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View from the entrance to the ACV during the EGU General Assembly (Credit: Ana Sousa)

Press release General Assembly 2013 Media Advisory 3 – Full press conference schedule, online registration closing tomorrow

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European Geosciences Union

General Assembly 2013 Media Advisory 3 – Full press conference schedule, online registration closing tomorrow

14 March 2013

The schedule of press conferences at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), which includes briefings on the latest Curiosity results, near-Earth objects and the Russian meteor, and the consequences of nuclear disasters, is now available. The meeting will also feature a Great Debate on shale gas and fracking. Journalists interested in attending should register online by tomorrow. The EGU General Assembly is a meeting with over 10,000 scientists that covers all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences, and is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 07–12 April 2013.


Press conference schedule

Press conferences at the EGU General Assembly will be held at the Press Centre located on the Yellow Level (Ground Floor) of the Austria Center Vienna. All times are CEST.

Monday, 8 April, 11:00

NASA’s Curiosity rover is eight months into its 2-year exploration of Mars. Equipped with an abundance of research gear, Curiosity has told us a great deal about the surface of Mars since its arrival in Gale Crater. The rover is capable of gathering samples, analysing them on board and sending the results back to us via radio transmission. During its mission, Curiosity will explore a greater range than any other Mars rover in an attempt to determine if there are, or ever were, suitable conditions for life on the planet. In this briefing, representatives from Curiosity’s instrument teams and the project scientist will present the latest mission results, from the Red Planet’s surface geology and soil properties to the composition of the Martian atmosphere.

John Grotzinger [TBC]
Curiosity Project Scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Christopher Webster
TLS-SAM (Tunable Laser Spectrometer on the Sample Analysis on Mars) Instrument Lead, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA
Igor Mitrofanov
DAN (Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons) Principal Investigator, Institute for Space Research, Moscow, Russia
Javier Gómez-Elvira
REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) Principal Investigator, Centro de Astrobiología (Center for Astrobiology), Madrid, Spain
Sylvestre Maurice
ChemCam (Chemistry & Camera) Deputy Principal Investigator, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology), Toulouse, France

Related scientific sessions: US2, PS2.5

Monday, 8 April, 16:00

In 2011, losses from thunderstorms in the US were on par with the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, totalling 47 billion US dollars. Changes in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is an almost certain consequence of climate change; with losses of this scale, what implications does this have for people and the economy? New research suggests that climate change will make the atmosphere more turbulent, causing flights to become bumpier. What implications does this have in terms of the financial cost to airlines, the increased risk of injuries to passengers, and flight delays? This session takes a look at some of the more unexpected impacts of climate change, from changes to atmospheric air flow to thunderstorm frequency.

Eberhard Faust
Munich Reinsurance Company, Geo Risks Research Division, Munich, Germany
Paul Williams
Royal Society University Research Fellow, Department of Meteorology and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Related scientific sessions: CL3.1, NH1.1

Tuesday, 9 April, 12:00

What are the consequences of severe nuclear accidents? The Chernobyl disaster had numerous repercussions across Europe, as radionuclide fallout migrated throughout the environment, penetrating soils and infiltrating rivers. Failure at Fukushima, whilst on a smaller scale, led to many nuclear policy rethinks world-wide. How were radionuclides spread throughout the environment after the accident and how far did they go? What can be done to remediate affected areas? This briefing takes a look at the fate of radionuclides after a nuclear accident and how they are transferred between the atmosphere, sediment and water supply, as well as addressing nuclear-disaster preparedness.

Yuichi Onda
Professor, Center for Research in Isotopes and Environmental Dynamics, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
Kazuyuki Kita
Professor, College of Science, Ibaraki University, Mito, Japan
Petra Seibert
Professor, Department of Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Related scientific session: GI1.4/SSS6.11

Tuesday, 9 April, 14:00

On 15 February this year, a meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia injuring more than a thousand people. With a diameter of 17 metres and a mass of some 10,000 tons, the meteor was the largest to enter the Earth’s atmosphere in over a century; yet, Chelyabinsk residents had no warning of the explosion and subsequent impact of the rock’s fragments. On the other hand, the asteroid, 2012 DA14, that flew-by our planet later on that same day – unrelated to the Russian meteor – was detected over a year in advance and monitored closely. This briefing brings together two planetary-impacts researchers and two atmospheric-monitoring experts who will be able to answer questions on the Russian meteor explosion and detection and monitoring of near-Earth objects, as well as queries related to impact cratering on Earth.

