Media advisory 5 - 2004 Joint Assembly

04/30/04

Final press conference schedule; Visa information; Journalism awards; Press registration form

Contents of this message

1. Final Press Conference Schedule
2. Updated Visa Information for Canada and the United States
3. Journalism Awards presented
4. Attention PIOs: Sending Press Releases to Joint Assembly
5. Press Registration Information
6. Press Registration Form
7. Who's Coming

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Note: This message does not repeat important information from Media Advisory 4: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0418.html

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1. Final Press Conference Schedule

Note: This is the best information available as of today. It is still possible that press conferences may be added or canceled prior to, or even during, Joint Assembly. Participants may change, as may the emphasis of a press conference. Any revisions to this schedule will be announced in the Press Room at Joint Assembly.

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Overview of Joint Assembly
Monday, 17 May
0800h

Scientists are presenting plenty of newsworthy material at Joint Assembly that is not covered in press conferences. It can be difficult to find out what may be of interest to you. The chairs of the Program Committee can help, as they have perhaps the broadest knowledge of all that is going on in the meeting's 435 sessions and 2,876 oral and poster presentations. They will provide some suggestions and guidelines to help you navigate your way and perhaps find a great story that will be yours alone.

Participants:

  • Scott D. King, Purdue University, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Co-chair, Joint Assembly Program Committee;
  • W. Richard Peltier, University of Toronto, Department of Physics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Co-chair, Joint Assembly Program Committee.

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Impacts of Climate Change in the Far North: Past, Present, and Future
Monday, 17 May
1000h

Human settlements, infrastructure, and natural ecosystems in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions are fragile and vulnerable to anticipated climate change. Andrew Weaver will discuss issues of global warming and abrupt climate change, including the suggestion that manmade greenhouse gas emissions will cause the onset of a new ice age. He will document the history of this misconception and show that it is impossible for an ice age to ensue as a consequence of global warming. Josef Cihlar will describe goals and status of a new scientific program designed to reduce vulnerability to climate change. It is focused on providing knowledge that will help Canadians cope with adverse consequences of, and benefit where possible from, the impacts of climate change. Pasha Groisman will describe some consequences of significant climatic changes over the high latitudes observed in the 20th century, including an increase in the frequency of forest fires. The areas where this increase was statistically significant coincide with those that experienced the most significant warming during the past several decades in central Alaska and in Siberia, south of the Arctic Circle.

Participants:

  • Josef Cihlar, Earth Sciences Sector, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;
  • Andrew J. Weaver, University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada;
  • Pasha Groisman, NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Sessions: GC14A, GC21B, GC22A

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Global Dimming: The What and Why of a Controversial Hypothesis
Monday, 17 May
1200h

Since the late 1950s, when solar observing networks were established, scientists have observed a two to four percent decline per decade of solar radiation hitting Earth's surface. This phenomenon, coined "global dimming," has been controversial among the scientific community, with regard to its actual existence, its global consequences, and its links to global warming. For the first time ever, researchers from various fields are convening at Joint Assembly to report observations of global dimming in Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Presentations on the possible causes of global dimming include cloud changes, increasing manmade aerosols, and reduced atmospheric transparency after explosive volcanic eruptions. This press conference will describe the phenomenon, present some of the hypotheses associated with it, and discuss their impact.

Participants:


  • Beate Liepert, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, U.S.A.;
  • Shabtai (Shep) Cohen, Department of Environmental Physics and Irrigation, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Bet Dagan, Israel;
  • Gerald Stanhill, Department of Environmental Physics and Irrigation, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Bet Dagan, Israel.

Sessions: A11A, A12A, A21A

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Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity: The Very Latest News
Monday, May 17
1400h

In mid-April, NASA approved a five-month extension for the mission of its Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. At this press conference, members of the rovers' science team will report their latest findings. In mid-April, Opportunity set out to seek broader geological context for evidence that its landing site was once under a body of water. At the same time, Spirit was headed toward hills that might give access to rocks from other eras of its landing site's past, after finding that volcanic material in the immediate surroundings had apparently been exposed to only scant amounts of water.

Participants:


  • Steven W. Squyres, Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA; Principal Investigator for Mars Exploration Rover Science Instruments, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA;
  • Additional participants to be announced.

