I’m back from a busy week at EGU 2016 in Vienna, an event attended by 13,650 geoscientists from 109 different countries! The size of the event is something I didn’t really appreciate until I was there. After a hectic first day (see EGU 2016: Part 1), the rest of the week continued in a similar fashion. Here are just some of the main highlights.
Tuesday was the day of the ‘Historical Climatology’ session. This was one of the 619 themed sessions at EGU. The sessions are typically broken up into an oral session followed by a poster session. The Historical Climatology oral session contained 6 talks about different uses of historical data sources. These covered studies spanning 5 different continents and showed the broad scope of this very much emerging field. Linden Ashcroft gave a great talk on the use of historical documents to identify extreme precipitation in South East Australia and assessed how they linked to ENSO. Timothy Patterson introduced me to the concept of ‘ice-out’, which is the date the ice disappears from a lake. He focused his research in North East USA, where records of ice-out date stretch back to 1822! The records of ‘ice-out’ dates have even been found on barn doors.
The poster session that evening was where I presented my research. This was the first time I had presented a poster at a conference before and I really enjoyed it. It was great to see people taking an interest in my work and stopping to talk about it.
Throughout the rest of the week I attended quite a few different sessions, as it’s easy to pop in and out of them. This included sessions on the ‘Causes of climate change in the 19th and 20th century’, ‘The global monsoon system’ and ‘Flood and weather extremes of the past’. I was surprised at just how popular some of the talks were, with many session having no empty seats and very little floor space left!
One of my favourite sessions was ‘Communication and Education in Geoscience: Practice, Research and Reflection’. This Friday morning session was a nice change from some of the more intensive sessions I had been to and contained some really interesting talks. Subjects included: how video games can be used as a tool for communicating volcanic hazards; the development of Geography and Geology Terminology in British Sign Language; some poetry; and a talk about an interesting concept play based on the Climate Change COP agreements. The unsuspecting audience members were turned into delegate members and had to make some important decisions on the future of our planet!
As well as the subject specific sessions, there are a range of other things going on at EGU. The geocinema was a great place to go and escape the busy conference and watch some short films about explorations, research expeditions and the impacts of geoscience on everyday life. I also attended a lunch time session ‘Working at the science policy interface’, which was a panel discussion which included Valerie Masson-Demotte, the co-chair of IPCC working group 1. Overall, the conference was a great experience and I would highly recommend it to other researchers. Over 53% were early career scientists, so great if it’s your first international conference! See more facts and figures on the conference here.
On top of all the conferencing, I had lots of time to explore Vienna too! Its a beautiful city, with grand palaces, museums, and parks. I’ll leave you with a few photos and I’ll head back to working on my PhD! Thanks EGU!