Fred Jourdan
Senior Research Fellow, Western Australian Argon Isotope Facility, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia
Alexander Deutsch
Professor, Institute for Planetology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
Pierrick Mialle
Acoustic Officer, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Vienna, Austria
Elisabeth Blanc
Project Coordinator, Atmospheric Dynamics Infrastructure in Europe (ARISE) and Research Director, Commissariat Energie Atomique, Department of Analysis and Monitoring of the Environment, Arpajon, France

Related scientific sessions: AS4.3/GI2.9, PS2.7

Wednesday, 10 April, 10:00

In an increasingly warmer world, how can we limit the increase in global average temperature to 2°C? The removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been suggested as a potential solution, but will it be able to restore a pre-industrial climate without additional measures? Switching to renewable power sources and using energy efficient products present additional solutions, but the costs of implementation and low efficiency of some technologies restrict their uptake. Are the limitations of available technology preventing us from making further progress, or are there other social and political factors holding us back? This press conference will address these issues, focusing on the uncertainties and costs of mitigating climate change.

Andrew MacDougall
PhD candidate, University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Victoria, Canada
Joeri Rogelj
PhD student, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH Zurich), Zurich, Switzerland
Hannes Böttcher
Forest Scientist, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Ecosystem Services and Management, Laxenburg, Austria

Related scientific sessions: AS3.8, BG2.11, ERE1.1

Wednesday, 10 April, 11:00

In addition to the familiar cloud-to-ground lightning, thunderstorm clouds can produce upward cloud-to-air lightning. In the past decade or so, researchers have also observed gigantic jets, bursts of up to 70km in length of upward lightning connecting storm clouds to the upper atmosphere. Scientists do not yet understand how these jets work, and whether or not they are related to another energetic phenomenon: terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. These are intense bursts of energetic gamma-rays that originate from thunderclouds at altitudes where commercial aircraft fly, meaning they may potentially pose a radiation hazard to individuals and electronic equipment in airplanes. In this press conference, researchers will share new observations of lightning events emerging from the top of storm clouds and new results on terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, focusing on radiation doses and possible effects on people and avionics from these gamma-ray bursts.

Oscar van der Velde
Researcher, Technical University of Catalonia, Electrical Engineering, Terrassa, Spain
Joseph Dwyer
Professor, Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, USA
Marco Tavani
Professor, Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, National Institute for Astrophysics, Roma, Italy and Department of Physics, University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’, Roma, Italy

Related scientific sessions: AS4.8/NH1.5, NH1.4

Wednesday, 10 April, 12:00

The ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti, the worst outbreak of the disease in recent years with a death toll of 8,000 to date, resulted from the exposure to pathogens in a contaminated river. In the US, a fungal meningitis outbreak in late 2012 with some 500 documented cases was linked to a fungus found in soil. The impact of water, climate and soils on human health is evident, with changes in humidity, temperature, soil processes and other environmental variables influencing disease outbreaks from meningitis to influenza and impacting food safety and air quality. The panel will present new results in modelling environmental conditions and disease outbreaks, and address the role of geoscientists in developing ways to combat human health challenges in a changing climate.

James Tamerius
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA
Andrea Rinaldo
Professor, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Eric C. Brevik
Professor, Dickinson State University, Departments of Natural Sciences and Agriculture and Technical Studies, Dickinson, North Dakota, USA
Lynn Burgess
Professor, Dickinson State University, Department of Natural Sciences, Dickinson, North Dakota, USA

Related scientific sessions: HS7.3/CL2.12/NP1.4, SSS7.2/AS4.15/BG2.20/CL2.8/NH8.4

Wednesday, 10 April, 14:00

The toll from natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis is increasing, as populations rise and more assets are at risk. At the same time climate change is changing the frequency and intensity of climate-related events. While researchers cannot predict the precise location and timing of disastrous events, they can estimate the risk of such events. IIASA researchers and collaborators around the world are working towards a global disaster risk model, which can be used as a basis to reduce and manage risk. The model, which is based on novel modelling techniques, involves understanding factors that influence how people and communities cope with events, and how countries prepare for the financial and human impacts of disaster. This new research, which will be addressed in this media briefing, is helping to identify which advance actions pay off, and how countries and local governments can make smart investment decisions that lead to fewer deaths and less destruction. 

Nadejda Komendantova
Research Scholar, Risk Policy and Vulnerability, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
Reinhard Mechler
Senior Research Scholar, Risk Policy and Vulnerability, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler
Research Scholar, Risk Policy and Vulnerability, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria

Related scientific session: NH9.3, NH9.9, NH9.13

Thursday, 11 April, 11:00

A straightforward strategy to earthquake prediction consists in finding a precursor, an observable signal that can give effective warning of an impending tremor several hours or days before the event. Proposed precursor signals have included radon gas emission, ground deformation and unusual animal behaviour. A 2011 report from the International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting for Civil Protection analysed various precursor candidates and concluded that none of them offered a reliable prediction method and that there was much room for improvement in this research area. What advances have been made since then? This press conference will focus on recent research in earthquake prediction. The panellists will present results on precursor candidates such as ground-altitude variations, changes in the upper atmosphere, and behavioural changes of red wood ants prior to earthquakes.

