Geology & Geophysics Editors' Vox

Subduction, Stratosphere, Starspots, and Sushi

Highlights from AGU’s joint meeting with the Japan Geophysical Union.

By , , , , and

8450 people gathered in Chiba, Japan, at the end of May for the first ever joint meeting of the Japan Geophysical Union (JpGU) and American Geophysical Union (AGU). Under the theme “For a Borderless World of Geoscience,” more than 150 sessions covered all areas of the Earth and space sciences. Four AGU journal editors were among the attendees and we asked them to share some highlights.

Thorsten Becker, Editor in Chief, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Attending JpGU was fun, as always, and it was great to see things done in different ways, including the Kitchen Earth Science session, the lunchtime keynotes, and the Oshaberi bar pop-up talks which were a bit like stand-up science comedy but karaoke style. There were 75 solid earth sessions, covering the gamut of geodesy, tectonics, geodynamics, seismology, volcanology and geochemistry, with a number of exciting discussions. Those were bracketed by a kick-off session on Saturday on the asthenosphere and what it means for plate tectonics, and a comprehensive subduction zone dynamics session on the last day of the meeting.

Delores J. Knipp, Editor in Chief, Space Weather and Space Weather Quarterly

There was a full-day session at JpGU devoted to space weather with 21 oral presentations. An additional 26 talks and posters related to space weather were presented in allied sessions on the ionosphere, magnetosphere, and solar-terrestrial relations. Scientists covered an extraordinary range in these talks from tracing millions of simulated cosmic ray particles introduced at the nose of the heliosphere and following their paths into the solar system, to modeling how solar wind disturbances penetrate into power grids via conducting paths beneath Earth’s surface. Development of the next generation of space weather models in Japan and the US was another hot topic. A few presenters looked back in time to illustrate auroral sightings in Japan and southern China reported in diaries dating back to the 9th century. Beyond space weather effects created by the Sun and by tides and waves in lower regions of Earth’s atmosphere, there were equally fascinating discussions of star-spot and super flare activity on solar-like stars. The number of presentations by early career scientists highlight the vibrancy of the space weather discipline in Western Pacific Rim.

Andrew Yau, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

As many as 11 scientific sessions were devoted to solar terrestrial sciences, space electromagnetism, and space environment, which literally “cover everything under the Sun.” These included sessions on the physics in the atmosphere and ionosphere; dynamics in the magnetosphere and ionosphere; heliosphere and interplanetary space; as well as the coupling between the mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere; inner magnetosphere coupling; and new results on space plasma processes from the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. There were also 10 planetary science sessions, including ones on Mars, Venus, and outer Solar System exploration. The MMS and the outer Solar System sessions featured a number of papers published in the recent Geophysical Research Letters special issues on MMS and on the Juno mission, respectively.

Minghua Zhang, Editor in Chief, JGR-Atmospheres

There were 12 sessions related to atmospheric sciences, meteorology, and atmospheric environment. These sessions included topics on the physical processes of clouds, precipitation, tropical cyclones, and aerosols; three-dimensional cloud modeling and high-performance computing for next generation weather and climate models; stratosphere-troposphere interactions and interhemispheric coupling; air pollution and atmospheric chemistry. One session was devoted to the carbon cycle observation and analysis. Another session was devoted to the Years of the Maritime Continent international field campaign. Meanwhile, in the session on cloud resolving model simulations, a group of scientists from Japan reported numerical simulation results of an entire tropical cyclone by using a large-eddy model. The model has 20,000 by 20,000 grids in the horizontal directions and 60 in the vertical. They found three different types of coherent dynamical roll structures that organize the convection, precipitation, and momentum transport in the tropical cyclones, two of which have not been known before.

Find out more about the JpGU-AGU meeting by reading a “From the Prow” post by AGU’s Executive Director, an AGU News article on by AGU’s Meetings Director, and a staff blog post, as well as GeoSpace blog posts on papers presented including early Tanpopo mission results which show that microbes can survive in space, a new technique for assessing earthquake risk for major cities worldwide, and results of a study of radioactivity in the soil following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

—Jenny Lunn, Assistant Director of Publications, American Geophysical Union; email: [email protected]; Thorsten W. Becker, Institute for Geophysics and Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin; Delores J. Knipp, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder; Andrew Yau, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary; and Minghua Zhang, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University