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AGU Fall Meeting 2015

San Francisco, CA, United States
Meeting Category

The 2015 AGU Fall Meeting, with nearly 24,000 attendees, is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. Now in its 48th year, the AGU Fall Meeting is the best place to present your research, hear about the latest discoveries, trends, and challenges in the field, and network and make connections that can enhance your career.

The AGU Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space sciences community for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published, meaning you’ll return to work with knowledge you can’t get anywhere else.

With more than 1700 sessions, the AGU Fall Meeting’s scientific program spans the Earth and space sciences. The meeting offers a unique mix of more than 23,000 oral and poster presentations, a broad range of general sessions, more than 50 formal and informal networking and career advancement opportunities, and an exhibit hall packed with nearly 300 exhibitors showcasing new and relevant research tools and services that could help scientists and researchers streamline their work.

Meeting website:


IGBP Landmark Synthesis Event

The International Geosphere-Biosphere (IGBP) Programme, PAGES' current parent organization, will hold a landmark synthesis event at the AGU Fall Meeting 2015 in San Francisco.

The event will celebrate the work and achievements of IGBP over the past three decades and will include around 100 co-sponsored scientific sessions; an early-career scientists' workshop; a performance by the Bella Gaia group centred on the Anthropocene concept; and a celebration banquet.

If you would like to attend the IGBP celebration banquet dinner on 13 December, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, spaces are limited. RSVP to Ting Yiu: (ting[dot]yiu[at]igbp[dot]kva[dot]se) as soon as possible.

If you would like to attend the Bella Gaia performance at 8pm on 17 December, at the Herbst Theatre, take advantage of a 20% discount by booking at the following link:

Other planned sessions, events and activities include (click on links for dates and times):

- Union sessions (The Anthropocene; Mountains without permanent snow and ice)

- Integrative sessions (Land in a changing world; Value added by international science coordination)

- Several disciplinary sessions from IGBP core project communities

- An early-career scientist event in collaboration with Future Earth

- Booth


PAGES-relevant sessions

*indicates IGBP co-sponsored session

IGBP cross-cutting sessions

Monday 14 December, 10:20-12:20, Moscone West 3003 plus

Monday 14 December 13:40-18:00, Moscone South Poster Hall

Emerging perspectives on land use: global drivers and local impacts in a socioenvironmentally connected world* (Session: GC12A and GC13C)

Primary Convener: Peter Verburg, VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Conveners: Markus Reichstein, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany, Kathleen D Morrison, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States and Sander van der Leeuw, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States

Earth’s land surface embodies the dynamic interplay of the physical, social and economic processes that constitute global change. For example, deforestation, agriculture and urbanisation all modify the climate, ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. Such changes, in turn, affect land and the societies that rely on it. Because land is shaped today largely by human activities, it has become an important site of policies aimed at achieving sustainability. Consequently, land is also the site of conflicts and competing claims: land grabs and the competition between crops for food and biofuels are but two manifestations.

This session, convened by a number of members from PAGES' LandCover6k Working Group, aims to bring together a diverse group of natural and social scientists to explore emerging perspectives on land. We welcome contributions on topics including but not limited to: 1) drivers, trajectories and implications of historic and future land-use change; 2) trade and teleconnections; 3) novel land-use practices for responding to rapid global change; 4) land-atmosphere-hydrosphere interactions.

Aquatic Transitions Working Group

Monday 14 December 13:40-18:00, Moscone South Poster Hall

Sedimentary records of threshold change in ecosystems* (Session: GC13G)

Primary Convener: Keely Mills, British Geological Survey Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

Conveners: Peter Gell, Federation University Australia, Water Research Network, Ballarat, Australia and Jasmine E Saros, University of Maine, Orono, ME, United States

Ecosystems are known to resist major disturbance events but also respond abruptly to small perturbations. These nonlinear changes may be reflecting the nature of the sensitivity of the system or representing the breaking down of stabilising forces and the establishment of a new system of feedbacks that entrench the system in a new stable state. Theoretically, the regime persists even after the removal of the pressure owing to the establishment of new stabilising forces. Validation of the theory of such critical transitions requires real-time examples, or long records of ecological change that are, however, rarely available.

Sedimentary records have revealed abrupt shifts in response to a range of drivers over past times and provide an opportunity for model testing. However, challenges remain in attributing changes to pressure-response interactions, or regime shifts invoking changes in feedback mechanisms. Understanding the nature of abrupt ecological changes is critical for future ecosystem management.