Session: U15A

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Earth About to Gain a New Aura
Monday, 17 May
1600h

NASA's next generation Earth-observing satellite, Aura, will supply the most complete information yet on the health of Earth's atmosphere, once it is launched in June. Aura will help scientists understand how climate is affected by changes in the atmosphere, the processes that control air quality, and whether the ozone layer is recovering as predicted, by looking at the amount of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) remaining in the atmosphere. In studying air quality, Aura will help distinguish between natural and human-caused sources of greenhouse and other gases. It will also help scientists learn more about the tiny airborne particles called aerosols. Aerosols from human and natural sources can absorb or reflect solar energy based on their color, shape, size, and substance, and they affect climate. This briefing will help you understand Aura's capabilities, in order to write knowledgeably about the discoveries it is expected to make.

Participants:

  • Mark Schoeberl (Aura Project Scientist), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
  • Anne R. Douglass (Aura Deputy Project Scientist), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
  • John Gille, U.S. Principal Investigator: High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder, Center for Limb Atmospheric Sounding, University of Colorado, and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, USA;
  • Joe Waters, Principal Investigator: Microwave Limb Sounder, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA;
  • Michael R. Gunson, Deputy Principal Investigator: Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA;
  • Pieternel F. Levelt, Principal Investigator: Ozone Monitoring Instrument, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, The Netherlands

Sessions:

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Aura Workshop for Science Writers: A Crash Course in Atmospheric Chemistry 101
Monday, 17 May
1700h

This hour long science reporter/writer's workshop, conducted by three Aura scientists, will give reporters an "Atmospheric Chemistry 101" crash course, so they can better understand the atmospheric chemistry and processes that Aura will study. Anne Douglass will speak on "Earth's ozone shield" and explain what it is, why it is important, and what happens with ozone when mixed with bromine or chlorine. Michael Gunson will discuss why Earth's air quality is fundamental to public health and ecosystems. He will explain what low level ozone is, and present a short animation on the "pollution problem." Finally, Mark Schoeberl will explain how Earth's climate is affected by changes in atmospheric composition. Reporters will learn what climate change means, and what aerosols are and how they affect climate. Participants:


  • Anne R. Douglass (Aura Deputy Project Scientist), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
  • Michael R. Gunson, Deputy Principal Investigator: Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA;
  • Mark Schoeberl (Aura Project Scientist), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.

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POLARIS: Predicting the "Big One" and Explaining Why There Are Diamonds in Canada
Tuesday, 18 May
0900h

The Canadian POLARIS consortium is currently studying two important phenomena, using remote-sensing capabilities of seismic (earthquake) and electromagnetic waves: "Episodic Tremor and Slip" (ETS) beneath Vancouver Island, and the eruption of diamond-bearing kimberlite volcanoes 50-100 million years ago in a region 250 kilometers [160 miles] north of Yellowknife, Northwest Territory. ETS displacements and tremors occur surprisingly regularly beneath southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The exact location and extent of the ETS zone is critical for estimating the landward extent of the next megathrust rupture and for identifying periods of time during which a "big one" earthquake is more likely. Kimberlite magmas originate at 200-500 kilometer [100-300 miles] depths and pluck diamonds and other rock fragments out of the mantle during their ascent. These eruptions are thought to rise first as vertical sheets of magma, and then separate into individual pipes. These models have now been substantiated and suggest that such eruptions may be triggered by changes in North American plate motion.

Participants:


  • Herb Dragert, Research Scientist, Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada;
  • David Snyder, Research Scientist, Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sessions: S23B, S24A, S31A, S33A

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Space Weather on Mars
Tuesday, 18 May
1000h

The Halloween 2003 solar storms were some of the most intense on record. They not only caused problems at Earth, but also had a significant effect at Mars. The Electron Reflectometer (ER) instrument on board Mars Global Surveyor recorded its largest count rates of energetic particles during the October 28 event, coinciding with the failure of the Mars Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE) instrument on Mars Odyssey, which was designed to study this type of radiation in preparation for future human explorers. At this briefing, scientists will present observations of the Halloween solar storms taken near Mars and report on the implications that space weather has on its upper atmosphere.

Participants:

  • Gregory T. Delory, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA;
  • Dana H. Crider, Catholic University of America, Gibsonville North Carolina, USA;
  • Stephen A. Ledvina, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.

Sessions: SA23B, SA24A, SA31A

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Endings and Beginnings: Geography, Life, and Climate 545 Million Years Ago
Tuesday, 18 May
1200h

The end of Precambrian Eon and the beginning of the Phanerozoic Eon, 545 million years ago, was a singularly vital period in Earth's history, a period in which life first flowered into its great diversity and Earth's climate saw its greatest "snowball" and greenhouse extremes. The paleogeography (past positions of the continents and oceans) of the Precambrian-Cambrian transition is a fundamental context for the evolution of life and climate on Earth, but is only now becoming resolved through paleomagnetic and geological study. Together, these diverse areas of research--paleogeography, life and climate--illuminate a seminal time in which the Earth became a distinctly less alien planet.

