Press Conference Schedule

The following schedule of press conferences is subject to change, before or during the Fall Meeting. Press conferences may be added or dropped, their titles and emphases may change, and participants may change. All updates to this schedule will be announced in the Press Room (Room 3001A, Moscone West, Level 3, adjacent to the Level 3 lobby).  Press conferences take place in the Press Conference Room (Room 3000), diagonally across the hall from the Press Room.

Times for press conferences are Pacific Standard Time. Session numbers at the end of each press conference listing may show only the first in a series of related sessions on the topic.

(Note to Public Information Officers: If you have prepared press releases or other handouts for press conferences listed below, please email electronic copies of the documents to Peter Weiss (pweiss@agu.org) so they can be made available online to reporters calling in from outside the meeting.)

The 11 March 2011 Japan Tsunami 1
Monday, 5 December
0800h

Among a variety of studies and assessments in the aftermath of the 11 March 2011, magnitude 9 Tohoku megaquake and tsunami in Japan, scientists are evaluating the significance of the event for tsunami forecasting and the possible initiation of a tsunami magnitude scale. Another team has used videos taken by tsunami eyewitnesses to make retroactive measurements of the waves’ behavior. Other researchers have considered implications of the disaster in the next half century for the U.S. Pacific Northwest where similar seismic conditions prevail. And, a study in Japan has found an ironic reduction in tsunami risk awareness as a result of the recent disaster.

Participants:
Eddie Bernard
Scientist Emeritus, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA-PMEL, Seattle, Washington, USA;
Hermann Fritz
Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Savannah, Georgia, USA;
Satoko Oki
Assistant Professor, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan;
Vasily Titov
Director, NOAA Center for Tsunami Research, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Session: N12A, NH13G, NH32A

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New Territory for Voyager at the Solar System’s Border
Monday, 5 December
0900h

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and interstellar space. Data obtained from the Voyager spacecraft over the last year reveal this new region to be a kind of cosmic purgatory: The wind of charged particles streaming out from our sun has calmed, our solar system’s magnetic field piles up, and higher energy particles from inside our solar system appear to be leaking out into interstellar space – the medium between stars.

Participants:
Robert Decker
Voyager Low-Energy Charged Particle Instrument Co-investigator and Senior Staff Scientist, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA;
Eugene Parker
Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA;
Edward Stone
Voyager Project Scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.

Sessions: SH11A, SH13C, SH23B

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Warning signs beneath the Dead Sea
Monday, 5 December
1000h

A team drilling deep into the bed of the Dead Sea has recovered the Middle East’s longest record of past environmental changes—one suggesting that a future water shortage caused by climate change could disrupt this already explosive region. Climate projections say the Middle East will become more arid in coming decades, and today, the Dead Sea’s water level is dropping fast as Jordan, Israel, Syria and the Palestinians all compete for its inflow. Now, deep lakebed cores spanning some 200,000 years suggest the Dead Sea actually disappeared during previous warm times without human intervention—a possible warning of things shortly to come. The cores also provide an unparalleled record of past earthquakes and other natural phenomena that could eventually affect calculations of earthquake risk or even shed light on Biblical events. The deepest cores precede ancient civilizations, and thus may speak to the effects of climate on human evolution in this region.

Participants:
Steven Goldstein
Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA;
Zvi Ben-Avraham
Head, Minerva Dead Sea Research Center, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel;
Emi Ito
Professor, Department of Earth Sciences and Director, Limnological Research Center and National Lacustrine Core Facility, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA;
Ulrich Harms
Executive Secretary, International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, ICDP and Head of GRZ Section: Scientific Drilling, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany.

Session: PP11C

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Drought vs. Civilization:  Past and Future
Monday, 5 December
1100h

Drought researchers are developing new insights regarding past dry spells and the potential for future ones. Looking back to the ninth century, scientists have applied a novel way of estimating land use by ancient peoples to come up with new evidence that extensive deforestation by the Maya people of what is now Mexico and Central America caused climatic changes – mainly, worsening of regional droughts – that ultimately led to the demise of their civilization. Peering almost as far back into the past, other researchers examine the extent and severity of a megadrought in what’s now the Northeastern United States during the period from roughly 900 to 1200 A.D., known as the Medieval Warming Interval. Their study has implications for the now heavily populated Virginia-to-Maine corridor. Another team looks globally at the future prospects for drought and its effects on agriculture in the 21st century, factoring in population growth, climate change, dwindling water supplies, and more.