Dust Impact on Climate and Environment (DICE) Working Group

Tuesday 15 December 8.00-10:00, Moscone West 3004

Long-Range Transport of Dust and Pollution in the Past, Present, and Future I* (Session: A21L) 

Primary Convener: Prabir Patra, JAMSTEC Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. Conveners: Ramesh Singh, Chapman University, CA, USA; Hesham El-Askary, Chapman University, CA, USA and Gisela Winckler, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, NY, USA

From long records of dust in ice cores to present day satellite imagery of dust blown off the coasts of Alaska, Iceland and the Patagonia desert, observations show how dust in high latitudes is pervasive and sustained over hundreds of thousands of years. High latitudes amplify dust effects on climate through their interactions with ice clouds, reduction of surface albedo, and the transport/supply of micronutrients to the surface ocean, triggering phytoplankton blooms and affecting biogeochemical cycles. Yet, most research on dust has focused on the subtropical regions and the areas around the dust belt.

In this session, we invite presentations addressing all aspects of emission, transport and impacts of dust (or volcanic ash), from the geologic past and the present, as well as model simulations of the future.


LandCover6k Working Group

Monday 14 December, 8:00-12:20, Moscone South Poster Hall

Dating the Anthropocene: Early Land Use and Earth System Change* (Session: GC11E)

Primary Convener: Erle C Ellis, University of MD Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, United States

Conveners: Kees Klein Goldewijk, Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, Netherlands and Jack Williams, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Geography, Madison, WI, United States

Major advances in quantitative global reconstruction of prehistoric land use and land cover changes are required to understand the role of early land use in transforming Earth system processes. Adequate incorporation of anthropogenic land use and land cover change in global and regional climate models remains one of the major priorities in climate modelling. Early land use and land cover scenarios show very large differences; improved global historical reconstructions are essential to advancing Earth system science and efforts to date the emergence of the Anthropocene. Further, ecological science and conservation are in need of more robust empirical baselines for the timing of human alterations.

This session encourages contributions from paleo-ecologists, historians, archaeologists and modellers towards the goal of accelerating collaborative interdisciplinary knowledge generation to fully describe the global history of anthropogenic land use and land cover change from its first beginnings.


PALSEA2 Working Group

Thursday 17 December, 13:40-18:00, Moscone South Poster Hall

Sea levels and ice sheets during past warm periods: looking the past to understand the future* (Session: PP43C)

Primary Convener: Alessio Rovere, MARUM - University of Bremen, ZMT, tropical Marine Ecology center, Bremen, Germany

Convener: Robert E Kopp III, Rutgers University New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ, United States

Past interglacial periods are of interest for the scientific community as they represent ‘natural experiments’ involving climate systems that were slightly warmer than today. Of particular interest is the degree to which relatively small perturbations to climate forcing variables such as atmospheric temperature, insolation, or CO2 can lead to polar ice volume and sea level changes. Currently, the research community is focused on understanding sea level and ice volume history during marine isotope stage (MIS) 5, MIS 11, the Mid-Pliocene and other past warm periods. In this session (part of the PAGES/INQUA PALSEA2 working group), we welcome contributions tackling the problems and perspectives related to a better understanding of paleo sea levels and ice sheets from different disciplines, either with modelling or field-oriented approaches.


Friday 18 December, 8:00-12:20, Moscone South Poster Hall

Feedbacks on ice-sheet growth and decay during the last glacial cycle (Session: PP51C)

Primary Convener:  Jorie Clark, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States

Conveners:  Anders E Carlson, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States and Feng He, Center for Climatic Research, Madison, WI, United States

Growth and decay of the global ice sheets during the last glacial cycle was paced by orbital changes in insolation, but feedbacks played a critical role in determining ice-sheet responses to orbital forcing and other internal forcing mechanisms of the climate system. Among the well-known feedbacks are the snow-albedo feedback, the ice-elevation feedback, and the feedbacks involving atmospheric greenhouse gases. More recently, the saddle-collapse mechanism, which is a specific case of the ice-elevation feedback, has received attention, and would have played an important role wherever ice-surface elevation changes arose due to growth or decay of coalescent ice sheets (e.g., Laurentide and Cordilleran, Scandinavian and Barents-Kara). As part of the PAGES/INQUA PALSEA2 working group, this session will address new modeling efforts aimed at investigating the importance of feedbacks in determining late Pleistocene ice-sheet growth and decay, as well as field studies that empirically evaluate these feedback mechanisms of the cryosphere system.

