All Press Conferences, EXCEPT the Mars Rover Curiosity briefing, take place in the Press
Conference Room (Room 3000, Moscone West, Level 3). Curiosity will be held in Rooms 134
and 135 of Hall E, Moscone North.

NOTE: Press Conferences and participants are subject to change, both before and during Fall
Meeting. Please check back frequently for updates, additions, and other changes to the schedule.
Changes will also be announced in the Press Room (Room 3001A, Moscone West, Level 3,
adjacent to the Level 3 lobby)

Mars Rover Curiosity’s Investigations in Gale Crater
**This press conference will be held in Rooms 134 and 135, Moscone North**
Monday, 3 December
9:00 a.m.

NASA’s newest Mars rover, Curiosity, has been investigating past and modern environmental
conditions in Mars’ equatorial Gale Crater since August. This briefing will offer findings from
examining the composition and textures of targets touched by the rover’s robotic arm. Curiosity
is the car-size rover of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. At the time of the AGU Fall
Meeting, it will be four months into a two-year prime mission.

Michael Meyer, Program Scientist for Mars Science Laboratory; NASA Headquarters,
Washington, D.C., USA;
John Grotzinger, Project Scientist for Mars Science Laboratory; California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, California, USA;
Paul Mahaffy, Principal Investigator for Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM); NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Ralf Gellert, Principal Investigator for Curiosity’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer;
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada;
Ken Edgett, Principal Investigator for Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI); Malin
Space Science Systems, San Diego, California, USA.

Session: U13A


Climate Change and Civilizations
Monday, 3 December
11:30 a.m.

The languages spoken today in the Middle East may owe themselves to a shift in climate change
that happened over 4,000 years ago. The rise and fall of civilizations may follow patterns in
climate change records. Finding these records, though, can involve negotiating not only with a
national government, but also with the local chief. This briefing will offer findings from the
Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to show how climate change played a part in the success
and disintegration of several past civilizations.

Matthew Konfirst, Byrd Fellow, Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University,
Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Sebastian Breitenbach, Postdoctoral Researcher, Climate Geology, ETHZ Geologisches
Institut, Zurich, Switzerland.

Session: PP13D

Voyager press availability
Monday, 3 December
12:30 p.m.

Scientists with NASA’s Voyager mission will present the latest findings from the mission to the
edge of the solar system, and will be available to answer questions from journalists.

Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., USA;
Leonard Burlaga, Voyager magnetometer team scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Stamatios (“Tom”) Krimigis, Voyager low-energy charged particle instrument principal
investigator, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA.


Improving forecasts of “Pineapple Expresses”
Monday, 3 December
1:30 p.m.

NOAA scientists and colleagues are installing the first of four permanent “atmospheric river
observatories” in coastal California this month, to better monitor and predict the impacts of
landfalling atmospheric rivers. These powerful winter systems, sometimes called “pineapple
express” storms, can cause destructive floods and debris flows, and can also fill the state’s
reservoirs. The coastal observatories – custom arrays of instruments installed in collaboration
with the California Department of Water Resources – will give weather forecasters, emergency
managers and water resource experts detailed information about incoming storms. The move to
install the observatories comes after several winters of testing, during which the scientists
determined the most effective arrays of instruments for collecting information useful for decision

F. Martin (“Marty”) Ralph, research meteorologist and chief of the Water Cycle Branch,
Physical Sciences Division of NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory;
Mike Anderson, California State Climatologist, California Department of Water Resources;
Kevin Baker, Meteorologist-in-Charge (MIC) of the San Francisco Bay area National Weather
Service forecast office;
Michael Dettinger, research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a research
associate with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.

Session: GC14B


Winter is coming… but what happens when it leaves early?
Monday, 3 December
2:30 p.m.

To some scientists working in the Rocky Mountains, the winter of 2011-2012 was one of the
strangest observed in decades. The record-early snowmelt – about six weeks earlier than the
previous year – caused plants to start growing earlier, and then get wiped out by hard frosts. The
early spring disrupted the life cycles of plants, and the effects cascaded to animal species as well.
Scientists, both funded by the National Science Foundation, will present new observations of
what happens when the snow disappears early, and discuss the implications for alpine

Heidi Steltzer, Assistant Professor, Biology at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, USA;
David Inouye, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park,
Maryland, USA.
Anjuli S. Bamzai, Program Director, Climate and Large-scale Dynamics Program, Geosciences
Directorate, National Science Foundation, USA.