Participants:
Benjamin Cook
Research Physical Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA; and Adjunct Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, USA;
Dorothy Peteet
Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA;
Eric Wood
Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Session: GC-11C, H24E, PP51A

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The 11 March 2011 Japan Tsunami 2
Monday, 5 December
1300h

Since the 11 March 2011, magnitude 9 Tohoku megaquake and tsunami in Japan, scientists have gained new insights into the behavior of the tsunami and its effects from Japan to sites thousands of kilometers away, including the Galapagos Islands.  A previously unknown doubling of tsunami height and amplified destructive power may help explain why damage varies so greatly from place to place along an inundated coastline. In the Galapagos, the tsunami caused widespread physical and ecological damage. Field surveys of Japanese coastal areas hit by the tsunami assess the waves’ impacts on buildings, gauge the performance of protective structures, and reveal rapid, natural rebuilding of beaches severely eroded by the tsunami.

Participants:
Kazuhisa Goto
Research Associate, Planetary Exploration Research, Chiba Institute of Technology, Narashino, Japan and Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan;
Patrick Lynett
Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA;
Y. Tony Song
Research Scientist, California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA;
Costas Synolakis
Professor, Hellenic Center of Marine Research, Anavissos, Athens, Greece and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Session: NH11A, NH14A, NH51C

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Above the clouds: Sprites and elves in the upper atmosphere     
Monday, 5 December
1400h

Sprites and elves, luminous events in the middle and upper atmosphere induced by lightning, are still a relatively mysterious phenomenon. From 27 June  to 10 July, 2011, three dimensional observations of these events were captured for the first time with high-speed cameras on two aircrafts. This 3D information is helping to illuminate the forces that create these events, and will allow for more detailed insight into the generation of sprites and elves. The researchers will share observations as well as video footage from the campaign.

Participants:
Hans C. Stenbaek-Nielsen
Professor of Geophysics and Associate Director, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA;
Yukihiro Takahashi
Professor, Department of Cosmosciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan;
Matthew G. McHarg
Director, Space Physics and Atmospheric Research Center, US Air Force Academy, Academy, CO, USA.

Session: AE23A

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Press Availability: Simon Winchester
Monday, 5 December
1500h

Simon Winchester, journalist and author of books including The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary and The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, is giving AGU’s Presidential Forum lecture at 1215h on Monday, 5 December. Following his talk and book signing, Winchester will be available to answer questions from members of the media about his latest book Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, and other topics.

Participant:
Simon Winchester, author and journalist, Massachusetts and New York, New York, USA.

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Carbon storage in the Great Plains
Monday, 5 December
1600h

The Great Plains Carbon Storage Assessment, the first part of a national effort, will be unveiled at this AGU Press Conference with the lead author, United States Geological Survey (USGS) research scientist Zhiliang Zhu, discussing his methodology and findings. Zhu will report on sources of greenhouse emissions and suggested strategies to enhance carbon storage in the Great Plains region of the United States. USGS Director Marcia McNutt and U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes will also discuss how this research will help inform land management and policy decisions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

Participants:
Zhiliang Zhu
USGS Research Scientist, Reston, Virginia, USA;
David Hayes
Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary (via phone bridge), Washington, DC, USA;
Marcia McNutt
USGS Director, Reston, Virginia, USA.

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Dawn’s new view of asteroid Vesta
Monday, 5 December
1700h

Researchers with NASA’s Dawn mission will reveal never-before-seen geologic maps that show the diversity of features on the surface of the asteroid Vesta and the north-south dichotomy in characteristics such as crater density, mineralogy and morphology. People can see, for the first time, the maps that scientists are using to determine Vesta’s geologic history, the makeup of the asteroid’s interior and how it relates to meteorites.

Participants:
Vishnu Reddy
Dawn Mission Co-investigator, Max-Planck Institute for Solar System, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany and University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, USA;
Eleonora Ammannito
Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (VIR) Team Associate, National Institute for Astrophysics, Rome, Italy;
David Williams
Faculty Research Associate, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Sessions: U21B, U22A

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New views of Japan’s 11 March 2011 Tohoku megaquake
Tuesday, 6 December
0800h

Researchers have made pre- and post-quake dives in a submersible vehicle to the sea floor directly above where the 11 March 2011, magnitude 9 Tohoku megaquake took place. Their sea-floor visits reveal significant changes attributable to the event, including major uplift and horizontal motion, and evidence of fault activation during the quake, such as fissures and signs of chemical-rich fluids seeping from the seabed. Another study reveals an extraordinary dual aspect of the megaquake not observed in previous earthquakes studies—specifically, that a relatively shallow zone produced the sudden uplift that launched the huge tsunami while a deep region simultaneously radiated the energy that severely shook Japan. Other seismic imaging of the site where the megaquake struck suggests that the biggest shocks are related to large seamounts and ridges being squeezed into the Earth’s mantle underneath Japan by plate motions, and snagging on the underbelly of the continent they’re getting shoved beneath.