The PAGES 2k Network

Thursday 17 December, 16:00-18:00, Moscone West 2003 plus

Friday 18 December, 8:00-12:20, Moscone South Poster Hall

Climate of the Common Era* (Session: PP44B and PP51A)

Primary Convener: Kevin J Anchukaitis, Associate Professor, The Past Landcapes Lab, Uniersity of Arizona, AZ, United States

Convener: Jason E Smerdon, LDEO of Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States

This session highlights recent work on all aspects of the climate of the last 2000 years (the Common Era), using new proxy records, data syntheses, reconstruction methodologies, proxy system modeling, and paleoclimate model simulations. Contributions that combine several of the above areas or that focus on developing improved quantitative estimates of uncertainty are particularly welcome.  This year the session will emphasize estimates of hydroclimate variability and associated dynamics over the Common Era.  New means of observing and reconstructing hydroclimate as well as model-data comparisons that focus on regional or global hydroclimatic variability at timescales from seasons to centuries are particularly encouraged.

Climate / Environment Themes

Thursday 17 December, 8:00-12:20, Moscone South Poster Hall plus

Thursday 17 December, 13:40-15:40, Moscone West 2012

Biogeochemical cycles in the past - long-term commitments in the future* (Session: PP41B and PP43E)

Primary Convener: Hubertus Fischer, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Conveners: Baerbel Hoenisch, Columbia University of New York, Palisades, NY, United States, Laurie Menviel, University of New South Wales, Climate Change Research Centre, Sydney, NSW, Australia and Edward Brook, Oregon State Univ, Corvallis, OR, United States

Biogeochemical cycles have been dramatically altered during the Anthropocene as for example prominently evidenced by changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. Many biogeochemical cycles have turnover times much longer than the instrumental record and their natural variability, trends, and time scales of response can only be quantified using paleo-observations and paleo-simulations. These observations and coupled biogeochemistry-climate models are key to predict how long-term biogeochemical changes and feedbacks may evolve in the future.

In this session latest results from marine, terrestrial and cryospheric archives will be presented to quantify past changes in biogeochemical cycles on annual, decadal, millennial, up to orbital time scales and contrasted to state-of-the-art biogeochemical modeling. Special focus will be placed on the implications of these paleo-results for defining natural boundaries of the respective biogeochemical cycles, the potential that we have passed these boundaries in recent decades and the risk of irreversible or abrupt changes in the future.

IGBP and Future Earth

Monday 14 December, 10:20-12:20, Moscone South 102

Union Session: What’s the big deal about the Anthropocene?* (Session: U12A)

Primary Convener:  Ninad R Bondre, IGBP, Stockholm, Sweden

Conveners:  James P Syvitski, University of Colorado at Boulder, CSDMS/INSTAAR, Boulder, CO, United States, Eduardo S Brondizio, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN, United States and Owen Gaffney, Stockholm Resilience Centre/Future Earth, Stockholm, Sweden

The Anthropocene was formally proposed 15 years ago as Earth’s newest epoch, a period during which humanity’s impact on the planet has rivaled that of the great geological forces. In the past few years, however, this concept has escaped its geological confines to emerge as a new paradigm that embodies an altered human-environment relationship. Natural and social scientists, humanists, artists, educators and journalists have examined this concept from a variety of prisms. This churning has thrown up multiple and sometimes conflicting answers to questions such as:

    When did the Anthropocene begin?

    What are the implications of this paradigm for science and policy?

    Is it fair to hold “humanity” culpable for the actions of a privileged few?

    Is there such a thing as a “good” Anthropocene?


Tuesday 15 December, 13:40-18:00, Moscone South Poster Hall

More bang for your buck: How does coordination add value to sustainability science?* (Session: PA23A)

Primary Convener: Thorsten Kiefer, Future Earth

Conveners: Karen Smyth, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Stockholm, Sweden; Ninad R Bondre, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden; and Julien Emile-Geay, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States

We live in a world where people, places and problems are increasingly interconnected. Actions at the local scale can have planetary effects. At the same time, some parts of the world are more vulnerable than others to extreme events or food insecurity driven by climate change. In this context research on global change and sustainability cannot be conducted in isolation. It was this realization that led to the setting up of initiatives such as the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, which harnessed the collective abilities and experiences of global networks of researchers. In recent years new initiatives such as Future Earth, the Thriving Earth Exchange, and numerous smaller-scale projects are expanding the frontiers of collaborative research.

This session assesses the value added by research coordination on sustainability topics and explores innovative approaches to enhancing collaboration, both globally and among disciplines. We invite contributions that share experiences and discuss ways forward.

This debate will address these questions, and more, by bringing together a diverse panel of experts in academia, media, policy and other arenas. Note: Abstract submissions to Union sessions are by invitation only.