Sessions: B21I

Superstorm Sandy, Black Swan Cyclones and the Economic Toll to Come
Monday, 3 December
4:00 p.m.

As New Jersey still recovers from Superstorm Sandy, scientists continue to study how it and
future storms of similar magnitude and frequency might affect U.S. coastlines. New data from
the U.S. Geological Survey will be presented, along with forecasts of the economic impact of
this and possible future storms. This briefing will also consider the possibility of Black Swan
cyclones – bigger storms making landfall outside of typical tropical storm impact regions.

Ning Lin, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton;
Hilary Stockdon, Research Oceanographer, U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg, Florida,
Dylan McNamara, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography,
University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA.

Sessions: NH23C, OS24C


New Findings, New Enigmas: NASA’s Van Allen Probes Begin their Exploration of the
Radiation Belts
Tuesday, 4 December
8:00 a.m.

The twin Van Allen Probes (formerly the Radiation Belt Storm Probes), launched by NASA on
August 30, are already delivering data of unprecedented detail, gathered from within our planet’s
dynamic radiation belts. The mission is the first to send two spacecraft to reside within the
incredibly hostile environment of the belts, which are named for their discoverer, James Van
Allen. Almost immediately following launch, the probes began to reveal fascinating new
structures and surprising dynamics of the radiation belt region that have never before been

Daniel Baker, Principal Investigator, Van Allen Probes Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope
(REPT; part of the Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite), Laboratory for
Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Craig Kletzing, Principal Investigator, Van Allen Probes Electric and Magnetic Field
Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS), University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa City,
Iowa, USA;
Joseph Mazur, Principal Investigator, Van Allen Probes Relativistic Proton Spectrometer
(RPS), Aerospace Corporation, Chantilly, Virginia, USA.

Sessions: SM24A, SM31C, SM34A, SM42B, SM43E, SM44A


Fire in a Changing Climate and What We Can Do About It  
Tuesday, 4 December
9:00 a.m.

Land area burned by fires has increased in the United States over the past 25 years, consistent
with a trend toward climate conditions more conducive to fire. In contrast, fires for agricultural
and forest management show declining trends in the western U.S. despite overall increases in
wildfire activity and associated carbon emissions. Looking ahead, new IPCC climate projections
offer insight into potential changes to U.S. fire activity over the next 30-50 years based on the
climate sensitivity of fires in recent decades. Scientists will present new data on which regions of
the U.S. might see fire seasons become longer and more intense.

Louis Giglio, Research Associate Professor, University of Maryland College Park, Maryland,
and Physical Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Christopher Williams, Assistant Professor of Geography, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of
Biology, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA;
Doug Morton, Physical Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland,
and Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, USA;
Hsiao-Wen Lin, Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Earth System Science, University
of California, Irvine, USA.

Sessions: NH52A, B22B, B41B, B23F


Mars Rover Opportunity’s Investigations at Endeavour Crater
Tuesday, 4 December
10:30 a.m.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, has spent
recent months examining outcrops in an area on the rim of Endeavour Crater. There, the rover
has found unusual textures and orbital observations have suggested the possible presence of clay
minerals. This briefing will offer an update about what has been found so far during these rover
investigations at “Matijevic Hill” on the crater’s western rim and outline plans for continuing
work by Opportunity.

Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for Opportunity, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA;
Diana Blaney, Deputy Project Scientist for Opportunity, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, California, USA.

Sessions: P14A, P14B, P21C


An Unlikely New Tool for Spotting Clandestine Nuclear Tests
Tuesday, 4 December
1:30 p.m.

While countries such as North Korea may go to great lengths to conceal illegal nuclear weapons
testing, others around the globe are finding new ways to detect those tests. In the search for
rogue nukes, researchers have discovered an unlikely new tool. Like GPS before it, a new use for
this common tool was born out of the discovery that even underground nuclear explosions leave
their mark in unexpected places.

Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, Professor of Geodetic and Geoinformation Engineering, The Ohio
State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Jihye Park, post-doctoral researcher in geodetic and geoinformation engineering, The Ohio
State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Joseph Helmboldt, Radio Astronomer, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., USA.

Session: G11C


Science & Technology at Extreme Depths, with James Cameron and DEEPSEA
CHALLENGE Scientists
Tuesday, 4 December
2:30 p.m.

