The poster hall is a great opportunity to see research trends across disciplines and meet fellow scientists. Credit: Karna Kurata/

This year’s AGU Fall Meeting has a packed schedule with more than 20,000 oral and poster presentations, as well as many other events each day. It’s thrilling to be surrounded by so much cutting-edge science, but it can be difficult to navigate such a large program of events. We asked the editors of AGU’s journals for their top picks, particularly those which should be accessible to non-specialists. The AGU Publications staff also added a few of their highlights.

As many of the events comprise multiple sessions across different days, the recommendations are grouped by broad topic. This second post covers Climate, Paleoclimatology, Hydrology, Earth Surface and Biogeosciences, and Geohealth. The first post covers Interdisciplinary, Science Communication and Publishing, Space, Planets, Solid Earth, Atmosphere, and Oceans.

Each recommendation includes the session code (with a link to the details in the scientific program), the day, time and room. All rooms are located within the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. For more information see the full Fall Meeting schedule.


  • Climate Dynamics: Theory, Modeling, and Breakthroughs – This Union session uses the lens of Jule Charney’s career to look at how progress can be made on big scientific questions. (Meghan Cronin, Geophysical Research Letters) – Union Session (U13A), Monday, 13:40-15:40, Room E2
  • The Resilience and Vulnerability of Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems to Climate Change – I’m particularly interested in cross-cutting sessions where the talks and posters synthesize current thinking on how the Arctic may be responding to warming. (Rose Cory, Geophysical Research Letters) – Session I (B11J), Monday, 08:00-10:00, Session II (B12C), Monday, 10:20-12:20, Session III (B13J), Monday, 13:40-15:40, and Session IV (B14A), Monday, 16:00-18:00, all in Room 356-357; Posters (B21F), Tuesday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F
  • Tropical Cyclones: Observations, Modeling, and Predictability – (Minghua Zhang, JGR: Atmospheres) – Session I (A11S), Monday, 08:00-10:00, Session II (A12H), Monday, 10:20-12:20, and Session III (A13N), Monday, 13:40-15:40, all in Room E3; Posters (A13H), Monday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Energy Flows Through the Climate System – Given the scale and impact of climate change projections it’s easy to forget that the perturbation to the earth’s energy budget is really quite small. This session focuses on how to measure those imbalances precisely enough to detect the climate change signal, and how to observe the fate of that imbalance as it melts glaciers, warms and expands the ocean, warms the polls, and so on. (Robert Pincus, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems) – Session (GC24C), Tuesday, 16:00-18:00, Room 280-282; Posters (GC21D), Tuesday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F
  • Climate Intervention: Is Geoengineering in Earth’s Future? – The goal of the ratified Paris Accord to limit global warming to 2°C is unlikely achieved by voluntary emission reductions. Beyond greenhouse gas actions, climate intervention, or geoengineering, is a means of limiting and even reducing the extent of global warming and ocean acidification. This approach builds on humanity’s tradition of devising practical solutions to human needs and challenges, but is controversial as it presents a host of complex scientific, technical, economic, policy and ethical challenges. (Ben van der Pluijm, Earth’s Future) – Posters (GC43H), Thursday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F; Session (GC53H), Friday, 13:40-15:40, Room 260-262


  • Geoscience Approaches to Studying the Lineage of Human Evolution – Paleoclimate, paleoecology, biomarkers, hominins, stone tools, migration, and refugia: this session has it all. Start off your AGU experience with a truly interdisciplinary session that examines hominid evolution using geoscience tools and that includes a talk by Thur Cerling, recent laureate of the GSA President’s Medal. (Valerie Trouet, Geophysical Research Letters) Understanding the influence of environmental change on human evolution is an age-old scientific problem. There have been a number of recent large projects on this topic, and the session will feature a diverse set of talks from overviews of African paleoclimate to geochemical analyses of hominid diets. (Jim Russell, Paleoceanography) – Session (PP11F), Monday 08:00-10:00, Room 343; Posters (PP13B), Monday 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Past Climate Change in the Arctic and Subarctic: Lessons for the Future – Rapid changes in the Arctic in response to warming is a “hot” topic and well-represented in AGU journals. (Rose Cory, Geophysical Research Letters) – Session I (PP23E), Tuesday, 13:40-15:40, and Session II (PP24A), Tuesday, 16:00-18:00, both in Room 343; Posters (PP31C), Wednesday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F
  • Climate of the Common Era – I particularly recommend the first paper in this session by Amy Frappier: “Tales From The Paleoclimate Underground: Lessons Learned From Reconstructing Extreme Events” (PP41E-01) (Valerie Trouet, Geophysical Research Letters) – Session (PP41E), Thursday, 08:00-10:00, Room 344-345
  • Past Atmospheric Variability Inferred from Paleoclimate Proxies – I particularly recommend the paper in this session by Lisa Miller Baldini “Unravelling the Natural and Anthropogenic Drivers of North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Track Position since the Little Ice Age” (PP54B-03) Paleotempestology! (Valerie Trouet, Geophysical Research Letters) – Session (PP54B) Friday, 16:00-18:00, Room 343


