EGU General Assembly 2021 media advisory

19/04/2021 - 30/04/2021 European Geosciences Union (EGU)
Location: Online
Address online event

EGU General Assembly 2021 media advisory

The following media advisory is available at:

From 19–30 April, thousands of Earth, planetary, and space scientists will participate in the virtual EGU General Assembly 2021. The majority of the scientific sessions, plus six press conferences, will take place during the last week of April.

vEGU21 will provide opportunities for journalists and science writers from around the world to learn about the latest research and discoveries in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences and to engage with the global geoscience community via both video and live text-chats. The vEGU21 meeting programme includes nearly 14,000 abstracts organized into hundreds of vPICO scientific sessions.

Eligible members of the media, science bloggers, and public information officers are invited to register for the meeting free of charge (conditions apply).

Press conference schedule

Press conferences during vEGU21 will last no more than one hour each. All times are CEST (Central European Summer Time), and documents relating to the press conferences, as well as the Zoom links, will be available by mid-April on the vEGU21 press portal. This year’s press conferences include:

PC1. Improving food security: new techniques (26 April 16:00 CEST)

PC2. Scientific sleuthing: geoforensics & fingerprinting (26 April 17:00 CEST)

PC3. New geoscience tools, novel applications (27 April 15:00 CEST)

PC4. From avalanches to aviation: the Sahara’s global impacts (27 April 16:00 CEST)

PC5. Recent wildfire research: understanding impacts, assessing risk, and reducing hazard (28 April 15:00 CEST)

PC6. Learning from the past: catastrophes, climate, and cultural change (28 April 17:00 CEST)

Monday, 26 April 16:00 CEST

In 2019, nearly 750 million people were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 3 billion people can’t afford healthy diets, and that the social costs of greenhouse gas emissions associated with current food-consumption patterns will top $1.7 trillion per year within the next decade.

This press conference will introduce journalists to some of the latest geoscience research being conducted to help improve global food security, including two types of forecasting that support early warnings in Africa. Additional research strives to improve agricultural management strategies with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and to balance food and water security in cities. Lastly, we will hear how one group of scientists is researching how pre-Viking and Viking societies adapted their agricultural practices to a changing climate to glean fresh insights into how we can improve our future food security.

Shraddhanand Shukla
Associate Researcher, University of California at Santa Barbara, United States

Gabriela Guimarães Nobre
Research Associate, Vrije University, the Netherlands

Andrew Smerald
Postdoctoral researcher, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Cristina Madrid-Lopez
Research Associate, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Manon Bajard
Researcher, University of Oslo, Norway

Related scientific sessions: HS5.3.1, ITS3.2/BG7, HS4.5, CL4.34, HS4.2


Monday, 26 April 17:00 CEST

Geoscientists working to reconstruct a snippet of Earth’s history or increase our understanding of modern-day processes must often think like detectives, assembling together bits and pieces of evidence from multiple sources to develop, and then test, a ‘whodunnit’ hypothesis. In this press conference, journalists will hear about new ‘geofingerprinting’ techniques that research teams have developed to trace the origin of one of cooking’s most important commodities and to detect the timing and climatic impacts of the colossal Toba volcanic eruption, one of the largest in the past ~2.6 million years. Another team will trace the source of cobblestones dropped by icebergs in the Amundsen Sea—and explain how these clues offer new information regarding the previous extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Chiara Telloli
Researcher, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Italy

Christine Siddoway
Professor, Colorado College, United States

Laura Crick
Doctoral candidate, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

Related scientific sessions: CR1.1, AS3.25, ITS3.10/ERE1.7


Tuesday, 27 April 15:00 CEST

From rock hammers and Brunton compasses to multimillion-dollar satellites and mass spectrometers, Earth, planetary, and space scientists use a wide variety of tools to ply their trades. This press conference will look at how several research teams are applying new geoscience tools and techniques to solve real-world problems, from predicting the beaching of debris on the Galapagos Islands and preserving a cathedral’s medieval paintings to guiding the search for meteorites across Antarctica.

Stefanie Ypma
Researcher, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Yunus Esel
Doctoral candidate, Christian-Albrechts-University, Germany

Veronica Tollenaar
Postdoctoral researcher, Free University of Brussels, Belgium

Related scientific sessions: ITS2.5/OS4.8, NH6.8, CR2.5


Tuesday, 27 April 16:00 CEST

The Sahara, Earth’s largest hot desert, covers an area nearly as large as China. In this press conference we will learn about the far-reaching impacts of the dust that comes from this vast sand sea, including how it can destabilise snow in the French Alps and contribute to large sand and dust storms. Because these extreme meteorological events can affect aviation operations, solar energy production, and air quality, geoscientists are striving to better understand these storms and predict their implications.

Marie Dumont
Director, Snow Research Center, Météo-France, France

Athanasios Votsis
Senior Researcher, Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Finland

Sara Basart
Postdoctoral researcher, Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain

Related scientific sessions: AS1.27, CR5.3, CL2.1


Wednesday, 28 April 15:00 CEST

2020 was another record-setting year for wildfires. In Australia, flames torched 18 million hectares and killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals during the continent’s 2019–2020 ‘Black Summer’. Heatwaves helped drive unprecedented wildfire activity in South America’s Pantanal, the planet’s largest tropical wetland, and record-setting levels of wildfire CO2 emissions across the Arctic Circle, whilst California experienced its worst-ever wildfire season (again). In this press conference, journalists will hear about the latest research on some of these fires, including the transcontinental transport of smoke particles and the short- and long-term effects on the Pantanal. This press conference will also focus on new modelling techniques to improve assessments of wildfire and economic risk, and to reduce fire hazard through more informed land management decision-making.

Benedetto De Rosa
Researcher, National Research Council, Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (CNR-IMAA), Italy

Bruno Aparício
Researcher, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Dirk Thielen
Associate Investigator, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC), Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Samuel Lüthi
Doctoral candidate, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Related scientific sessions: BG1.1, GI4.2, NH9.1, NH7.1


Wednesday, 28 April 17:00 CEST

Scientific research has increasingly shown that the environment can play a key role in the development—and the destruction—of human civilisations. State-of-the-art methods continue to shed new light on environmental factors that have contributed to major historic and prehistoric societal changes. During this press conference, we will hear about the cultural and geological evidence for a megatsunami that struck a remote Pacific atoll in the mid-16th century. Another team of researchers will discuss how a major volcanic eruption may have contributed to the breakup of the great Mongol Empire. We’ll also hear how a new interdisciplinary field of study is illuminating the influence of climate change on human history, in the hope of providing crucial lessons for the future of humankind.

Dagomar Degroot
Associate Professor, Georgetown University, United States

Stephen Pow
Postdoctoral Researcher, Central European University, Hungary

James Terry
Professor, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Related scientific sessions: NH5.3, ITS3.2/BG7, ITS3.5/NH3


The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity and the planet. It’s a non-profit, interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002 and headquartered in Munich, Germany. The EGU publishes 19 open-access scientific journals and organises topical meetings plus education and outreach activities.

Each EGU General Assembly provides journalists with opportunities to learn about new developments in a wide variety of fields, such as planetary exploration, water resources, Earth observation, polar science, climate change, pollution, and natural hazards. For the latest meeting information, please check the vEGU21 press portal or follow EGU on Twitter and Facebook.