Journalists can follow up on special session U22C with questions for James Cameron and three
scientists from the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE Expedition. The panel will discuss the sub’s
innovative design as well as preliminary scientific findings including identification of new
species and discovery of deepest example to date of gigantism in deep-sea animals.   Along with
a team of scientists and engineers, Cameron co-designed the submersible in which he became the
first person to descend alone to the Earth’s deepest known point.  The expedition included
multiple sub dives to explore the New Britain and Mariana Trenches where it collected video
footage of unprecedented clarity, physical oceanographic data, water samples, biological samples
and sediment.

James Cameron, Expedition Leader, DEEPSEA CHALLENGE; Chairman, Blue Planet Marine
Research Foundation; Explorer-In-Residence, National Geographic Society, Washington,
D.C., USA;
Douglas Bartlett, Professor of Marine Microbial Genetics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
UCSD, La Jolla, California, USA;
Patricia Fryer, Professor, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics & Planetology, University of Hawaii,
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA;
Kevin Hand, Deputy Chief Scientist, Solar System Exploration, NASA Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.

Session: U22C


**NEW** Media Availability with NASA Associate Administrator John Grunsfeld
Tuesday, 4 December
4 p.m.

Following a major announcement he plans to make during a NASA Town Hall (Moscone West
2010) the same day at 12:30pm PST, the agency’s Associate Administrator for the Science
Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld will discuss the announcement with press and answer
journalists’ questions.

John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission, National Aeronautics and
Space Administration, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., USA.

Session: TH22I


NASA’s Lunar Twins – GRAIL First Science Results
Wednesday, 5 December
9:00 a.m.

First science results from NASA’s GRAIL moon gravity mapping mission. Launched on Sept.
11, 2011, the mission’s twin washing-machine-sized spacecraft, named Ebb and Flow, entered
lunar orbit on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. During the prime mission science phase,
which stretched from March 1 to May 29, the two GRAIL spacecraft orbited at an average
altitude of 34 miles (55 kilometers). The data collected during GRAIL’s primary mission has
generated the highest resolution gravity map of another celestial body.

Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, USA;
Mark Wieczorek, GRAIL co-investigator, University of Paris, France;
Jeff Andrews-Hanna, GRAIL co-investigator, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Co., USA;
Sami Asmar, GRAIL project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Ca., USA.

Sessions: G32A,  G33B, P33E


Earth at Night
Wednesday, 5 December
10:30 a.m.

A new cloud-free view of the entire Earth at Night, courtesy of a joint NASA-NOAA satellite
program called Suomi NPP, will be unveiled at the press conference. This image is an order of
magnitude more detailed than the wildly popular earlier Earth at Night image, and reveals new
information scientists are using to study meteorology, natural and human-caused fires, fishing
boats, human settlement, urbanization and more. Scientists will discuss the advancements now
possible with these new images and detail a few examples of the features mentioned above – plus
present images of Earth on moonless nights, lit only by “airglow” and starlight, as well as the
vast difference moonlight makes on the Earth’s surface.

James Gleason, NASA Suomi NPP project scientist, NASA Goddard, Greenbelt, Maryland,
Christopher Elvidge, lead of the Earth Observation Group, NOAA’s National Geophysical Data
Center in Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Steve Miller, senior research scientist and deputy director of the Cooperative Institute for
Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Sessions: A54F, IN33C


What’s going on in the Arctic?
Wednesday, 5 December
11:30 a.m.

Despite unremarkable air temperatures this year, the Arctic still set records for loss of summer
sea ice, decline in spring snow extent, rising permafrost temperatures in northernmost Alaska,
and duration and extent of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Large changes in
multiple indicators are affecting climate and ecosystems. What’s going on here? NOAA
Administrator Jane Lubchenco and others will outline the changing conditions as part of the
annual update of the Arctic Report Card, an international effort to assess the state of the Arctic
environmental system.

Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and administrator of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC, USA;
Martin O. Jeffries, Program Officer & Arctic Science Advisor, Office of Naval Research,
Arlington, Virginia, USA;
Donald Perovich, Adjunct Professor at Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College;
Jason E. Box, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Byrd Polar Research Center,
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Sesssions: C33F, C51E

Natural or man-made? Triggers and limits to induced earthquakes
Wednesday, 5 December
1:30 p.m.

