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Next IUGG General Assembly Montreal, Canada
(July 8-19, 2019)

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Union symposia


All Union symposia will be held in the Congress Hall.

U = Union Symposia
UL = Union Lectures

Jun 23
Jun 24
Jun 25
Jun 26
Jun 27
Jun 28
Jun 29
Jun 30
Jul 1
U1 UL1
U8 UL2

U2 U10
U6 U11
U5 U9

Opening U2 U10 U6 (U11)
U5 U9

Preliminary programme is subject to change.



Union symposia are based on solicited talks.

Click here to see Union lectures and speakers' details.


U1 Future Earth and Sustainability

Convener: Tom Beer, Aspendale, Australia (CCEC/IAMAS)

Co-conveners: Jianping Li, Beijing, China (IAMAS); Athena Coustenis, Meudon, France (IAMAS); Mark Stafford Smith, Black Mountain, Australia (Future Earth); Tonie van Dam, Luxembourg, Luxembourg (IAG); Eigil Friis-Christensen, Lyngby, Denmark (IAGA); Makoto Taniguchi, Kyoto, Japan (IAHS); Keith Alverson, Nairobi, Kenya (IAPSO); Ian Allison, Hobart, Australia (IACS); Domenico Giardini, Zurich, Switzerland (IASPEI); Setsuya Nakada, Tokyo, Japan (IAVCEI)


Future Earth is a new 10-year international research programme jointly initiated by International Council for Science (ICSU), International Social Science Council (ISSC), Belmont Forum, UN Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN University (UNU) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that will develop the knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global climatic and environmental change and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the coming decades. Future Earth will provide a global knowledge and collaboration platform and deliver a step-change in the way science for sustainability is produced and used. Participants are invited to highlight relevant innovative new ideas and new developments in global sustainability, linking climatic and environmental change and development challenges to satisfy human needs for food, water, energy and health, effective interdisciplinary collaboration to find the best scientific solutions to multi-faceted problems, timely information for policy-makers, and increased capacity building in science, technology and innovation.

List of solicited speakers

Guy Brasseur (Boulder, USA), Bruce M. Campbell (Copenhagen, Denmark), David Johnston (Wellington, New Zealand), Pavel Kabat (Laxenburg, Austria), Alberto Montanari (Bologna, Italy), Guoxiong Wu (Beijing, China), Tetsuzo Yasunari (Kyoto, Japan)

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U2 Integrated Disaster Risk Science: Accounting for Extremes

Convener: Vladimir Kossobokov, Moscow, Russia (GRC/IASPEI)

Co-conveners: Christophe Cudennec, Rennes, France (IAHS); Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Ibaraki, Japan (IRDR); Joan Marti, Barcelona, Spain (IAVCEI); Diana Greenslade, Melbourne, Australia (IAPSO); Christian Huggel, Zurich, Switzerland (IACS); David Jackson, Los Angeles, USA (IASPEI); John LaBrecque, Washington, USA (IAG); Alan Thomson, Edinburgh, U.K. (IAGA)


Losses from natural hazards have continued to increase steadily. Science is largely responsible for societal failures in satisfactorily coping with many challenging changes in exposures at risk and their vulnerabilities inflicted by growing populations and economies, along with their concentration. Scientists, for their special education, knowledge and skills, owe it to Society, which does not possess the same special knowledge and skills. The multiplicity of natural hazards leads to a disaster upon an extreme event happens, which, by definition, is a particularly rare one in a series of similarly related phenomena. The multiplicity and rareness complicates reliable assessment of the major risks that is the necessary prerequisite for making timely decisions and implementation of the hazard-associated preparedness measures to mitigate humanitarian and economic losses.

Our Symposium encourages presentations that help understanding the key-role of accounting for extreme events in the integrated disaster risk science. Mutual aspects of reliable assessment of risks from natural hazards are addressed in Joint Inter-Association Symposia JV1 Extreme Geological Events (IAVCEI, IAGA, IAG, IASPEI), JH1 Extreme Hydrological Events (IAHS, IACS, IAG, IAMAS) and JP5 Tsunamis (IAPSO, IASPEI).

List of solicited speakers

David Johnston (Wellington, New Zealand), Gordon McBean (London, Canada), Giuliano F. Panza (Trieste, Italy), Peter Hoeppe (Munich, Germany), Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz (Poznan/Potsdam, Poland/Germany), David S. Green (Washington, USA), Chris Rizos (Sydney, Australia), Alfredo Mahar Lagmay (Diliman Quezon City, Philippines), Hans-Peter Plag (Norfolk, USA)


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U3 Mathematics and Observations of Earth Systems

Convener: Yehuda Ben-Zion, Los Angeles, USA (CMG/IUGG)

Co-conveners: Ilya Zaliapin, Reno, USA (IASPEI); Roberto Carniel, Udine, Italy (IAVCEI); Alexey Gvishiani, Moscow, Russia (IAGA); Ute Herzfeld, Boulder, USA (IACS); Matthias Holschneider, Potsdam, Germany (IAGA); Richard Peltier, Toronto, Canada (IAMAS); Malcolm Sambridge, Canberra, Australia (IASPEI); Daniel Schertzer, Marne-la-Vallée, France (IAHS); Gordon Swaters, Edmonton, Canada (IAPSO); Nico Sneeuw, Stuttgart, Germany (IAG)


The Union Symposium Mathematics and Observations of Earth Systems will highlight synergies between Mathematics and Geosciences and encourage further research in identifying and solving fundamental questions about various Earth Systems and their interplay. The symposium will showcase how different elements of Earth System science – including observations, data analysis, mathematical, physical, and computer modeling – are used in solving dynamical processes in the Earth’s surface, interior, oceans and atmosphere. Topics of interest include properties and evolution of Geo-systems, geophysical inversion and subsurface imaging, natural hazards, weather, climate and cryosphere, as well as water and energy resources. The symposium will highlight interactions between mathematical, physical, computational and observational sciences and engineering, aiming to provide predictive quantitative understanding of multi-scale heterogeneous systems relevant to basic challenges facing our planet and civilization. The symposium will contribute to the international program Mathematics of Planet Earth.

