List of press conferences
- Monday, 26 April
- Improving food security: new techniques (PC1, 16:00–17:00)
- Scientific sleuthing: geoforensics & fingerprinting (PC2, 17:00–18:00)
- Tuesday, 27 April
- New geoscience tools, novel applications (PC3, 15:00–16:00)
- From avalanches to aviation: the Sahara’s global impacts (PC4, 16:00–17:00)
- Wednesday, 28 April
- Recent wildfire research: understanding impacts, assessing risk, and reducing hazard (PC5, 15:00–16:00)
- Learning from the past: catastrophes, climate, and cultural change (PC6, 17:00–18:00)
PC1 – Improving food security: new techniques
Monday, 26 April, 16:00–17:00 (Stream)
In 2019, nearly 750 million people were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 3 billion people can’t afford healthy diets, and that the social costs of greenhouse gas emissions associated with current food-consumption patterns will top $1.7 trillion per year within the next decade.
This press conference will introduce journalists to some of the latest geoscience research being conducted to help improve global food security, including two types of forecasting that support early warnings in Africa. Additional research strives to improve agricultural management strategies with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and to balance food and water security in cities. Lastly, we will hear how one group of scientists is researching how pre-Viking and Viking societies adapted their agricultural practices to a changing climate to glean fresh insights into how we can improve our future food security.
Postdoctoral researcher, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Research Associate, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
Gabriela Guimarães Nobre
Research Associate, Vrije University, the Netherlands
Researcher, University of Oslo, Norway
Associate Researcher, University of California at Santa Barbara, United States
PC2 – Scientific sleuthing: geoforensics & fingerprinting
Monday, 26 April, 17:00–18:00 (Stream)
Geoscientists working to reconstruct a snippet of Earth’s history or increase our understanding of modern-day processes must often think like detectives, assembling together bits and pieces of evidence from multiple sources to develop, and then test, a ‘whodunnit’ hypothesis. In this press conference, journalists will hear about new ‘geofingerprinting’ techniques that research teams have developed to trace the origin of one of cooking’s most important commodities and to detect the timing and climatic impacts of the colossal Toba volcanic eruption, one of the largest in the past ~2.6 million years. Another team will trace the source of cobblestones dropped by icebergs in the Amundsen Sea—and explain how these clues offer new information regarding the previous extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Researcher, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Italy
Professor, Colorado College, United States
Doctoral candidate, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom
PC3 – New geoscience tools, novel applications
Tuesday, 27 April, 15:00–16:00 (Stream)
From rock hammers and Brunton compasses to multimillion-dollar satellites and mass spectrometers, Earth, planetary, and space scientists use a wide variety of tools to ply their trades. This press conference will look at how several research teams are applying new geoscience tools and techniques to solve real-world problems, from predicting the beaching of debris on the Galapagos Islands and preserving a cathedral’s medieval paintings to guiding the search for meteorites across Antarctica.
Researcher, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Postdoctoral researcher, Free University of Brussels, Belgium
Doctoral candidate, Christian-Albrechts-University, Germany
PC4 – From avalanches to aviation: the Sahara’s global impacts
Tuesday, 27 April, 16:00–17:00 (Stream)
The Sahara, Earth’s largest hot desert, covers an area nearly as large as China. In this press conference we will learn about the far-reaching impacts of the dust that comes from this vast sand sea, including how it can destabilise snow in the French Alps and contribute to large sand and dust storms. Because these extreme meteorological events can affect aviation operations, solar energy production, and air quality, geoscientists are striving to better understand these storms and predict their implications.
Senior Researcher, Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Finland
Director, Snow Research Center, Météo-France, France
Postdoctoral researcher, Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain
PC5 – Recent wildfire research: understanding impacts, assessing risk, and reducing hazard
Wednesday, 28 April, 15:00–16:00 (Stream)
2020 was another record-setting year for wildfires. In Australia, flames torched 18 million hectares and killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals during the continent’s 2019–2020 ‘Black Summer’. Heatwaves helped drive unprecedented wildfire activity in South America’s Pantanal, the planet’s largest tropical wetland, and record-setting levels of wildfire CO2 emissions across the Arctic Circle, whilst California experienced its worst-ever wildfire season (again). In this press conference, journalists will hear about the latest research on some of these fires, including the transcontinental transport of smoke particles and the short- and long-term effects on the Pantanal. This press conference will also focus on new modelling techniques to improve assessments of wildfire and economic risk, and to reduce fire hazard through more informed land management decision-making.
Benedetto De Rosa
Researcher, National Research Council, Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (CNR-IMAA), Italy
Researcher, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Associate Investigator, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Doctoral candidate, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
PC6 – Learning from the past: catastrophes, climate, and cultural change
Wednesday, 28 April, 17:00–18:00 (Stream)
Scientific research has increasingly shown that the environment can play a key role in the development—and the destruction—of human civilisations. State-of-the-art methods continue to shed new light on environmental factors that have contributed to major historic and prehistoric societal changes. During this press conference, we will hear about the cultural and geological evidence for a megatsunami that struck a remote Pacific atoll in the mid-16th century. Another team of researchers will discuss how a major volcanic eruption may have contributed to the breakup of the great Mongol Empire. We’ll also hear how a new interdisciplinary field of study is illuminating the influence of climate change on human history, in the hope of providing crucial lessons for the future of humankind.
Associate Professor, Georgetown University, United States
Professor, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Senior Research Fellow, Saint Petersburg State University