Participants:

  • Philip J. McCausland, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;
  • Guy Narbonne, Queen's University, Department of Geological Sciences, Kingston, Ontario, Canada;
  • Sam Bowring, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA;
  • W. Richard Peltier, University of Toronto, Department of Physics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
  • David Evans, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA;
  • Paul Hoffman, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Sessions: GP23A, GP24A, U21B

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Why Volcanoes Erupt Explosively (But Only Sometimes)
Tuesday, 18 May
1300h

Repeated effusive and explosive eruptions are common at certain volcanoes. The fragmentation of ascending magma, in which the magma breaks into small pieces, is generally thought to be the key physical process needed for explosive eruption. The conditions leading to fragmentation have, however, remained uncertain and sometimes controversial. Over the past year significant advances in computer modeling of eruption dynamics, experimental studies of magma fragmentation performed in the lab, and characterization of erupted magmas have led to a better understanding of the processes that lead to, or suppress, explosive eruption. Daly Lecturer Michael Manga and his colleagues suggest that whether or not a given eruption will be explosive depends not only on the ability of the magma to fragment, but also on its ability to lose the volatiles (components that form bubbles, such as water and carbon dioxide) that provide the driving force for eruption. Thus, contrary to conventional views, explosive volcanism is not the inevitable consequence of magma fragmentation.

Participants:

  • Michael Manga, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Berkeley, California, USA;
  • Katharine V. Cashman, Department of Geological Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA;
  • Alison Rust, University of British Columbia, Department of Earth and Ocean Science, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Session: V24B

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The Most Violent Solar Storm Ever Recorded
Tuesday, 18 May
1500h

After a significant lull in its activity, the Sun unleashed a series of storms for a two-week period from 22 October to 4 November 2003. One of them produced the largest X-ray flare ever recorded. They had far-reaching implications throughout the solar system. Spacecraft located much beyond Earth's orbit, such as Ulysses and Cassini, felt the shocks from these eruptions. At least seven solar shocks impacted Earth, severely disturbing the magnetosphere and dumping high levels of solar energetic particles. The eruptions were so fast that they brought billions of tons of very hot solar material to Earth in less than 20 hours. Radiation levels remained above dangerous levels for nearly two weeks. The October-November superstorms appeared as a wake-up call to Solar-terrestrial and heliospheric scientists. First results of their analyses will be presented during Joint Assembly, including scores of papers on the origin, propagation, and impact of the coronal mass ejections and flares. Some of the key findings will be presented at this press conference.

Participants:

  • Nat Gopalswamy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
  • Paal Brekke, SOHO Deputy Project Scientist, European Space Agency, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
  • Thomas Immel, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA;
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;
  • Justin Kasper, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Sessions: SH31B, SH32A, SH33A, SH41B

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New Insights into Climate Change From Ice Cores
Wednesday, 19 May
1300h

Recent ice core drilling projects from around the world represent significant new milestones in climate research. In Greenland, a core at "North GRIP" reached 3,085 meters [10,120 feet] below the surface and an age of 123 thousand years. The drilling reached bedrock, where subglacial water was recovered. The refrozen basal water had been isolated under the Greenland ice sheet for several million years and might contain ancient biological material. A European team has obtained the oldest ice ever retrieved from Antarctica, covering more than 800,000 years of climate history. This core is expected to provide the most rigorous test so far of the Milankovich theory of climate, which most scientists think explains the comings and goings of ice ages. Also in Antarctica, an international team of more than 30 countries has been obtaining shorter ice core records, in order to map the Antarctic ice sheet environment over the last several hundred years, and to examine possible influence of human activities on climate. Among the results from this work is evidence that Antarctica was generally warming along with the rest of the globe during the last century. Finally, new cores from the St. Elias Range (Yukon, Canada) drilled by Canadian, U.S., and Japanese teams provide a new look at climate variability in the North Pacific, and also suggest substantial changes in the last century.

Participants:

  • Eric Steig, Associate Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA;
  • Dorethe Dahl-Jenssen, Professor, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark;
  • Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Research team leader, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace/Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (IPSL/LSCE), Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Sessions: A41A, A43C, A44A

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Extreme Weather
Thursday, 20 May
1400h

Extreme weather events (including floods, storm surges, heavy rainfall, and high winds) are of increasing interest the general public. As a result, extreme weather is becoming a distinct area of research in meteorology. Some of the contributing factors are: the habitation of land that is susceptible to such events; our ability and desire to explore remote regions where such events are common; and an increasingly "just-in-time" society that is highly susceptible to weather-related disruptions. There is also concern that climate change is resulting in an increased occurrence and severity of high impact weather events. Researchers will discuss: Canada's strategy to provide improved forecasts and warnings of extreme weather; trends that suggest an increase in very heavy precipitation events in the United States, Canada, and other regions over the past 100 years; and the association between extreme weather and fatalities among climbers on Mount Everest.

