-ethics. We received excellent feedback from viewers and contributors to this poster.
Participants contributing their ideas to our poster. (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)
We must make geoethics a central part of education because it is crucial for future generations. Indeed our Geo-edu-ethics poster stated, “we need people to learn, and grow up learning, about what is right and wrong in regard to each aspect of our personal earth citizen lives. That needs nothing short of a recast in educational practice for all educational communities (schools, universities, ministries, NGOs) across the globe. It is doable, but it is urgent”.
Also, we must all realize that “education is inconceivable without ethics. Geo-education is impossible without geoethics… Geo-conferences (including the EGU) include ever greater numbers of sessions related to experiential learning. Experiential learning is at the heart of much in the geo-sciences. An already large number of simulation/games exist on a wide variety of topics in geoethics,” (extract from Learning Geoethics poster).
This explains why a conference like the General Assembly is so important. We can learn from the enriching experience provided by the conference itself, and also learn about opportunities for experiences in the field.
During the week, I went to many different sessions; I met many new people, all of whom who were friendly and down-to-earth (so to speak!). It was a pleasure to be part of the General Assembly and it is also a good opening to the professional world. The EGU allowed me to discover many great things about several fields in the geosciences and about the Earth. It was indeed an exciting time!
I would like to thank Silvia Peppoloni, Giuseppe Di Capua and their fellow co-conveners from the International Association for Promoting Geoethics and the Geological Society of London; I admire the work that they are doing. I enjoyed the evening meal with everybody at the Augustinerkeller Bitzinger in the beautiful city night of Vienna. I also wish to thank Christopher Skinner, Rolf Hut and Sam Illingworth, co-conveners of the Games for Geoscience session. They gave a wonderful opportunity to be part of their sessions and to learn more.
I also thank my high school teachers for letting me be learn outside school and in a professional setting.
I hope to see more pupils at the EGU! Please join me on LinkedIn.
by Pariphat Promduangsri
Pariphat Promduangsri is a 16-year-old science baccalaureate student at Auguste Renoir high school in Cagnes-sur-mer, France. Her native country is Thailand. She has lived in France for over four years. She speaks English, French, Italian and Thai. When she is not studying or climbing mountains (she has already done most of the Tour du Mont Blanc), she likes playing the piano. Later she will probably persue a career taking care of the environment and the Earth.
A glacier in the Sukkertoppen ice cap, southwest Greenland, flows down a rocky canyon like those mapped in Mathieu's recent work (Credit: Michael Studinger/NASA)
Geotalk is a regular feature highlighting early career researchers and their work. In this interview we speak to Mathieu Morlighem, an associate professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine who uses models to better understand ongoing changes in the Cryosphere. At the General Assembly he was the recipient of a 2018 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists.
Could you start by introducing yourself and telling us a little more about your career path so far?
Mathieu Morlighem (Credit: Mathieu Morlighem)
I am an associate professor at the University of California Irvine (UCI), in the department of Earth System Science. My current research focuses on better understanding and explaining ongoing changes in Greenland and Antarctica using numerical modelling.
I actually started glaciology by accident… I was trained as an engineer, at Ecole Centrale Paris in France, and was interested in aeronautics and space research. I contacted someone at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the US to do a six-month internship at the end of my master’s degree, thinking that I would be designing spacecrafts. This person was actually a famous glaciologist (Eric Rignot), which I did not know. He explained that I was knocking on the wrong door, but that he was looking for students to build a new generation ice sheet model. I decided to accept this offer and worked on developing a new ice sheet model (ISSM) from scratch.
Even though this was not what I was anticipating as a career path, I truly loved this experience. My initial six-month internship became a PhD, and I then moved to UCI as a project scientist, before getting a faculty position two years later. Looking back, I feel incredibly lucky to have seized that opportunity. I came to the right place, at the right time, surrounded by wonderful people.
This year you received an Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists for your innovative research in ice-sheet modelling. Could you give us a quick summary of your work in this area?
The Earth’s ice sheets are losing mass at an increasing rate, causing sea levels to rise, and we still don’t know how quickly they could change over the coming centuries. It is a big uncertainty in sea level rise projections and the only way to reduce this uncertainty is to improve ice flow models, which would help policy makers in terms of coastal planning or choosing mitigation strategies.
