2016 Fall Meeting Press Events Schedule

The AGU Public Information Office has planned more than 25 press events to help reporters cover new developments in the Earth and space sciences. There will be four formats for press events at the Fall Meeting:

  1. Press Conference – A small panel of speakers will share newsworthy findings being presented at the meeting.
  2. Workshop – Experts will provide comprehensive information and answer reporters’ questions about an upcoming project or mission, or an ongoing area of research, rather than present breaking news.
  3. Media Availability – A prominent person(s) in the Earth and space sciences will be available to reporters.
  4. Media Q&A – Scientists whose research is featured in AGU Fall Meeting press releases will be available to reporters.

A complete list of 2016 Fall Meeting press events is below. Events listed are press conferences unless otherwise specified. Click on the title of an event or scroll down below the table for more information, including short descriptions, participants and associated scientific sessions.

The following schedule of events is subject to change before or during the Fall Meeting. Press events may be added or dropped and their titles, emphases and participants may change. Updates, changes and additions to the press events schedule will be posted in the Press Conference tab in the Media Center.

All press events will take place in the Press Conference Room (Room 3000, Moscone West, Level 3). Times are listed in Pacific Standard Time. All press events will be streamed live over the web. Click on the “Webstreaming” tab in the Media Center for further information.

Press conferences will be archived on the AGU YouTube channel.

Section/Focus GroupSociety
All S/FGJpGU: Japan Geoscience Union
Atmospheric Sciences (A)AMS: American Meteorological Society
Earth and Planetary Surface Processes (EP)SEPM: Society for Sedimentary Geology
Mineral and Rock Physics (MR)MSA: Mineralogical Society of America
Near Surface (NS)SEG: Society of Exploration of Geophysicists
Nonlinear Geophysics (NG)AMS: American Meteorological Society;
EGU-GD: European Geosciences Union - Division on Geodynamics;
EGU-GMPV: European Geosciences Union - Division on Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, and Volcanology
Ocean Sciences (OS)IAS: International Association of Sedimentologists
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology (PP)IAS: International Association of Sedimentologists
Study of the Earth's Deep Interior (DI)EGU-GD: European Geosciences Union - Division on Geodynamics
Tectonophysics (T)EGU-TS: European Geosciences Union - Tectonics and Structural Geology Division
Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (V)EGU-GMPV: European Geosciences Union - Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology, and Volcanology;
GS: Geochemical Society;
MSA: Mineralogical Society of America

Attributing mountain glacier retreat to climate change
Monday, 12 December
8:00 a.m.

Mountain glaciers are iconic symbols of climate change and important sources of fresh water in some parts of the world. But tying their retreat to climate change has been controversial in some circles because the signal is relatively noisy. In this briefing, researchers will present a new method for assessing an individual glacier’s change and new findings about individual glacier retreat.

Gerard Roe, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.;
Summer Rupper, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.;
Ben Pelto, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

Sessions: C53D, C34C

How animals will fare in a changing climate
Monday, 12 December
9:00 a.m.

From the Arctic to the Mojave Desert, ecosystems are quickly changing, impacting the animals that live in these environments. Satellites, from their privileged vantage point, are particularly well-suited to observe habitat change and help scientists forecast how species will respond. At this briefing, researchers will present population projections for polar bears across the Arctic over three generations, discuss how droughts in North America will impact mule deer and their predators, and examine changes in the distribution of the largest wild reindeer herd in the world.

Kristin Laidre, Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.;
David Stoner, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, U.S.A.;
Andrey Petrov, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, U.S.A.

Sessions: GC13I, GC32A

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco (Media Availability)
Monday, 12 December
10:45 am

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco will deliver the Presidential Forum Lecture on Monday, Dec. 12 from 12:30 – 1:15 p.m. A media availability will be held preceding the lecture.

H.S.H. Prince Albert, Alexandre, Louis, Pierre, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux.

Session: Presidential Forum

Mapping the flow of ice around the globe
Monday, 12 December
11:30 am

Glaciers and ice sheets are melting faster due to climate change, contributing substantial volumes of water to the world’s oceans. Knowing how fast the planet is losing ice will improve projections of sea level rise and provide insights into other global and local impacts. At this briefing, scientists will discuss a new database that uses the NASA/USGS Landsat satellites to track the velocity of all glaciers and ice sheets in near real-time. This new venture shows how ice velocity changes globally from season to season, and from year to year.

