23 December 2009

Session Videos on Climate, the L’Aquila Earthquake, and the Long Solar Minimum

Posted by Michael McFadden

Videos of several lectures of FM09 are now available online! In addition to most of named lectures on Monday and Tuesday, you can also catch glimpses some union and section lectures.

For example: On Sunday, the “Intercontinental Sessions” included two taped talks, one by Matthew Nisbet of American University’s Center for Science, Society, and the Environment, and one by Gwendolyn Blue of the University of Calgary’s Communication and Culture department. Both speakers address public engagement with issues surrounding climate change. Nisbet noted that news attention in 2 to 3 years ago contained record amounts of references to climate change–it was a part of the academy awards, part of the Nobel ceremonies. “But now, despite record amounts of news media attention, the concern and acceptance of human activities leading to climate change is on a downward trend,” Nisbet said. This is happening despite the fact that, as Blue points out, culture groups such as those in high northern latitudes are already facing impacts of global warming–their stories have yet to trickle into public consciousness. How can the dialog on climate change be rethought so that scientists can actually engage the public? Listen in on their Web casts!

Other lectures that were recorded include Monday’s U12A, An Earthquake in an Ancient City: The April 2009 L’Aquila (Central Italy) Seismic Sequence I talks, given by scientists representing research institutions from Europe. Presentations focused on systems that can rapidly and automatically detect and locate seismic sources, aftershock prediction systems, mainshock prediction models, investigations of the geometry of the activated fault systems, the search for evidence of past earthquakes along the same fault system, and analysis of creep following the main shock. Of particular interest was evidence that suggests that fluids played an integral role in the rupture. The strength of shaking from this earthquake can be seen in the image below.

USGS Shake map of the Central Italy Earthquake

Also webcast was U34A: Consequences of an Unusually Long and Deep Solar Minimum I, in which speakers discussed the physics that may have driven the current solar minimum to be one of the quietest on record in terms of solar activity and sunspot counts.

–Mohi Kumar, AGU Science Writer