  • Processes, Consequences, and Potentials in Coastal Zone Hydrogeology – Given the large populations that live in coastal areas and rely on groundwater resources, improved understanding of coastal zone hydrogeology is critical to evaluate impacts of water development and climate change on the availability of fresh water in these areas. (Jean Bahr, Water Resources Research) – Session (H11P), Monday, 08:00-10:00, Room 280-282; Posters (H13H), Monday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions: Identifying and Integrating Physical, Biological, and Chemical Patterns and Processes Across Scales – Interactions between groundwater and surface water have continued to be a strong theme among papers submitted to Water Resources Research. These interactions affect water quality in both the surface and subsurface systems and have important implications for nutrient cycling and ecosystem health. (Jean Bahr, Water Resources Research) – Session I (H11N), Monday, 08:00-10:00, Session II (H12E), Monday, 10:20-12:20, Session III (H13P), Monday, 13:40-15:40, and Session IV (H14F), Monday, 16:00-18:00, all in Room 298-299; Posters (H23D), Tuesday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • A New Generation of Isotopic, Trace Element, and Noble Gas Tracers of Hydrologic Processes – Continuing advances in development, resolution and interpretation of tracers provide new tools to improve our understanding of hydrologic processes. (Jean Bahr, Water Resources Research) – Posters (H11A), Monday, 08:00 – 12:20, Poster Hall D-F; Session I (H22A), Tuesday, 10:20-12:20, and Session II (H23K), Tuesday, 13:40-15:40, both in Room 298-299
  • Tropical Drought, Floodplains, and Ecological Sustainability – I think the e-lightning sessions are kinda cool (Ankur Desai, JGR: Biogeosciences) – Session (H34D), Wednesday, 16:00-18:00, eLightning Area
  • Recent Advances in the Hydrologic Sciences – Three editor-author pairs to present major breakthroughs in the hydrologic sciences and challenges in specific areas (groundwater, ecohydrology, and catchment hydrology). (Martyn Clark, Water Resources Research) I particularly recommend the paper in this session by David Scott Mackay “Recent developments and emergent challenges in Ecohydrology: Focus on the belowground frontier” (H42F-04) (Shirley Papuga, Water Resources Research) – Session (H42F), Thursday, 10:20-12:20, Room 280-282
  • Linking Dynamic Watershed Processes Across Spatial and Temporal Scales – The session highlights interdisciplinary watershed studies that span hydrology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry, and ecology. It’s a nice grab-bag of new and exciting watershed science research. (Audrey Sawyer, Water Resources Research) – Session (H52D), Friday, 10:20-12:20, Room 298-299; Posters (H53G), Friday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Extreme Precipitation in Past, Present, and Future Climates – (Minghua Zhang, JGR: Atmospheres) – Session I (A41K), Thursday, 08:00-10:00, and Session II (A43K), Thursday, 13:40-15:40, both in Room 392; Posters (A41C), Thursday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F

