Archive | May, 2010

EGU GA 2010 Closing Lecture

7 May

New this year at EGU GA 2010 is the closing session by Jan Smits on The 30th anniversary of the discovery of the iridium anomaly at the Cretaceous Paleogene boundary: The state of the Chicxulub impact-extinction theory in Room D from 17:30 to 18:30.

Some brief stats on EGU GA 2010: 4,431 oral and 9,370 poster presentations in 594 sessions with more than 10,000 scientists in attendance.

US7 Eyjafjallajökull – eruption, plume, and consequences

5 May

In the context of recent airspace closures the poster session for US7 Eyjafjallajökull – eruption, plume, and consequences was held on Wednesday 5th May at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly. Poster topics included effects of the ash cloud (including impact on air quality of the airspace closure), monitoring information, whether Spain could be a transport hub for Europe (based on paleo-ash records) and investigating ash particles that fell to the ground.

There are still oral sessions and splinter meetings associated with the special Union Session on Thursday at the EGU GA 2010.

Geosciences and Web 2.0 at EGU GA 2010

5 May

The Educational and Outreach Symposia at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2010 cover a variety of topics. Several include examples of best practice. Virtual conferences and observatories are covered in ST6/EOS9 as described in the below guest blog from Sini Merikallio of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Thursday in Room 29, 10:30-12:00 in ST6/EOS9 Best practices in Education and Outreach contains a talk from a distinguished journalist who will be sharing his experience with scientists. Other talks include virtual conferences and online data repositories.

Tähdet ja Avaruus (‘Stars and Space’) is the most popular astro-magazine in the Nordic countries as measured by the number of subscribers. The Editor in Chief of the magazine, Marko Pekkola, has revolutionized the magazine and during his era the relative amount of astronomy hobbyists in the general public in Finland has increased to
become one of the world’s highest. Mr. Pekkola is invited to the session to reveal how this has been accomplished. The magazine has also witnessed numerous cases of both good and bad science popularizing, and Mr. Pekkola will also be sharing his educative
summary of these experiences.

Virtual conferences and remote accessing and representation of data are currently becoming crucial in the scientific community as well as among the general public. Dr. Victoria Pearson will talk about virtual conferencing techniques in enhancing remote public engagement. A special talk about building of a virtual observatory is also arranged: Dr. Mikko Syrjäsuo will present GAIA: an open access online virtual
observatory for accessing auroral data. Thanks to GAIA, anyone will be able to easily access high-quality data in order to work from their offices, home couches or from the classroom.

Geosciences and Social Media Research at EGU GA 2010 (1)

5 May

There are several presentations at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2010 that investigate social media and the Geosciences, as a tool for dissemination or source of material for research. The below guest blog comes from Dr. Maria del Carmen Llasat Botija of GAMA (Meteorological Hazards Analysis Team) at the University of Barcelona concerning research into using social media for communicating about Natural Hazards.

From paper to facebook, travelling trough the natural hazards divulgation by M.Llasat-Botija, M.C.Llasat and A. Rodriguez [XY518] presented in Session NH9.3/EOS6 Natural Hazards Education and Communications to Students, Government Officials, and the Public on Friday 7th May (Poster Summary and Discussion Session: Room 29 08:30-10:00, Authors in Attendance at Posters: XY512-533 10:30-12:00).

One of the main objectives of this preliminary work is to study the possibilities that Internet offer to develop communicative actions in the field of natural risks as well as to improve the risk awareness. In order to do this, a systematic procedure in order to identify the knowledge, kind of information and lacks existing is being created. The poster starts showing the treatment of natural hazards in Spanish press news and its evolution since 1881. The entrance of internet in the 90’s is clearly identified, as well as a positive trend and strong anomalies due to electoral processes or other specific situations. Using Google searches’ as an indicator, it has been observed an important but very heterogeneous presence of natural hazards in Internet, being the earthquakes the most cited (more than 50 million of entrances) and landslides and snow avalanches the less cited (less than 3 million). The impact of the volcanic eruption in Iceland is clearly revealed. The term “climate change” shows a factor of 10 in comparison with “natural hazards”. Most of the found sites have a static design. However, an increasing trend of dynamic sites has been found on last year, frequently updated and with a high level of participation (this kind of sites are so-called “web 2.0”).

In relation to the contents, internet is an ideal platform to provide information and formation, to divulgate the new results or to introduce prevention measures. The educative sites show a tendency to be more specialized in the contents, the objective public and language used (technical, scientific, popular). Internet is an opportunity to the researcher to communicate his work to the general public. The presence of scientists and experts in Internet is continuously increasing through blogs, websites, wiki’s, although it is still considerably inferior to the amateur’s contributions. In this sense, social networks can be a good channel to divulgate the scientific work, news results as well as to awake the historic memory in order to improve the risk awareness.

Internet tools, like blogs or social networks (Facebook etc.) enable provision of information in real time like warnings, to share experiences and experiments or to work in networks.

These all are opportunities but it is necessary consider some weaknesses. One of these is that people is most interested in sharing personal experiences and pictures, than in learning to improve their resilience. Other important question is the heterogeneous distribution of Internet that does not arrive at the major part of the most vulnerable countries. Another point to be considered is that these new tools need time to be updated (to write a post in a blog,…) that has to be considered in time table of the researcher.

Our challenge is “How do we use this potent tool to improve the risk awareness?”. At the moment we have started with a website and a blog in Spanish, but, why not take benefit of the Natural Hazards EGU Section and the expertise and enthusiasm of their members to have a common blog?

JAH

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