Participants:

  • Ronald Stewart, Professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
  • Pavel Y. Groisman, Research Scientist, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, USA;
  • Kent Moore, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
  • Gilbert Brunet, Director of Research, Numerical Prediction Research, Meteorolgical Service of Canada, Dorval, Quebec, Canada.

Sessions: A52A, A53A

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2. Updated Visa Information for Canada and the United States

Visa information for Canada and the United States has been updated. If you are attending Joint Assembly and are not a Canadian citizen or resident, or if you are not an American citizen or permanent resident and are transiting or visiting the United States before or after Joint Assembly, please read this important information: http://www.agu.org/pubs/visa_info.html

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3. Journalism Awards presented

AGU's 2004 journalism awards will be presented during Joint Assembly. The awardees are:

  • Paula S. Apsell, Executive Producer, NOVA - Robert C. Cowen Award for sustained Achievement in Science Journalism
  • Kevin Krajick, freelance writer for Smithsonian magazine - Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism--Features
  • J. Madeleine Nash, Time magazine - David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism--News

All Press registrants are invited to attend the awards ceremony, which will be followed by a champagne and hors d'oeuvres reception: Wednesday, 19 May
1730h
Room 710, Palais des Congrès

For further information on AGU journalism awards, see http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0416.html

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4. Attention PIOs: Sending Press Releases to Joint Assembly

Public information officers of educational institutions, research facilities, and government agencies are encouraged to provide press releases regarding research that is presented at Joint Assembly. We suggest around 25 copies of printed materials and two or three copies of materials intended for broadcast.

Press releases, etc., may be delivered to the Press Room (Room 521-B/C) by scientists whose work they describe, or they may be sent by post or overnight express services. If sent by post or express, they should ideally be timed for arrival by Friday, May 14. Materials received later will only be displayed for reporters the following day.

Please address mail or express packages as follows:
Harvey Leifert (Hold for May 14 arrival)
Delta Centre-Ville Hotel
777 University Street
Montreal, QC H3C 3Z7
Canada

Hotel phone: 1-514-879-1370

Leftover materials may be collected on Friday, May 21, by 1200h, after which they will be scrapped.

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5. Press Registration Information

Press registrants receive a badge that provides access to any of the scientific sessions of the meeting, as well as to the Press Room and Briefing Room. No one will be admitted without a valid badge.

Eligibility for press registration is limited to the following persons:

* Working press employed by bona fide news media: must present a press card, business card, or letter of introduction from an editor of the publication.
* Freelance science writers: must present a current membership card from CSWA, NASW, a regional affiliate of NASW, ISWA, or SEJ, or evidence of by-lined work pertaining to science intended for the general public and published in 2003 or 2004, or a letter from the editor of a recognized publication, assigning you to cover Joint Assembly.
* Public information officers of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies: must present a business card.

Note: Representatives of publishing houses, for-profit corporations, and the business side of news media must register at the main registration desk at the meeting and pay the appropriate fees, regardless of possession of any of the above documents.

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6. Press Registration Form

The Press Registration Form is set up for online submission, but includes a link to a version that can be printed out and faxed or mailed. Go to: http://www.agu.org/meetings/sm04/sm04pressreg_cgi.shtml

The last day for advance press registration is May 10. You may also register onsite in the Press Room.

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7. Who's Coming

David Appell, Freelance
Gerri Barrer, CBC-TV News
Peter Calamai, Toronto Star
Lynn Chandler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Gretchen Cook-Anderson, NASA Headquarters
Andrew Fazekas, Astronomy Magazine
Rob Gutro, NASA Earth Science News Team
Hannah Hoag, Freelance
Jenny Hogan, New Scientist
Kevin Krajick, Freelance
Barbara Moran, WGBH/NOVA
Madeleine Nash, Time
Mark Peplow, Nature Science Update
Sid Perkins, Science News
Krishna Ramanujan, NASA Earth Science News Team
Christina Reed, Freelance
Patrick Regan, NJN News
Eugenie Reich, New Scientist
Chantal Srivastava, Radio-Canada
Curt Stager, North Country Public Radio
Elvia Thomson, NASA Headquarters
Dan Vergano, USA Today
Maia Weinstock, Discover Magazine

Source: Eurekalert & others

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