Top AGU news and views from 2020


As we look back on 2020, we wanted to share some of the top news and views coming out of AGU. Some of this content reflects our world today: Our transition to a fully virtual Fall Meeting, and reaffirming AGU’s commitment to address racism and foster an inclusive culture.

Our top content also features new science from our community, including new insights into our oceans and solar system, new research on climate change and auroras, and first-time looks at sand ripples on Mars and the birth of an ice stream.

Be sure to also check out videos from #AGU20. We have roughly four months of content from Fall Meeting sessions, lectures, plenaries and events that is available to registered #AGU20 attendees until 15 February 2021.

We hope you enjoy a look back and 2020 and we look forward to 2021!

Top From the Prow posts:

  1. #AGU20: Online Everywhere Experience. With Fall Meeting less than five months away, AGU Fall Meeting leaders outlined their plans for creating the most diverse, engaging and dynamic online experience.
  2. AGU Fall Meeting is virtual (mostly) and remains global (always). AGU announced in June that #AGU20 will be mostly virtual.
  3. AGU demands diversity, equity and inclusion. After the murder of George Floyd, AGU issued a statement demanding better for our community and for the future of our society and the planet.
  4. Creating, and Navigating, the Virtual Fall Meeting. In October, AGU detailed some of the thinking that went into the creation of #AGU20.
  5. AGU commits to 8 action areas to combat systemic racism. In August, AGU leadership resolved to take eight bold, meaningful actions aimed at systemic change to address racism and foster an inclusive culture.

Top Eos stories:

  1. Are We Seeing a New Ocean Starting to Form in Africa? Although shallow magma storage at Erta Ale volcano hints at a rift-to-ridge transition, the tectonic future of the Afar region is far from certain.
  2. Search for MH370 Revealed Ocean Crust Waves. Efforts to recover the missing airplane produced high-resolution bathymetry of the southern Indian Ocean that raises new ideas about how ocean crust forms.
  3. How Long Was Venus Habitable? Climate simulations of Venus’s history could provide insights into the habitability of Earth and of exoplanets.
  4. Five Environmental Consequences of Australia’s Fires. Australia’s road to recovery may be long: Here’s a developing list of how the fires are affecting glaciers, wildlife, water supplies, and global carbon emissions.
  5. Visualizing Science: How Color Determines What We See. Color plays a major role in the analysis and communication of scientific information. New tools are helping to improve how color can be applied more accurately and effectively to data.

Top AGU videos:

  1. Sand ‘megaripples’ migrate in Martian deserts. In a new research study, scientists show for the first time that large sand ripples known as megaripples are migrating in Martian deserts.
  2. A first-ever look at ice stream formation. Scientists have captured the birth of a high-speed ice stream for the first time on top of a Russian glacier.
  3. A new type of aurora named ‘the dunes.’ A new type of aurora called “the dunes” discovered by aurora chasers in Finland is helping scientists better understand a mysterious layer of Earth’s atmosphere.
  4. Whale Cam: A day in the life of an Antarctic minke whale. Cameras attached to a rare species of Antarctic whale are giving scientists an unprecedented view of how the whales survive in their sea ice habitat.
  5. Listen to narwhals click, buzz and whistle. With the help of Inuit hunters, geophysicists recently recorded the various calls, buzzes, clicks and whistles of narwhals as they summered in a Greenland fjord.

Top AGU journal articles in the news:

  1. Citizen Scientists Discover a New Auroral Form: Dunes Provide Insight Into the Upper Atmosphere. A new type of aurora called “the dunes” discovered by aurora chasers in Finland is helping scientists better understand a mysterious layer of Earth’s atmosphere.
  2. Arctic Sea Ice in CMIP6. The Arctic Ocean in summer will very likely be ice free before 2050, at least temporarily.
  3. An Assessment of Earth’s Climate Sensitivity Using Multiple Lines of Evidence. New study rules out less severe global warming scenarios.
  4. Grounding Line Retreat of Denman Glacier, East Antarctica, Measured With COSMO‐SkyMed Radar Interferometry Data. East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier has retreated 5 kilometers, nearly 3 miles, in the past 22 years, and researchers are concerned that the shape of the ground surface beneath the ice sheet could make it even more susceptible to climate-driven collapse.
  5. Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Geyser Shut Down by a Severe Thirteenth Century Drought. Scientists studying wood samples preserved by Old Faithful have determined that the famous geyser was dormant for several decades during the 13th century due to a megadrought.

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