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US – Union Symposia

Programme Group Chairs: Athanasios Nenes, Maria-Helena Ramos


Measurements and observations are essential to the development and advancement of understanding in the geosciences. Measurements are also critical to the detection and quantification of long term change and short term hazards, at a time when non-stationarity in Earth systems is increasing and extreme events are occurring daily. For many regions and domains however, observational networks are lacking, while the need for information is increasing due to growing human populations, intensifying geopolitical pressures and Earth’s rapidly changing climate.
Happily, at a time where the need for observational information is greatest, so too are the opportunities. New observational tools ranging from advanced spaceborne sensors delivering global high resolution data, to a proliferation of ultra-low-cost sensors all present new opportunities. High performance computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data assimilation can streamline workflows and deliver new insights from novel and established sources. The re-analysis of historical records, often through shared effort, can improve understanding of past events and conditions. The opportunistic repurposing of existing sensor technologies is leading to exciting and cost-effective new opportunities for monitoring and observations.
To ensure the long term success of the geosciences, and the health of our planet, it is imperative that advances in measurement science continue and that knowledge and information is shared effectively within our community, and beyond.
The hosts and invited speakers from a range of science and technology disciplines in this Union-wide session will showcase the most exciting advances in measurement, monitoring and observational tools and data systems, and look to the future to see what new possibilities exist. We will explore how innovations from outside of the geoscience domain can bring benefit to our work and how our community can drive the development of new tools and techniques.
The speakers will explore pathways and obstacles to innovation, and help the audience identify opportunities to advance observational methods across the geosciences.
The session will energise the community to realise the unprecedented opportunities that now exist, and will be of interest and relevance to everyone obtaining or using measurements and observations across all scientific divisions.

And remember, making measurements is always more fun…!

Public information:

We are delighted to welcome some exceptional speakers to this union-wide interdisciplinary session that aims to showcase the latest advances and possibilities in measurements and observations in the geosciences. If you are interested in measurements and measurement technologies, make sure you attend!

The speakers are: 

•         Klaus Scipal – Mission Manager, Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and Biomass missions, European Space Agency (ESA)

•         Rosemary Morrow – CNAP oceanographer at Laboratoire d'Études en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS), and the French Observation Service CTOH. Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) Oceanography Science Lead.

•         Michael Wollersheim – Director of Analytics, ICEYE. Persistent Earth monitoring with radar satellite imaging, manufacturers of satellite systems, and solutions for government.

•         Prof. Remko Uijlenhoet: Professor of Hydrology & Water Resource, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology

Following short presentations from the speakers, the session will have a panel discussion format and will invite questions from the audience. 


  • Rosemary Morrow, CNRS/CNES/UPS/IRD, France
  • Remko Uijlenhoet, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Klaus Scipal, European Space Agency, Italy
  • Michael Wollersheim, ICEYE, Finland
Convener: Nick Everard | Co-conveners: Bertrand Le Saux, Kirk Martinez
| Mon, 15 Apr, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)
Room E1
Mon, 16:15

Climate science now unequivocally states that human activities have caused the global warming that is observed to date. This state of knowledge builds on centuries of scientific advances in the understanding of the climate system, from multiple lines of evidence - observations, theory, process understanding, and numerical modelling. This presentation will build on key findings from the Sixth Assessment Cycle of the Intergovernemental Panel on Climate Change, and place the current scientific understanding in this context of climate science history, and lay out what is the current state of climate, with the observed intensification of global and regional changes, and what are physically plausible futures, unpacking how science underpins the understanding of the climate emergency. We will encompass the scientific understanding of human influence on the global carbon cycle and sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, of human influence on observed climates (attribution), and insights from past climate evidence (paleoclimatology). We will explain how advances in the understanding of the Earth system are crucial to inform climate action through the understanding of current and future changes in global and regional climatic impact-drivers, as a function of human influence and global warming levels, and through the understanding of the geophysical constraints for halting global warming, in particular the specific roles of cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide and short-lived climate forcers. Finally we will provide a physical climate science perspective on the current state of climate action, following the outcomes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 28th Conference of Parties (COP28).