I am interested in understanding the interactions of ice and climate by combining state-of-the-art numerical modelling with data collected by satellite and airplanes (remote sensing) or directly on-site (in situ). Modelling ice sheet flow at the scale of Greenland and Antarctica remains scientifically and technically challenging. Important processes are still poorly understood or missing in models so we have a lot to do.
I have been developing the UCI/JPL Ice Sheet System Model, a new generation, open source, high-resolution, higher-order physics ice sheet model with two colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory over the past 10 years. I am still actively developing ISSM and it is the primary tool of my research.
More specifically, I am working on improving our understanding of ice sheet dynamics and the interactions between the ice and the other components of the Earth system, as well as improving current data assimilation capability to correctly initialize ice sheet models and capture current trends. My work also involves improving our knowledge of the topography of Greenland and Antarctica’s bedrock (through the development of new algorithms and datasets). Knowing the shape of the ground beneath the two ice sheets is key for understanding how an ice sheet’s grounding line (the point where floating ice meets bedrock) changes and how quickly chunks of ice will break from the sheet, also known as calving.
Steensby Glacier flows around a sharp bend in a deep canyon. (Credit: NASA/ Michael Studinger)
At the General Assembly, you presented a new, comprehensive map of Greenland’s bedrock topography beneath its ice and the surrounding ocean’s depths. What is the importance of this kind of information for scientists?
I ended up working on developing this new map because we could not make any reliable simulations with the bedrock maps that were available a few years ago: they were missing key features, such as deep fjords that extend 10s of km under the ice sheet, ridges that stabilize the retreat, underwater sills (that act as sea floor barriers) that may block warm ocean waters at depth from interacting with the ice, etc.
Subglacial bed topography is probably the most important input parameter in an ice sheet model and remains challenging to measure. The bed controls the flow of ice and its discharge into the ocean through a set of narrow valleys occupied by outlet glaciers. I am hoping that the new product that I developed, called BedMachine, will help reduce the uncertainty in numerical models, and help explain current trends.
3D view of the bed topography and ocean bathymetry of the Greenland Ice Sheet from BedMachine v3 (Credit: Peter Fretwell, BAS)
How did you and your colleagues create this map, and how does it compare to previous models?
The key ingredient in this map, is that a lot of it is based on physics instead of a simple “blind” interpolation. Bedrock elevation is measured by airborne radars, which send electromagnetic pulses into the Earth’s immediate sub-surface and collect information on how this energy is reflected back. By analyzing the echo of the electromagnetic wave, we can determine the ice thickness along the radar’s flight lines. Unfortunately, we cannot determine the topography away from these lines and the bed needs to be interpolated between these flight lines in order to provide complete maps.
During my PhD, I developed a new method to infer the bed topography beneath the ice sheets at high resolution based on the conservation of mass and optimization algorithms. Instead of relying solely on bedrock measurements, I combine them with data on ice flow speed that we get from satellite observations, how much snow falls onto the ice sheet and how much melts, as well as how quickly the ice is thinning or thickening. I then use the principle of conservation of mass to map the bed between flight lines. This method is not free of error, of course! But it does capture features that could not be detected with other existing mapping techniques.
3D view of the ocean bathymetry and ice sheet speed (yellow/red) of Greenland’s Northwest coast (Credit: Mathieu Morlighem, UCI)
What are some of the largest discoveries that have been made with this model?
Looking at the bed topography alone, we found that many fjords beneath the ice, all around Greenland, extend for 10s and 100s of kilometers in some cases and remain below sea level. Scientists had previously thought some years ago that the glaciers would not have to retreat much to reach higher ground, subsequently avoiding additional ice melt from exposure to warmer ocean currents. However, with this new description of the bed under the ice sheet, we see that this is not true. Many glaciers will not detach from the ocean any time soon, and so the ice sheet is more vulnerable to ice melt than we thought.
More recently, a team of geologists in Denmark discovered a meteorite impact crater hidden underneath the ice sheet! I initially thought that it was an artifact of the map, but it is actually a very real feature.
More importantly maybe, this map has been developed by an ice sheet modeller, for ice sheet modellers, in order to improve the reliability of numerical simulations. There are still many places where it has to be improved, but the models are now really starting to look promising: we not only understand the variability in changes in ice dynamics and retreat all around the ice sheet thanks to this map, we are now able to model it! We still have a long way to go, but it is an exciting time to be in this field.
Interview by Olivia Trani, EGU Communications Officer