Sergey Pulinets
Principal Scientific Researcher, Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Gabriele Berberich
Researcher, University Duisburg-Essen, Faculty of Biology, Geology, Essen, Germany
Pietro Milillo
PhD student, School of Engineering, University of Basilicata, Potenza, Italy

Related scientific sessions: SM3.2, NH4.5/SM4.8

Thursday, 11 April, 12:15

Poor air quality is known to have deleterious impacts on human health. With a high proportion of Europeans living in large, and often highly polluted cities, we need to know what the impacts of air pollution on human health are and how can we mitigate them. Many policies designed to alleviate the effects of climate change will also have a bearing on air quality, and models of pollutant emissions can be used to inform policymakers about the effectiveness of current mitigation measures. This conference focuses on the impact of policies on pollution concentrations, the major sources of air-borne pollutants in Europe and what the costs of these pollutants are for both human health and the economy.

Augustin Colette
Researcher, INERIS (French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks), Verneuil-en-Halatte, France
Jørgen Brandt
Head of Section and Senior Scientist, Aarhus University, Department of Environmental Science, Roskilde, Denmark
Vasiliki D. Assimakopoulos
Researcher, Department of Applied Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Related scientific sessions: AS3.14, AS3.7

Note that the list above is subject to change. Please check the press conference page, or the information panels at the Vienna press centre, for the most up-to-date information.

Meeting programme

All sessions (over 700) and abstracts (over 14,000) are available online and fully searchable. You can access the programme on the EGU 2013 website. Media participants can use the meeting programme to search for abstracts or sessions they find particularly interesting. The programme is searchable by name of a scientist, keywords (e.g., volcano, L’Aquila), session topic (e.g. Energy, Resources and the Environment, Climate: Past, Present, Future), and other parameters. Further, you can select single contributions or complete sessions from the meeting programme to generate your personal programme. 

Reporters may also find the list of papers of special interest, selected by session conveners, useful.

Great Debate

Wednesday, 10 April, 15:30–17:00 / Room Y9

Production of shale gas has turned the USA from a major importer of fossil fuels to, in the near future, an important exporter. Some major European countries, in contrast, have banned hydraulic fracturing, the method essential to the extraction of shale gas and other non-conventional fuels. The economy of the USA has continued to grow over the past two years, largely because of shale gas, while that of most European countries stagnates. Reports of pollution of drinking water, the use of unknown and possibly toxic chemicals, the consumption of vast amounts of water, release of radiation, and the triggering of earthquakes appear to have convinced much of the population of Europe that fracking is catastrophic for the environment. Proponents of the production of shale gas argue that fracking has been used for decades for the recovery of conventional gas or geothermal energy and that it can be conducted in an environmentally friendly manner. Opponents of shale gas and other sources of non-conventional fossil fuels argue that their exploitation will merely delay the inevitable passage to renewable energy, with major consequences for global climate. These are some of the issues discussed during the round-table discussion.

Tom Leveridge
Specialist, Energy and Climate Change Select Committee at House of Commons, UK
Brian Horsfield
Professor and Head of Section, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany
Jesús Carrera
Research Professor, Department of Geosciences, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spain
Herbert Hofstätter
Chair of Petroleum Production and Geothermal Energy, University of Leoben, Austria
Jurrien Westerhof
Greenpeace, Austria

Media registration

Journalists, science writers, and public information officers are invited to register online, free of charge, on the Registration page on this website. The list of media participants already registered is available here

Online (pre-)registration is possible until tomorrow, Friday 15 March. The advance registration assures that your badge will be waiting for you on your arrival to the Austria Center Vienna. You may also register on-site during the meeting.

Media registration gives access to the Press Centre and other meeting rooms and includes a public transportation ticket, the information and schedules book and a USB flash drive with the abstracts presented at the General Assembly. Media participants also have access to high-speed Internet (the LAN and WLAN networks have been improved this year) and complimentary breakfast, lunch, coffee and refreshments at the Press Centre.

Further information about media services at the General Assembly is available from For details on accommodation and travel, please refer to the appropriate sections of the 2013 EGU General Assembly website. The ACV, where the Assembly is taking place, is located in Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, 1220 Vienna, Austria next to the ‘Kaisermühlen/Vienna Int. Centre’ subway stop (line U1).

More information

The European Geosciences Union is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It is a non-profit interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002. The EGU has a current portfolio of 14 diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open-access format, and organises a number of topical meetings, and education and outreach activities. Its annual General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting over 10,000 scientists from all over the world. The meeting’s sessions cover a wide range of topics, including volcanology, planetary exploration, the Earth’s internal structure and atmosphere, climate, energy, and resources. The 2013 EGU General Assembly is taking place is Vienna, Austria from 7-12 April. For information regarding the press centre at the meeting and media registration, please check

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Bárbara Ferreira
EGU Media and Communications Manager
Munich, Germany
Phone +49-89-2180-6703


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