For about three decades, Oklahoma averaged between 1 and 3 earthquakes big enough to be felt
by people each year. Since 2010, residents have reported more than 250 quakes. Why the
increase, there and elsewhere outside of typical fault zones? With increased earthquake
monitoring, scientists are tracing the source of the seismicity – in some cases to hydraulic
fracturing operations. At this briefing, researchers will present new results from Oklahoma and
Texas – as well as the timing and cause of the biggest of these typically tiny quakes.

Art McGarr, Earthquake Science Center, USGS, Menlo Park, California, USA;
Austin Holland, Research Seismologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma, USA;
Cliff Frohlich, Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Geophysics,
University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Sessions: S32A; S34A; S51E; S51I

How Much Carbon Gets Stored In Western U.S. Ecosystems?
Wednesday, 5 December
2:30 pm

In a report to be issued at the time of this press conference, U.S. Geological Survey scientists
estimate the ability of different ecosystems in the West to store carbon — benchmark data vitally
needed for science-based land-use and land-management decisions and for future studies.  The
area examined extends from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coastal waters, and totals almost
2 million square miles of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Major findings include how much
carbon is sequestered annually in this vast region, as well as the amount projected to be
sequestered by ecosystem type under a range of  land use and land cover, climate, and wildfire

Marcia McNutt, Director, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, Reston, VA,
Benjamin Sleeter, Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior,
Western Geographic Science Center, Menlo Park, CA, USA.

Sessions: GC23C, B33D, B33G, B34C



At 40, Apollo lunar samples still yielding new data
Thursday, 6 December
8:00 a.m.

With the 40th anniversary of the final Apollo Moon launch approaching on Dec. 7, scientists report that new results continue to emerge from research on the rocks and dust collected four decades ago. One of the last men to leave a footprint on the Moon will talk about the continued relevance of the Apollo data. Though collected 40 years ago, technological advancements mean more is still being uncovered about the data generated by the missions. In one case, the digitization of data from two Apollo missions has revealed unstudied data previously thought to be lost. Now, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission continues to scrutinize the surface of the Moon, putting the Apollo samples into context and expanding our understanding of the Moon’s evolution.

Harrison H. Schmitt, Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States,
Bradley L. Jolliff, Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, United States,
Marie McBride, Physics and Space Science, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, United States.

Sessions: P42A, P43B


Setting boundaries for the Anthropocene
Thursday, 6 December
9 a.m.

Should the Age of Man be an official epoch? Scientists are debating whether the Anthropocene,
the centuries during which humans have left our mark on the planet, should be an official unit of
geological time. And if it is – how do we define it? When the geologists of the distant future dig
test pits, what will they recognize that marks the boundary of the Anthropocene? The panel will
tackle that question, discussing whether fossils, contaminants, or excavated ground ending up
where it shouldn’t be would best mark the start of our geologic influence.

Tony Brown, Director of the Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory University of Southampton,
United Kingdom;
Michael A. Kruge, Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State
University, Montclair, NJ, USA;
Colin Waters, Principal Mapping Geologist, British Geological Survey, Environmental Science
Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom;
Michael A. Ellis, Head of Climate Change Science, British Geological Survey, United

Sessions: GC51H, GC53C


Media Availability with NSF Director Subra Suresh
Thursday, 6 December
2 p.m.

Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation, will be presenting AGU’s Union
Agency Lecture. As director of this $7-billion independent federal agency since October 2010, Suresh
leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and
engineering research and related education.  Directly after his lecture, Suresh will be available in the
press conference room to answer questions from members of the media.

Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation


Lessons Learned from the L’Aquila Earthquake Verdicts
Thursday, 6 December
2:30 p.m.

Who is responsible for human suffering inflicted by earthquakes? What advice should scientists
give and how should they communicate it when volcanoes erupt? What are the responsibilities
and perils for researchers who estimate earthquake risks? In the wake of an Italian court’s
convictions in October of seven scientists and one government official of manslaughter for
allegedly mischaracterizing earthquake risk in the city of L’Aquila, natural-hazards experts are
rethinking their role in society and the dangers that go with it – both for society and for
themselves. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck L’Aquila in April, 2009, killed more than
300 people.

Thomas H. Jordan, Director, Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern
California, Los Angeles, California, USA;
Stephen Sparks, Professor, School of Earth Science, University of Bristol, United Kingdom;
Max Wyss, Director, World Agency for Planetary Monitoring and Earthquake Risk Reduction,
Geneva, Switzerland.

Sessions: U44B