Ted A. Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Twila Moon, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom;
Mark Fahnestock, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A.;
Alex Gardner, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

Sessions: C11E, C13C, C13D, C44B

Update on results from the IODP-ICDP Chicxulub Impact Crater Drilling Expedition
Monday, 12 December
1:30 pm

In April and May of this year, a scientific expedition drilled into the Chicxulub crater off the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The crater marks the spot of the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Last month, scientists published their first results from the expedition. In this briefing, four expedition scientists will present the next phase of expedition results, which describe some unexpected consequences the impact had on organisms colonizing the subsurface and oceans overlying the crater.

Sean Gulick, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, U.S.A;
Joanna Morgan, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom;
Tim Bralower, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, U.S.A;
Philippe Claeys, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Ixelles, Belgium.

Sessions: P31E

Defending the home planet
Monday, 12 December
2:30 pm

Will it be an asteroid or a comet? Which is worse, an oblique impact over water or over land? And perhaps most important, can we do anything about it? Researchers seeking answers to these questions will present their latest advances in assessing the danger of impacts over land and sea, as well as new work on ways to fend off the threat.

Galen Gisler, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.;
Robert Weaver, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.;
Joseph Nuth, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.;
Catherine Plesko, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Sessions: NH12A, NH13A

The ocean’s hidden heat
Monday, 12 December
4:00 pm

Understanding how much heat is stored in the ocean is a key part of deciphering and predicting climate change. Measuring that heat, however, is difficult and currently relies on a scattered network of buoys and sensors. A novel method presented at this briefing aims to quantify ocean heat content by satellite, using tricks of Earth’s magnetic field. The impacts of ocean heat, including new results presented at AGU, range from melting ice to affecting the base of the food web.

Tim Boyer, National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.;
Robert Tyler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.;
Catherine Walker, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.;
Stephanie Schollaert Uz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.

Sessions: GC31D, C51A, OS43C, IN43D

Water world: Historic floods, sea level rise, storm surge and climate change
Monday, 12 December
5:00 pm

Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of a shoreline and within 100 meters of sea level elevation. From nuisance flooding to storm surge inundation, climate change and sea level rise are already impacting communities around the world. Coastal scientists and engineers will present insight into these phenomena as well as a new assessment of the future flood plain for the northern Gulf of Mexico. Their findings are based on sea level rise projections for the U.S. National Climate Assessment for the year 2100 and the climate change scenario-driven dynamic models they have developed.

Scott Hagen, Louisiana State University Center for Coastal Resiliency, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A.;
Davina Passeri, U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Science Center, St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A.;
Ben van der Pluijm, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.;
Robert Nicholls, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Sessions: GC23F, ED23A 

New obstacles for Syrian refugees (Media Q&A)
Tuesday, 13 December
8:30 a.m.

A researcher will discuss how Syrian refugees seeking reprieve from civil war may have traded a violent home for a different, naturally-occurring kind of danger.

Bradley Wilson, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Sessions: NH23A

First results from the Norwegian Young Sea ICE Expedition
Tuesday, 13 December
9:00 a.m.

In the winter of 2015, an ice-bound Norwegian research vessel drifted with the shrinking Arctic ice for half a year while an international team of 70 scientists worked to better understand the effects of rising temperatures and changing Arctic sea ice. It was the first wintertime Arctic Sea ice experiment to study the thinner ice pack, owing in part to the challenges of the extreme Arctic environment: very low temperatures, dangerous ice conditions and nearby polar bears. Three scientists report on the findings from the experiment and its implications.

Mats Granskog, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway;
Amelie Meyer, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway;
Von Patrick Walden, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, U.S.A.

Sessions: C21E, C22A, C33B, C34A, C41A

Arctic Report Card 2016
Tuesday, 13 December
10:30 a.m.

The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, affecting people in the region, their cultures, the wildlife they depend on for food, and their environment. This unprecedented change has broad ramifications beyond the region for the global economy, weather, climate, sea level, trade, security and energy development. The 2016 Arctic Report Card brings together the work of 61 scientists from 11 nations to provide the latest information on multiple measures of Arctic environmental change, including air and sea surface temperature, sea ice, snow cover, the Greenland ice sheet, vegetation, wildlife and the abundance of plankton at the base of the marine food chain. The peer-reviewed report led by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will also include a report on Arctic ocean acidification and essays on the increasing pressure to effectively communicate information on Arctic change to communities and other stakeholders to help them strengthen their resilience to change.

Jeremy Mathis, NOAA Arctic Research Program, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.;
Donald Perovich, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.A.;
Marco Tedesco, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, U.S.A.

Sessions: C54A, GC21F, GC23K, PA11A

News from Gale Crater: Recent findings from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover
Tuesday, 13 December
11:30 a.m.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover continues to investigate higher and younger strata on the central mountain of Gale Crater, adding information about water-rich ancient environments in this part of Mars. Since reaching the base of the mountain two years ago, the rover has examined more than half the vertical extent of a 180-meter-thick geological formation that provides a record of long-lived lake and groundwater environments. Analysis of rock composition at multiple sites is providing new evidence about how the environmental conditions evolved over time, including factors favorable for life, if it ever was present. Some ingredients may foreshadow what the mission will find at planned destinations farther up the mountain.