Tuesday 15 December, 8:00-12:20, Moscone South Poster Hall

Science and the Sustainable Development Goals (Session: PA21C)

Primary Convener: Chuluun Togtokh, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Conveners: Dennis S Ojima, Colorado State University, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Fort Collins, CO, United States; Toshio Yamagata, JAMSTEC Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Kanagawa, Japan; and Owen Gaffney, Stockholm Resilience Centre/Future Earth, Stockholm, Sweden

In September this year, the United Nations will formally launch its post-2015 development agenda in the form of Sustainable Development Goals. By being universally applicable and focusing on such diverse aspects as climate, food, water, health, urbanization and inequality, the goals seek to address development from a holistic perspective. In that respect they embody recent thinking about the interconnected nature of modern problems. At the same time, the sheer number of goals and targets (17 and 169 respectively) will make their implementation challenging. The scientific community can and should play an important role to provide integrated knowledge and innovative solutions for transformation towards sustainability across local, national and global scales.


This session invites contributions that explore how the goals can be effectively implemented by combining monitoring, evaluation and assessment. Contributions that focus on integrative science, the tensions between local and global priorities, and perspectives of developing nations are welcome.


Wednesday 16 December, 11:20-12:20, Moscone West 2022-2024

Emiliani Lecture: Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology and Ocean Sciences (Session: PP32A)

PAGES Co-Chair, Alan Mix, of Oregon State University, has been awarded the honour of giving the Emiliani Lecture. The Cesare Emiliani Lecture honors the life and work of the renowned paleoceanographer and is presented annually during the AGU Fall Meeting held in San Francisco. The Emiliani Lecturer is selected for making outstanding contributions to the field of paleoceanography.

Lecture title: Searching for tipping points in Pleistocene climate: Are they real? Are they portents for the future?

Friday 18 December, 8:00-12:20, Moscone South Poster Hall

Connecting stakeholders with climate science: the role of climate programs (Session: GC51B)

Primary Convener: Caitriana M Steele, New Mexico State University Main Campus, Las Cruces, NM, United States

Conveners:  Emile Elias, New Mexico State Univ, Las Cruces, NM, United States; US Department of Agriculture, Southwest Climate Hub, Las Cruces, NM, United States and Carolyn Enquist, USGS, Southwest Climate Science Center, Tucson, AZ, United States

Across the globe, there are a multitude of climate programs. These climate programs vary in organizational structure and leadership but share broadly similar missions focused on advancing climate science and delivering applicable climate information to stakeholders. Using the USA as an example, programs may consist of university investigators, public-private partnerships, government-university partnerships, federal government-led programs or federal-State government partnerships. At a general level, there is overlap between climate programs but their specific mission goals differ and apply to different groups of stakeholders.

This session invites presenters to share their program successes and challenges in connecting to stakeholders. Of particular interest are synergies between programs, where successful partnerships at regional, national or international scales have resulted in tangible benefits to stakeholders.


Arctic2k meeting

Monday 14 December, 4:00-6:15 pm, Room Foothill E, San Francisco Marriott Marquis (2nd floor).

The aim of the meeting is to draw up plans for the Arctic2k contributions to the forthcoming special 2K issue of Climate of the Past. Three papers have been proposed: a review of hydroclimate proxies, and spatial circumpolar (or North Atlantic Region) reconstructions of temperature and hydroclimate. These are group efforts and we want/need your contributions. If you are not able to attend the meeting, please advise Hans Linderholm if you want to be involved in the process anyway. The manuscripts need to be submitted between July and December 2016.

Tentative meeting agenda:

Welcome (Hans Linderholm)

Short presentation of participants (all)

General idea of the review paper (Hans)

Rough outline of review paper and set deadlines (all)

Introduction to the reconstruction papers (Johannes Werner)

Summary (Hans)

The aim is to "kick start" the paper writing process, to focus discussions on the promised products. Meeting notes will be made available to the Arctic group after the meeting.


C-PEAT Meeting

Tuesday 15 December, 3:00-5:00 pm, Room Foothill E, San Francisco Marriott Marquis (2nd floor) - teleconference also available.

This meeting will follow up on some topics discussed at the C-PEAT workshop at Lamont in October. 

There will be four short informal presentations, leading to discussions on some topical areas related to C-PEAT goals and activities. Participants calling in can present other topics for discussions or simple announcements.


3:00-3:10: Introduction and teleconference connections

3:10-4:00 (short presentations at ~10 min each) - Claire Treat: Buried peats synthesis effort; Tim Moore: Peat stoichiometry; Jon Nichols: Peat (and coal) organic geochemistry; Zicheng Yu: Climate space and controls on peat formation

4:00-5:00-ish: Discussions on these or other topics

Teleconference instructions

The meeting room has facilities only for voice teleconference through telephones. Remote participants please call 610-758-0016 (add country code +1, if from outside the US). This number is specifically created for this conference, so no code or password is needed. When calling, the phone will ring and you are asked if you want to join the call. For any questions, and to advise your plans to join via teleconference, contact Zicheng Yu: (ziy2[at]lehigh[dot]edu)