European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2014

Austria Centre Vienna

Vienna (Austria),
April 28th – May 2nd 2014

This year’s EGU General Assembly featured a great number and variety of presentations, workshops and discussions in the theme of the conference “The Face of the Earth”. FixO3 was present at the conference with two posters and participation to several meetings and events with a continuous flux of updates to our social media channels.

Walking to the EGU GA 2014

Attendees walking to the Austria Centre Vienna on the first day of conference

The EGU General Assembly (GA) 2014, which took place in Vienna (Austria) between the 28 April and the 2 May, featured a vibrant programme of more than 600 sessions, workshops and short courses, town hall meetings and great debates. Over 15,000 abstracts have been presented to the 12,500+ conference participants. The annual EGU GA is the largest conference on geosciences in Europe and a great place to meet fellow scientists and practitioners while keeping up to date with the latest scientific news and ideas. Beside the traditional orals (ca. 30% of the total contributions) and poster (ca. 60%) sessions, this year a new, interactive type of session has been introduced: PICO (Presenting Interactive COntent) sessions saw authors introducing their research on large display panels to an interactive audience, followed by group viewing and stimulating discussions.

Another novelty of this year’s conference was the conference’s theme “Face of the Earth”, which intended to “celebrate the diversity of geoscience processes and the great variety of associated forms”, as explained by EGU President Günter Boschl. On the conference information book he wrote that the theme “intends to enhance coherence between disciplines, reflecting the fact that the most thrilling questions are becoming more interdisciplinary.” The Earth’s various “faces” shown at the conference with thematic keynote lectures were: rocks, waters, life, atmosphere and space.

Busy OS poster session

Discussions around posters at the ocean sciences session

Considerable space and time was given to the Earth’s climate and climate change in this year’s EGU GA. Three climate sessions were dedicated to the recently released IPCC AR5 on observations, attribution and projected climate change which featured several presentations including a number of solicited presentations from several of the report’s chapters given by lead as well as contributing authors. In addition, a Union Session, chaired by EGU Climate Division President Thomas Blunier, was dedicated to summarize the main findings from all three working groups, presented by co-chairs Thomas Stocker (WG1), Filippo Giorgi (WG2) and Youba Sokona (WG3). The findings of this latest IPCC report are consistent with and expand those from previous reports highlighting the overwhelming proof of changing climate, the clear influence of human impact on the Earth system and climate and the pressing need for action towards both adaptation to current and projected changes and mitigation of future scenarios. More information in various forms is accessible at

Another highlight of the conference was the panel discussion on geo-engineering. The discussion, moderated by Caspar Hewett from Durham University, involved five panelists – Ken Caldeira, Andreas Oschlies, Mark Lawrence, Paul Quinn and Krishna Kumar—and developed around the main question of how feasible is it to manipulate the Earth system for our own ends and if this is something we should be doing. Proponents of geoengineering argue that it is an essential component to counteract climate change and that it provides a cost-effective alternative to reducing carbon emissions. Those against it argue the risks are too great and the unknowns too numerous. The debate raised two main points: geo-engineering is an area that certainly needs to be explored further especially concerning the two main research areas CO2 removal and solar radiation management. However, it should not be seen as plan B for mitigating climate change as there is the risk that policy-makers give too much trust to it and delay necessary, intergovernmental and global action towards climate mitigation.

Hanging FixO3 general poster

The poster on the project

The EGU 2014 was also a great occasion to meet within projects and networks in splinter meetings (side meetings). The splinter meeting “Unlock the potential of marine knowledge by making easier and less costly the access to real-time and archived data” presented and compared different Marine Observation and Data Networks in Europe, USA and Australia, the implementation of these networks at European level with additional observing platforms, the possibility to make all systems interoperable. In this occasion EMODnet (, a consortium of organisations within Europe that assembles marine data, data products and metadata from diverse sources in a uniform way, and Copernicus ( the European Programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation, were presented.

Another splinter meeting was organized by the European project NeXOS (, coordinated by FixO3 partner and TNA coordinator PLOCAN, aimed at identifying the objectives and performance of a new generation of sensors for in-situ ocean observations. The discussion focused mostly on discussion of sensor requirements for optical and acoustic sensors and their related information collection systems.

An interesting workshop was held on science communication by the climate communication platform Climatica ( The workshop explored why scientists should engage with the media and how to successfully communicate findings to the wider public through press-releases, magazine articles and TV-interview. The discussion tried to understand what the main concerns for scientists are and how they should engage with the (scientific) reporters in a fruitful way avoiding misunderstandings that can lead to dissemination of wrong information.

Hanging FixO3 DM poster

The poster on data management

FixO3 Project Manager Luisa Cristini presented the project on behalf of the FixO3 Consortium in various occasions during the conference, stressing the strong need for sustained ocean observation and their various practical applications. FixO3 was presented with two posters. One gave an introduction of the project highlighting the opportunity for the wider ocean community to access data products and observatories through Service Activities and Transnational Access. The other, focused on data management and presented by WP4-leader Robert Huber, presented the project’s first progresses towards harmonization of ocean data management standards and workflows covering the complete life cycle of data from real time data acquisition to long-term archiving. Both posters, presented in parallel sessions, were very well attended and received a high number of visitors and positive feedback from both academia and businesses. Luisa also took care of feeding the FixO3 twitter channel to keep all followers updated on the news from the conference.

The next EGU General Assembly is scheduled for the 12-17 April 2015 and FixO3 plans to be present with a session on in situ ocean observations. Nominations for the Young Scientist Award in Ocean Sciences are now open and need to be submitted by 15 June 2014. More information here: Shamefully, this year no young scientist had been nominated and nobody could be awarded this prestigious prize, so we encourage all FixO3 partners to nominate their young scientists!