Participants:
Keith Koper
Associate Professor of Geophysics, Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA;
Takeshi Tsuji
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Earth Resources Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka, Japan;
Dapeng Zhao
Professor, Department of Geophysics, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Session: U33C, U41D, U42A

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New views of the explosive past of Kilauea
Tuesday, 6 December
900h

New results from an assessment of Kilauea’s past 2,500 years shed light on periods of explosive episodes in the Hawaiian volcano’s history, when lava flows were dominant. In November 1790, for example, an eruption killed more than 400 people – the most lethal known eruption in the United States. Recently discovered evidence has located the deadly surge of lava, solidifying a hypothesis 40 years in the making. These clues from the past are important in assessing the potential for future catastrophic events at this well-known and frequently visited volcano.

 
Participants:
Don Swanson
Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii National Park, Hawaii, USA.

Sessions: V33E, V41A

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Getting Ready for Solar Max: Separating Space Weather Fact from Fiction
Tuesday, 6 December
1000h

The number of solar flares and coronal mass ejections are becoming more frequent as the sun moves toward solar maximum over the next ~20 months – and there is a corresponding increase in public interest and media coverage of the effects of the radiation and particles that impact Earth, collectively known as space weather. Space weather, however, is a relatively new research area and the complexity of the dynamic sun-Earth system makes it a difficult subject to understand. It’s easy to overhype fears about incoming solar radiation, but also easy to oversimplify the vast number of ways solar activity can affect Earth, humans, and technology.  This workshop will provide participants with information in three crucial areas: the current understanding of the sun-Earth system; the details of the valid threats space weather can bring — including particle radiation exposure for airplane travelers, GPS failure, disruption of satellite electronics, and power grid overload; and insights into the newest space weather observing and early-warning techniques.

Participants:
Daniel Baker
Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Louis Lanzerotti
Distinguished Research Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, USA;
Antti Pulkkinen
Associate Professor, Catholic University, Washington, D.C., USA; and Research Associate, Community Coordinated Modeling Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Michael Hesse
Chief, Space Weather Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Rodney Viereck
Director, Space Weather Prediction Testbed, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Sessions: SM21C, SM24B, SA43B, IN13C

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Paleoclimate record points toward potential rapid climate changes
Tuesday, 6 December
1100h

Even if we are able to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, Earth could likely see drastic and rapid climate change this century, new research by NASA’s Jim Hansen suggests. Paleoclimate data paints a different picture than models about the sensitivity of the climate system. Detailed analysis of the Earth’s paleoclimate history of recent interglacial periods reveals we are less than a degree Celsius away from equaling a time when sea level was several meters higher than it is today.

Participants:
James Hansen
Director, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA;
Ken Caldeira
Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA;
Eelco Rohling
Professor of Ocean and Climate Change, Southampton University, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Session: PP32A

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The Great Mississippi Flood of 2011
Tuesday, 6 December
1400h

The April and May floods along the Mississippi River caused significant damage upstream, and prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana for the first time in almost 40 years, flooding parts of that state’s Atchafalaya Basin. For scientists, the huge flood – one of the biggest in the last century – provided an opportunity to track the movements of sediments and nutrients carried down the river system. Researchers found that while desperately needed sediments reached one basin, they had less of an impact on another. The results are important to understanding whether multi-million-dollar restoration efforts designed to move sediments could be successful.

