SWIRL themes continue to expand your scientific horizons by allowing you to make new connections and discussing new developments in related fields of Earth and space science. SWIRLs help find interdisciplinary solutions through the sharing of research, discoveries, and approaches across disciplines. See the interconnected nature of the Earth and space sciences.

_ROUSSEAU_Denis-Didier__The past decade has experienced new developments in every field of Earth science and space study through concepts, approaches and technologies. In some cases the focus is becoming so narrow that getting a new insight from another discipline with its own concepts, approaches and techniques, provides a real added value…The SWIRL sessions are providing a ‘plus’ to the attendees, introducing them to a series of sessions that could lead to new ideas, proposals, or new way of considering one’s own prospects.”

-Denis-Didier Rousseau, AGU Fall Meeting Program Committee Chair

SWIRL sessions will occur throughout the meeting, making it easy to fit these thought-provoking, interdisciplinary topics into your day!

The final SWIRL topics and descriptions for 2016 are below. (Note: descriptions may change as needed).


The climate system is composed of various components, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and the biosphere. This topic will highlight the scientific advancements in research dealing with climate variability, climate change and climate change impacts, global to local scales, and paleoclimate reconstructions to future climate projections.


GeoHealth is a rapidly growing science spanning the interface between the Earth, health, ecosystem, and agricultural sciences. This topic connects and brings together talks on climate change and human health, medical geology, natural hazards and health, atmospheric science, air pollution, the health effects of fire, the interface between water quality and health, and much more.

Earth Processes

Earth processes encompasses larger-scale processes from the magnetosphere through to the inner core, from both observations and models.

Science & Society

Advances in geosciences can help inform society regarding policies to manage natural resources, like freshwater and fossil fuels, and to better prepare and respond to challenges that arise due to Earth processes, like weather extremes and earthquakes. These sessions relate research advances to societal impacts, societal benefits, and ways to enhance society’s interactions with Earth systems.

Planetary Discovery

The Planetary Discovery topic explores the origins of the Earth and other planets and the physical processes at work in their atmospheres, surfaces, and interiors. Results come from the laboratory, computer modeling, astronomical facilities, and spacecraft orbiting and roving throughout the solar system.

Extreme Events & Hazards

Extreme events and hazards are frequently observed, due to strong land-ocean-cryosphere-biosphere-atmosphere coupling. Hazards are associated with Earth systems, impacting all kinds of life, environment, ecology, climate, and resources. Sessions under the Extreme Events & Hazards topic provide new insights to understand the physics of all kinds of extreme events and hazards and their impacts on day-to-day life, monitoring, planned new observations, new tools to explore ways and means to predict extreme events and associated hazards, to save life and minimize losses.

Data & Emerging Technologies

Earth and space science data are critical to scientific advancement and improving our understanding of how natural systems and phenomena operate and change over time. Wherever possible, data should be openly accessible and preserved for reuse into the future. Emerging technologies are creating new instruments, new sensor arrays, and new platforms that enable the collection of new data types and/or improve the resolution, accuracy, and precision of data collection methodologies. Frontier computational techniques and visualization tools are rapidly influencing the way we collect data and conduct our science, thus forming a fertile breeding ground for new ideas and never-before-attempted science.


Soils are both responders and drivers of critical environmental changes facing the Earth. This SWIRL accounts for all aspects of the complexity of the soil system including erosion; dust production; soils in water, transport, and chemistry; isotopic analyses; pedogenic processes affected by volcanism; physical, chemical, and biological composition; fertility; greenhouse gas production; and weathering.  The soils SWIRL will provide bridges of interdisciplinary and communication across the AGU membership to characterize and quantify soil processes from microbial to tectonic scales.

Natural Resources

The Natural Resources SWIRL is comprised of sessions that have a good balance among topics to given resources, methods for their identification, and processes taking places with particular emphasis on water resources.