Public information:

Monday, 15 April 2024, Room E1, 08:30 > 10:15

This Union Symposium will build on key findings from the Sixth Assessment Cycle of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will place the current scientific understanding in this context of climate science history and lay out what is the current state of climate, with the observed intensification of global and regional changes, and what are physically plausible futures, unpacking how science underpins the understanding of the climate emergency.

After a short presentation of the session we'll present the two Invited speakers:

Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, IPSL, France


Joeri Rogelj, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, London, Great Britain

Then, after two 25-30 minutes presentations by the speakers, there will be about 45 minutes of questions by the public.

Convener: Carlo Laj | Co-convener: Jean Luc Berenguer
| Mon, 15 Apr, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)
Room E1
Mon, 08:30

The Arctic is warming between 4-8 times faster than the global average, making permafrost soil organic carbon susceptible to degradation. The quantity and timeline of methane emissions from this carbon entering the atmosphere is uncertain. Yet, the permafrost environment is changing rapidly, permafrost thaw is leading to increasingly significant changes in landscape and biodiversity. To predict the impacts of permafrost thaw on the landscape and methane emissions, international collaboration is necessitated. To this end, ESA and NASA have established the Arctic Methane Permafrost Challenge, a transatlantic initiative bringing together circumpolar studies across scales.

The aim of this session is to further enhance the understanding of all aspects of change in the permafrost environment leading to methane emissions across all scales in the circumpolar Arctic. This symposium will invite leading figures in the field in order to understand the current state of research, and how to further understanding. The session will focus on science synergies across biodiversity and landscape studies, carbon cycling, and integrated observing technologies across international partners to build on and enhance existing Arctic science.

Public information:

In this union symposium we aim to discuss and understand the current status of methane from the permafrost, and the future priorities of research from a remote sensing perspective.  



  • Annett Bartsch, b.geos, Austria
  • Merritt Turetsky, University of Colorado Boulder, United States of America
  • Edward Schuur, Northern Arizona University, United States of America
Convener: Edward Malina | Co-conveners: Kimberley Miner, Dirk Schüttemeyer, Martijn PallandtECSECS
| Fri, 19 Apr, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)
Room E1
Fri, 08:30

Incomplete evidence for the long-term evolution of Earth and difficulties of integrating existing data, in particular in digital form, limit the geoscientific understanding of Earth’s past and future. A wealth of data exists in archives and publications, which is not readily accessible to scientists. Compilation of such data in digital databases with existing digital data can mark a qualitative step forward to geosciences, in particular by combining it with efficient new data structures, data extraction methods and processing software.

This challenge is being explored by the new Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) programme, launched by IUGS and around 30 other geoscience organisations, with the vision to foster a deep-time data driven research paradigm. DDE will harmonize deep-time earth data, share global geoscience knowledge, and advance geoscience understanding and research through development of an open-access on-line digital infrastructure.

This interdisciplinary Union-wide session includes contributions from various geoscience disciplines, particularly those where research progress is dependent on the availability and access to complex, global-scale datasets and models in deep time. The session presents contributions from application of Big Data analyses through Cloud Computing, and studies based on building, extending and using online platforms, together with discussion of secure and ethical data sharing in a digital infrastructure aiming at solving Deep-time issues.


  • A.M. Celâl Şengör, ITU Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Türkiye
  • Manuel Pubellier, Ecole Normale Superieure, France
  • Francois Robida, France
  • Simon Hodson, CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council, France
  • Zhen Hong Du, Zhejiang Unversity, China
  • Dietmar Müller, Univ. of Sydney, Australia
  • Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution for Science, United States of America
  • Shuzhong Shen, Nanjing University, China
  • Bilal Haq, Sorbonne University, France
  • Isabel Montañez, University of California, Davis, United States of America
Co-sponsored by ILP
Convener: Chengshan Wang | Co-conveners: Jennifer McKinley, Hans Thybo, Patricio Guillermo Villafañe, Monica Munassa Ribeiro Petreque Chamussa Juvane
| Thu, 18 Apr, 14:00–18:00 (CEST)
Room E1
Thu, 14:00

In 2023, the European Commission published the Critical Raw Materials (CRM) Act. This regulation established benchmarks for the supply of CRMs within the European Union:

• At least 10% of the EU's annual consumption for extraction,
• At least 40% of the EU's annual consumption for processing,
• At least 15% of the EU's annual consumption for recycling,
• Not more than 65% of the Union's annual consumption of each strategic raw material at any relevant stage of processing from a single third country.