Participants:
Nicole Khan
PhD candidate, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA;
Alex Kolker
Assistant Professor, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chauvin, Louisiana, USA;
Durelle Scott
Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

Session: B24D

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Ecological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Tuesday, 6 December
1500h

An ongoing study investigating possible long-term effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that fouled the Gulf of Mexico has found heavy metal contamination among economically and ecologically important oysters. Researchers are also testing for other contaminants in the shellfish, and plan to model the spread of the contaminants to other species. At the time of the spill and then again a year later, other researchers have tracked the impacts of the oil on plant life in Barataria Bay in Louisiana by examining both oil-contaminated areas and unsullied parts of the area’s coastal marshes. Meanwhile, in Alabama, scientists have scrutinized oil impacts on a microscopic level, using tiny devices that detect gene activity to reveal that the oil invasion bolstered some populations of bacteria over others and activated genes associated with metal resistance, stress, and other biological activity.

Participants: 
Melanie Beazley
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;
JoAnn Holloway
Research Physical Scientist, US Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado, USA;
Peter Roopnarine
Curator of Geology, Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, USA.
Session: U31B, B33E

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Ocean Acidification 1: Increasing ocean acidification, declining reef health
Wednesday, 7 December
0800h

Ocean acidification is harming corals around the globe by diminishing the level of calcium carbonate, a key mineral that help corals and other calcifying organisms build their shells. Without the proper amounts of calcium carbonate, reefs become more fragile and prone to breakage. By examining naturally occurring instances of extreme ocean acidification, simulating acidic conditions in the lab, and studying the historical record, researchers are teasing out the mechanisms of how ocean acidification is damaging coral reefs, and the extent to which it is creating a vulnerable shallow ocean ecosystem.

Participants:
Nina Keul
PhD Student, Marine Biogeosciences, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany;
Adina Paytan
Research Professor, Institute of Marine Science, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USA;
Robert Riding
Research Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.
 
Sessions: OS33B, OS41C

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Mountain glaciers: Dramatic changes caught on film
Wednesday, 7 December
1000h

When people think of shrinking glaciers, they typically think in horizontal terms: retreating floes and calving ice sheets. But glaciers also shrink vertically, and researchers suspect that lakes on a glacier’s surface strongly catalyze this process. To quantify the creation and evolution of the lakes, one researcher rappelled down ice cliffs above a glacier in Nepal to capture time-lapse photography of three lakes over the course of a month, catching the lakes undergoing rapid and pronounced changes. Western Hemisphere glaciers are undergoing rapid changes as well: new research finds that the runoff from one, which provides water to a large agricultural industry as well as a city of more than a million residents, has reached “peak water” – the point at which the amount of runoff will start to decrease.  And researchers studying regional glaciers in western Canada are concerned about predictions for the end of the century.

Participants:
Michel Baraer
Lecturer and PhD Candidate, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
Garry Clarke
Professor Emeritus, Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;
Ulyana Horodyskyj
Graduate student, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Sessions: C34A, C33F, C53D

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Ocean Acidification 2: Physiological Tipping Points
Wednesday, 7 December
1100h

Corals aren’t the only species at risk due to ocean acidification. Fish, crustaceans, sea urchins, and others have stunted growth and development in a lower-pH ocean, according to new research. By studying the specific responses of these species – as well as corals – researchers are measuring their sensitivity to climate change, and determining the point at which normal biological functions cease. These results are leading to increased understanding of past and ongoing changes to the ecosystem.

Participants:
Hans O. Pörtner
Professor, Integrative Ecophysiology, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany;
Sam T. Dupont
Researcher, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden;
Chris Langdon
Professor, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA.

Sessions: OS42B, OS43E

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Press Availability: Jane Lubchenco
Wednesday, 7 December
1400h

Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will unveil NOAA’s scientific integrity policy during her press briefing. The policy, which sought public and employee input, reflects the commitment of NOAA and the Obama administration to protect NOAA scientists’ findings from being suppressed, distorted or altered and to strengthen science and encourage a culture of transparency. Dr. Lubchenco’s press briefing will follow her presentation of AGU’s Union Agency Lecture, about predicting and managing extreme events at 1230h on Wednesday, 7 December.

Participant:
Jane Lubchenco
Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC, USA.

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Opportunity’s Latest from Martian Crater Rim
Wednesday, 7 December
1500h

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been investigating selected targets on the rim of Endeavour Crater since reaching that major destination in August. The findings are adding to information about the history of water’s influence in environments of ancient Mars. The rover team is preparing for Opportunity’s fifth Martian winter, as the eighth anniversary of Opportunity’s January 2004 landing approaches.

Participants:
Steve Squyres
Principal Investigator for NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA;
Ray Arvidson
Deputy Principal Investigator for NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA;
Bruce Banerdt
Project Scientist for NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.