Earth Surface and Biogeosciences

  • Diagnostics, Sensitivity, and Uncertainty Analysis of Earth and Environmental Models – Focusing on new methods and studies in Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis (Juliane Mai, Water Resources Research) – Session I (H21N), Tuesday, 08:00-10:00, and Session II (H22D), Tuesday, 10:20-12:20, both in Room 283-285; Posters (H23C), Tuesday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Carbon and Nutrient Cycling and Transport at the Land-Ocean Interface: Current Understanding and Future Research Directions – This session is intended to synthesize research activities that address the impact of climate variability, climate change, and land-cover/land-use change on the transport and cycling of carbon and nitrogen to and within the coastal oceans through the use of field observations, satellite data and models. (Wei-Jun Cai, Global Biogeochemical Cycles) – Session I (OS23C), Tuesday 13:40-15:40, Session II (OS24A), Tuesday 16:00-18:00, Session III (OS31D) Wednesday, 08:00-10:00, and Session IV (OS32A) Wednesday, 10:20-12:20, all in Room 275-277; Posters (OS33A) Wednesday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Natural Wetlands, Inland Waters, and the Global Methane Cycle: Time to Reconcile Top-Down Atmospheric Estimates and Bottom-Up Biogeochemical Estimates of Methane Emissions – This session seeks to resolve a long standing mystery in the global methane budget. Why are wetland emissions estimates based on process level understanding generally much smaller than those inferred from atmospheric methane data? In the coming years, our community is likely to be called upon to provide near real time information about the natural sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in support of climate treaties. Resolving this puzzle in the methane budget it’s an important step in that direction. (Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, Global Biogeochemical Cycles) – Session I (B31I), Wednesday, 08:00-10:00, and Session II (B32C), Wednesday, 10:20-12:20, both in Room 356-357; Posters (B33E), Wednesday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Ecohydraulics: Flow-Biota and Sediment-Biota Interactions – Ecohydraulics is a growing area of research whose implications are numerous and globally relevant. The presentations in this session cover a broad range of studies ranging from laboratory and field observations to numerical modelling. This session was present also last year and was definitely a highlight. (Giovanni Coco, JGR: Earth Surface) – Session (EP41D), Thursday, 08:00-10:00, Room 353-355
  • Drivers of Vegetation Change and Impacts on Biogeochemical and Biogeophysical Processes in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems – Rapid changes in the Arctic in response to warming is currently a “hot” topic.  (Rose Cory, Geophysical Research Letters) – Posters (B41A), Thursday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F; Session (B43J), Thursday, 13:40-15:40, Room 386-387
  • Coupled Biogeochemical and Hydrological Processes in Permafrost-Affected Landscapes – (Rose Cory, Geophysical Research Letters) – Session (H42E), Thursday, 10:20-12:20, Room 298-299; Posters (H43F), Thursday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Complexity in Geomorphological Systems: Networks, Connectivity, and Self-Organization – This is certainly an exciting session with plenty of interesting presentations addressing the role of feedbacks in a variety of landscapes. Presentations cover coastlines (watch out for the invited speakers, they all deliver great talks), deltas, river networks, wetlands and dunes. If you are into Geomorphology, you should not miss this one. (Giovanni Coco, JGR: Earth Surface) – Session I (EP51D), Friday, 08:00 – 10:00, and Session II (EP52A), Friday, 10:20-12:20, both in Room 352; Posters (EP53A), Friday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions and Atmospheric Chemistry – (Joel Thornton, Geophysical Research Letters) – Posters (A51B), Friday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F; Session I (A52D), Friday, 10:20-12:20, Session II (A53J), Friday, 13:40-15:40, and Session III (A54B), Friday, 16:00-18:00, all in Room 395-39


  • Global and Regional Water-Food-Energy Security Under Changing Environments – Community health relies on the ability to balance water, food, and energy needs, all of which will be threatened as environments change climate change and other human impacts. (Gabe Filippelli, GeoHealth) – Posters (GC31D), Wednesday, 08:00-12:20, Poster Hall D-F; Session (GC44A), Thursday, 16:00-18:00, Room 260-262
  • Fires Impact on Air Quality and Climate: Measurements and Predictions Across All Scales – (Joel Thornton, Geophysical Research Letters) – Posters (A31C), Wednesday, 08:00-12:20, and Posters (A43E), Thursday, 13:40-18:00, both in Poster Hall D-F; Session I (A33K), Wednesday, 13:40-15:40, Session II (A34D), Wednesday, 16:00-18:00, Session III (A41L), Thursday, 08:00-10:00, and Session IV (A42C), Thursday, 10:20-12:20, all in Room 395-396
  • Air Pollution in Urban Airsheds During Winter – (Joel Thornton, Geophysical Research Letters) – Session I (A51J), Friday, 08:00-10:00, Session II (A52B) Friday, 10:20-12:20, and Session III (A53H), Friday, 13:40-15:40, Room 393-394; Posters (A53B), Friday, 13:40-18:00, Poster Hall D-F
  • Public Health Applications of Remote Sensing – Public health protection requires accurate and widely –available monitoring systems to protect people from vector-borne disease, environmental exposure, and poor air quality, and heat stress, among others. Lacking those monitoring systems in many places, remote sensing may play a critical role providing the monitoring backbone to public health protection. (Gabe Filippelli, GeoHealth) – Session (U53A), Friday, 13:40-15:40, Room E2

—Jenny Lunn, Director of Publications, AGU; email:


Lunn, J. (2017), AGU editor picks for 2017 Fall Meeting, part II, Eos, 98, Published on 04 December 2017.

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