Joy Crisp, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.;
Thomas Bristow, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, U.S.A.;
Patrick Gasda, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A.;
John Grotzinger, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

Sessions: P21D, P23B

Tracking the reorientation of the terrestrial planets
Tuesday, 13 December
1:30 pm

Major geological processes, like the formation of giant volcanoes or big impact basins, can redistribute large amounts of material on the surface or interior of a planet. This redistribution unbalances the planet and can cause a change in the geographic location of its north and south poles, a phenomenon called True Polar Wander. In this briefing, the researcher will present the first systemic study of True Polar Wander of the terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, the moon and Mars – and present a chronology of how each planet reoriented over time. These reorientation chronologies can help scientists better understand the geological history of the planets and have important implications for other planetary processes.

James Tuttle Keane, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Sessions: DI33A

Direct from New Zealand: The Kaikoura earthquake
Tuesday, 13 December
2:30 pm

Fresh from the field, scientists from New Zealand will share their latest observations of the landscape-altering Kailoura earthquake on the South Island. Both the curious seismology and dramatic landscape effects will be discussed.

Bill Fry, GNS New Zealand, Avalon, New Zealand;
Brenda Rosser, GNS New Zealand, Avalon, New Zealand;
Ake Fagereng, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.

The path forward from Paris, one year later (Media Availability)
Tuesday, 13 December
4:00 pm

A panel of high level science policy experts from around the world will discuss the outcomes of COP21/CMP11 and implications for both the research, policy, and action agendas at local, regional and global scales in a Town Hall lecture hosted by AGU President Margaret Leinen on Tuesday, Dec. 13 from 1:40 – 3:40 p.m. A media availability will be held immediately following the lecture.

Margaret Leinen, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.;
Carlos Nobre, National Institute of Science and Technology of Climate Change, São José dos Campos, Brazil;
Jean Jouzel, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France.
Antonio Busalacchi, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.

Sessions: U23A

Integrating scientific research into local decision making
Tuesday, 13 December
5:00 pm

Science “users” increasingly serve as collaborators in the production of scientific insight, as partners in innovation and experimental design. In this panel, four scientists who are engaging users as co-producers of knowledge will discuss the results of their experiences working with diverse groups: avalanche control teams protecting skiers, highway users and infrastructure; the Hopi Tribe, which needed a community-based drought monitoring plan; water planners seeking to better understand the risk and potential of water locked up in snow; and farmers and herders in Central Asia’s Pamir Mountains, seeking to revitalize ecological calendars to anticipate climate change.

Jeffrey Deems, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Daniel Ferguson, Climate Assessment for the Southwest, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.;
Thomas Painter, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.;
Karim-Aly Saleh Kassam, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.

Sessions: C44A, PA32A

A new understanding of South American settlement (Media Q&A)
Wednesday, 14 December
8:30 a.m.

Researchers will discuss new findings that challenge the current understanding of the paths early settlers took to explore and colonize South America.

Marco Pfeiffer, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.

Sessions: PP43B

New research on the ionosphere, our interface to space
Wednesday, 14 December
9:00 am

Where Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins is not clear-cut. We are, in fact, surrounded by a swath that is a bit of both. This area, the ionosphere, is where radio waves and satellite signals, like GPS, travel on their way to and from Earth. It’s also where you will find aurora, some satellites, and the international space station. Changes in this region can have huge effects on Earth, disrupting communications and shortening the lifetime of satellites. This press event will describe novel findings about the ionosphere and upper atmosphere, shedding light on how exactly space weather here can influence Earth and satellites. Additionally, attendees will hear details from another scientist about two upcoming NASA missions to study the ionosphere from different vantage points.

Bob Robinson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Catholic University of America, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.;
Delores Knipp, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Scott England, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, U.S.A.

Sessions: SA13A, SA41C, SM53A

Thomas Zurbuchen (Media Availability)
Wednesday, 14 December
11:30 a.m.

Thomas Zurbuchen was named NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate in October. He oversees the agency’s research programs in astrophysics, heliophysics, and planetary and Earth sciences.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Sally Jewell (Media Availability)
Wednesday, 14 December
1:45 p.m.

Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, will deliver a special lecture from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14. A media availability will be held immediately following the lecture.

Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Preparing for the 2017 total solar eclipse (Workshop)
Wednesday, 14 December
2:30 p.m.

The solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, will be a nationwide event. Hundreds of millions people live within a day’s drive of the path of totality – the narrow strip of land where people can see the moon completely obscure the sun – and the rest of North America will see varying degrees of a partial eclipse.  This workshop will describe what can be expected during this eclipse – including how to watch it safely – and describe the wealth of science that can be done during an eclipse.

Alex Young, Heliophysics Science Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A.;
Shadia Habbal, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A.;
Ramon Lopez, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, U.S.A.;
Lika Guhathakurta, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Sharing big, hard ideas with many kinds of people (Workshop)
Wednesday, 14 December
4:00 p.m.

Communicating scientific findings can be daunting, especially when it’s with people who don’t work in your field or have no science background. But sharp communication skills are critical for today’s scientists. In this workshop, three science communicators will discuss how they’re using communications to reach beyond their usual audiences, and why such experiences are valuable. Some are participating in the Up-Goer-5 challenge, inspired by cartoonist Randall Munroe (xkcd) and supported by AGU. One is a podcaster, and another a radio personality and research institute director who teaches communications skills to early career researchers (sometimes clandestinely).

Allen Pope, National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Olivia Ambrogio, Sharing Science Program Manager, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.;
Ryan Haupt, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, U.S.A.;
Steven Ackerman, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Sessions: ED13A, PA53B

Early returns from four far-flung field experiments (Workshop)
Wednesday, 14 December
5:00 p.m.

Starting one year ago, a series of major new field experiments fanned out across the world to capture the pulse of our planet in innovative ways. These multi-year projects sponsored by NASA cover a lot of scientific ground, from expanding our view of coral reefs to probing climate-driven changes in Arctic ecosystems. Together these experiments seek to fill in important gaps in our knowledge of how Earth works. This workshop will introduce media to four of these new experiments, present initial observations and insights from their first year in the field, and preview reporting opportunities for 2017 and beyond.

Franz Meyer, Alaska Satellite Facility, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A.;
Lynn Russell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.;
Ian Fenty, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.;
Eric Hochberg, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, St. George’s, Bermuda.

Sessions: A54C, B44D, GC51H, GC52A, GC53C

The future of the world’s groundwater resources (Media Q&A)
Thursday, 15 December
8:30 a.m.

Researchers will present the latest estimation of global groundwater levels and predictions of when and where they will fall below the reach of modern pumps.

Inge de Graaf, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Marc FP Bierkins,
Urecht University, Urecht, Netherlands.

Sessions: GC43C, H51I

First results from Axial Seamount, an active underwater volcano
Thursday, 15 December
9:00 a.m.

On April 24, 2015, scientists tracked the onset and evolution of an underwater volcanic eruption on Axial Seamount, 470 kilometers (290 miles) off the coast of Oregon, using a network of cabled sensors that forms part of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative. Researchers will present some of the first scientific results from the eruption, including discoveries of previously unknown structures and new glimpses into the volcano’s internal plumbing. These new insights into the world’s most active and well-studied underwater volcano help scientists better understand all volcanoes and the hazards they pose.

Richard Murray, National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.
Scott Nooner, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S.A.
William Wilcock, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
David Clague, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California, U.S.A.

Sessions: OS41C, OS44B

Dawn science update
Thursday, 15 December
10:30 a.m.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015. Scientists will discuss new research on Ceres’ composition and some of its most intriguing features.

Carol Raymond, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.;
Thomas Prettyman, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.;
Norbert Schorghofer, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A.;
Ralf Jaumann, German Aerospace Center, Berlin, Germany.

Sessions: P41C, P43C, P54A

Explaining extreme events in 2015 from a climate perspective
Thursday, 15 December
11:30 a.m.

Extreme weather can claim lives, damage economies and grab headlines. Though we generally understand the underlying physical causes of extreme events, our scientific understanding about how they may be influenced by a changing climate is not as clear. In this briefing, experts will discuss results from the fifth annual “Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective in 2015” report, published as a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The speakers will examine the natural and human causes of individual extreme events in 2015 from around the world, look back at the progress made in the past five years and explore the future of extreme event attribution.

Stephanie C. Herring, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Martin P. Hoerling, NOAA, Earth Systems Research Laboratory, Physical Science Division, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.;
Friederike Otto, University of Oxford, Centre for the Environment, Environmental Change, Oxford, United Kingdom;
Jeff Rosenfeld, American Meteorological Society, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Sessions: A41L, GC13G

Marcia McNutt (Media Availability)
Thursday, 15 December
1:45 p.m.

Marcia McNutt, 22nd President of the National Academy of Sciences, will deliver the Union Agency Lecture on Thursday, Dec. 15 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. A media availability will be held immediately following the lecture.

Marcia McNutt, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Session: Union Agency Lecture