Vignettes from EGU

  • None (for now). I forgot the cable for my compact camera!

General Observations:

  • Vienna is a lovely city, and the Austria Centre is the best venue I’ve seen for a conference of this size.
  • EGU is mired in the past: halls with literally thousands of posters. However that many, coupled with a “no photography of scientific material” rule makes little sense. Not only do I not approve of the rule, I think it’s counter productive: posters simply don’t reach the audiences they deserve. While allowing photography wont solve that in the way an electronic archive of the posters could, it would at least mean that some posters which folk found interesting enough to find, but didn’t have time to consume, would be digestable later.
  • Session chairs still don’t seem to understand the importance of staying on schedule: if someone doesn’t show, don’t advance the talks, you just piss of those of us who have tried to generate a cross-session schedule.
  • The wireless network(s) and proxy server(s) were/are not up to the load! In this day and age that’s unacceptable …
    • … and neither is having about one power socket per 100 people. (Both of which factors are why I’m not live blogging. All kudos to Steve.)
  • The folks who went to the trouble of developing a java application that talked to a sqllite database of abstracts and giving it to all the attendees might have considered making it more easily available on a linux platfom! Why bother with an interoperable platform and then bury it in O/S specific launchables?

Scientific Observations:

  • Stephan Ramsdorf’s presentation on thermohaline stability was thought provoking.
  • The prevalence of model intercomparison projects demonstates both the scientific utility of the approach and the necessity to find more ways of rewarding those whose careers are devoted to model development and model integration as opposed to scientific interpretation.
  • Downscaling, both dynamic and statistical, are both bigger business than I had appreciated. (It’s a long time since I’ve come to such a broad spectrum conference so this.)
  • Seasonal predictability appears to be just as dependent on the physical parameterisations of convection and land surfaces as we expect longer term climate to be.

Comments off the record:

  • If you want to have a highly cited paper analysing the CMIP5 database, make sure you publish in a journal which moves fast, not necessarily one with the highest impact factor.

State of mind after three days of five days?

  • Pleasantly surprised. I’ve been a pretty trenchant critic of conferences this size. I think I might have been wrong. The networking opportunities are outstanding and the opportunity to get educated across a breadth of things, simply excellent (particularly for someone in my role)!