Sessions: P22A, P34C, P42B

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Is a megaquake brewing in the high Himalaya?
Wednesday, 7 December
1600h

A surprising finding reveals that a potential rupture zone in Earth’s crust beneath the Kashmir Valley in Asia is much wider than previously suspected—wide enough that a rupture of the whole zone at once could generate a magnitude 9 earthquake, as powerful as the megaquake that struck Japan last spring. Researchers are using GPS to monitor the rates of crustal deformation in the western Himalaya region, where 6 million people live today, while also exploring cultural and physical evidence of past earthquakes to gauge if some were of the magnitude they now think is possible. Another investigation of seismicity in the Kashmir Valley, which is located where the Indian continental plate smashes into the Eurasian plate, has found an oddly oriented earthquake fault, suggesting that a mountain – or a range of mountains – was pushed some 100 kilometers down into the crust over the past 6 million years, playing a major role in shaping the topography of the southeastern end of the Kashmir Valley.

Participants:
Roger Bilham
Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, and Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Celia Schiffman,
Graduate Student in the Geological Sciences, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Session: T54B

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Weather’s influence on earthquakes and volcanoes
Thursday, 8 December
0800h

Earthquakes and volcanoes are not solely triggered by rumblings deep within the Earth – what happens above ground can have an impact as well. Several researchers are investigating the connection between earthquakes and seasonal weather, like monsoons or severe tropical storms, and discovering more about links between these disparate natural events. Others are looking at how even slight changes in snow cover could impact the movement of magma and the timing of major eruptions.

Participants:
Thomas Ader
PhD student, Geophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA;
Fabien Albino
Post-doctoral Researcher, Geophysics, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland;
Shimon Wdowinski
Research Associate Professor, Division of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA.
Session: U53E

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Innovations for understanding weather and climate
Thursday, 8 December
0900h

As technology improves, so too does our ability to stay a step ahead of the weather. Several new tools will help scientists keep an eye on our weather and climate. David Green of NOAA’s National Weather Service will talk about a new program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will send severe weather alerts to the mobile devices of people in harm’s way. Gerald (Jay) Mace will explain how scientists will get a better look at clouds soon thanks to new radar systems recently deployed by the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. Colm Sweeney will describe a new sampling technique, developed and recently tested at NOAA, to gather samples of greenhouse and other atmospheric gasses from the surface to nearly 20 miles high at frequencies and costs similar to standard weather observations systems.

Participants:
David Green

Lead for Emerging Science and Services, NOAA National Weather Service, Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA;
Colm Sweeney
Research Scientist, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Gerald (Jay) Mace
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Sessions: A24B, A42D, GC41D

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Small climate changes, big ecological impacts
Thursday, 8 December
1000h

Boreal forests, arctic tundra and other ecosystems can change very quickly – even if the factor causing the change, such as a warming climate, is itself developing gradually. A slow rise in temperature can cause a complete “regime shift,” making the ecosystem suddenly inhospitable for different plant and wildlife species. The potential for regime shifts looms in Alaska’s boreal forest, according to new research. One tree species could die off – and be replaced by grassland, instead of different warmth-tolerant tree species. Wildfires could spark regime shifts as well. Another new study finds that a regime shift 14,000 years ago wiped out one of the largest ecosystems ever, leading to the demise of megafauna like mammoth and wooly rhinoceros.

Participants:
Pieter Beck
Research Associate II, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA;
Andrea Lloyd
Professor, Department of Biology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, USA;
Daniel Mann
Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.

Session: U51C

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Changing the energy landscape: More efficient wind farms and cleaner biofuels
Thursday, 8 December
1100h

Recent renewable energy research has the potential to change the energy landscape, bolstering wind farms, saving energy companies money, and showing that not all biofuels are created equal. Martin Graus will detail the results of recent experiments on several biofuel crops, including corn, focusing on which produce the least harmful crop growth emissions. Julie Lundquist will discuss recent findings about how the “wake effect” – the wind wake trailing behind a turbine – behaves, affecting local wind patterns behind the turbine and the turbine efficiency. Yelena Pichugina will unveil an analysis of high-resolution wind data from the offshore New England region in the United States that reveal wind-flow patterns at the height of modern turbines, where few measurements are currently available.

Participants:
Martin Graus
Research Scientist, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA;
Julie Lundquist
Assistant Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA;
Yelena Pichugina
Research Scientist, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.

Sessions: B53A, GC52B, OS53A

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