Achieving these targets will require (i) Creating secure and resilient EU critical raw materials supply chains; (ii) Ensuring that the EU can mitigate supply risks, (iii) Investing in research, innovation and skills and (iv) Protecting the environment by improving circularity and sustainability of critical raw materials, (v) strengthening international partnerships.

Under the Act, EU countries will be required to identify and quantify their mineral resources, including virgin materials and potential waste streams. European geoscientists across all areas of research and resource assessment will need to develop new, more efficient, tools, data and data products to support the Act. These will also need to be widely shared and implemented to deliver European-wide resource estimates. Critically, this work will require collaboration with economists, environmental scientists, policymakers and social and behavioural scientists.

This Union Symposium aims to identify the role of geoscientists in delivering the CRM Act for Europe. Discussion will focus on how we can build on previous research, infrastructure and data, and aims to identify new opportunities under collaborative programmes such as Horizon Europe.
Expert Panellists include:
o Mr Gabriel Nievoll, DG Grow, European Commission
o Dr Christoph Poinssot, Deputy CEO Geological Survey of France (BRGM) & EuroGeoSurveys
o Priv. Doz. Dr. Simona Regenspurg, GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potzdam
o Dr Karen Hanghoj, Director British Geological Survey

Additional speaker

  • Ana Luisa Lavado, RML Ltd, Ireland
Convener: Aoife Braiden | Co-conveners: Ana Luisa Lavado, Mairéad Fitzsimons, Jakob Kloeve Keiding
| Mon, 15 Apr, 10:45–12:30 (CEST)
Room E1
Mon, 10:45

In 2022 the IPCC called out climate disinformation for the first time, noting a “deliberate undermining of science” was contributing to “misperceptions of the scientific consensus, uncertainty, disregarded risk and urgency, and dissent”.

The spread of false and misleading information can erode trust in public institutions, governments, and the scientific community. It fosters polarisation, disrupts informed decision-making, obstructs constructive dialogue, and subsequently poses a threat to social cohesion and democracy. As researchers, we stand in the eye of the storm. As professional “knowledge generators”, we produce and evaluate facts and should be well-equipped to debunk information we read elsewhere. At the same time, we may not be as well equipped as we think and our research may be taken out of context, with single facts inserted into a wider misleading narrative.

During this Union Symposium, an expert panel will outline what mis- and disinformation is, how it is created and spread in the digital age, why false experts gain traction and how they intentionally misrepresent scientific research, and how the dissemination of doubt and denial can undermine public trust, influence policy decisions, and impact society as a whole. The session will also discuss the role and responsibility of the scientific community in managing and preventing the spread of misinformation as well as the other tools that exist to deal with it.

Given the prevalence of mis and disinformation in today’s society, this session will be relevant for participants from all career stages and scientific disciplines.

Public information:


  • Bärbel Winkler: IT systems analyst & Skeptical Science contributor
  • Vita Crivello: Science-Policy & Science Communication expert 
  • Gaura Naithani: Project Manager & Researcher, European Journalism Centre
  • Simon Clark: Science communicator & author


  • Bärbel Winkler, Skeptical Science, United States of America
  • Vitalba Crivello, Belgium
  • Simon Clark, United Kingdom
  • Gaura Naithani, European Journalism Centre, Netherlands
Convener: Flora Maria BroczaECSECS | Co-conveners: Chloe Hill, Viktor J. Bruckman, Kirsten v. Elverfeldt, Christina West
| Wed, 17 Apr, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)
Room E1
Wed, 08:30