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U4 Data Science and Analytics in Geodesy and Geophysics - Research and Education Progress and Opportunities

Convener: Peter Fox, Troy, USA (UCDI/IAGA)

Co-conveners: Adelina Geyer, Barcelona, Spain (IAVCEI); Mark Parsons, Troy, USA (IACS); Simon Hodson, Paris, France (CODATA); Mustapha Mokrane, Tokyo, Japan (WDS-IPO); Andreas Rietbock, Liverpool, U.K. (IASPEI); Bernd Richter, Frankfurt/Main, Germany (IAG)


Over the last decade, geosciences and science in general, has fully entered a new mode of operation. Data science (including e-science) defined as a combination of science, informatics, computer science, cyber infrastructure and information technology is changing the way all geoscience disciplines do both their individual and collaborative work. IUGG scientists are facing global problems of a magnitude, complexity and interdisciplinary nature. As such, progress is limited by the available knowledge and skills required to solve key problems. At the heart of this new way of doing science, especially experimental and observational science but also increasingly computational science, is the generation and integration of data. New opportunities also exist for the analytical approaches to analyzing and modeling, in a predictive sense, geoscience phenomena and features based on data.
Despite the opportunities there remain significant challenges. How and where is this data stored? Does effective data exchange exists between scientists? Are the existing data sets available and accessible for the scientific community? It is evident that data supporting published research must be accessible? What types of analyses are applicable to the data of interest? What analytic approaches are viable based on uncertainties in the data? A streamlined way of ensuring that data are made accessible, and in user-friendly formats, is still evolving. A number of international organizations (the Committee on Data for Science and Technology [CODATA], the World Data System [WDS] and the the Research Data Alliance [RDA]) are addressing the overlapping parts of myriad challenges. What is needed for the IUGG community is a set of clear guidelines that detail the types and extent of project- or publication-related data that should be accessible. The task needs people who are interested in informatics and regard it as their primary focus. 
The goal of this session is to highlight progress in overcoming research and education data challenges and indicate the current state of data science and informatics efforts for IUGG science.

More specific topics related to this symposium will be discussed in a related inter-association symposium JA6 Historical Data Preservation.

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U5 New Discoveries in Deep Interior of the Earth and Planets

Convener: Satoru Tanaka, Yokosuka, Japan (SEDI/IAGA)

Co-conveners: Dominique Jault, Grenoble, France (IAGA); Richard Gross, Pasadena, USA (IAG); Thorne Lay, Santa Cruz, USA (IASPEI); John Gamble, Wellington, New Zealand (IAVCEI)


New Discoveries in the Deep Interior of the Earth and Planets Understanding of the dynamics of the deep Earth and planets is crucial not only for scientific interest but also for forecasting the sustainability of humanity. For instance, according to the geological record, the disappearance of the geomagnetic shield against the solar wind and a super-plume or super-volcanic eruption occurs fairly infrequently, but may result in global devastation and disaster if they happened in the future. Current advances of technology, (e.g. satellite observation, deployment of huge seismic arrays, super-computing, and new geochemical micro-analytical protocols), have promoted major progress in studies on the deep interior of the Earth and Planets, which certainly leads us new view points for the Earth environment. This union symposium aims to integrate the recent achievements of many disciplines relating to the studies of the deep Earth and planets, which will consist of invited talks and poster presentations.

More contributions dealing with related topics will be presented in symposia JS1 Planetary Physics and JS2 Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials with Implications for Earth Structure and Evolution.

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U6 Data Assimilation and Inverse Problems in Geophysical Sciences

Convener: Alik Ismail-Zadeh, Karlsruhe, Germany (IUGG)

Co-conveners: Richard Essery, Edinburgh, U.K. (IACS); Alexandre Fournier, Paris, France (IAGA); Konstantin Belyaev, Moscow, Russia (IAPSO); Pavel Novak, Plzen, Czech Republic (IAG); Jeroen Tromp, Princeton, USA (IASPEI); Salvatore Grimaldi, Tuscia, Italy (IAHS); Craig Bishop, Monterey, USA (IAMAS)


For the last few decades data assimilation (as incorporation of observations and initial conditions in an explicit dynamic model to provide time continuity and coupling among physical fields) has attracted the attention of researchers in many fields of geosciences. Pioneered by meteorologists, today data assimilation is used in hydrology, oceanography, glaciology, seismology, geodynamics, geomagnetism and other fields. Data assimilation methods are rooted in solution methods for inverse problems, Bayes’ theorem and multi-variate generalized regression. The Union symposium will review and highlight recent developments in data assimilation methodologies and applications in IUGG fields of knowledge. This symposium is by invitation only.

The Union symposium will be followed by two Inter-Association symposia, namely, JA1 Constrained Joint Inversion in Geophysical Sciences and JM4 Data Assimilation in Geophysical Sciences.

List of solicited speakers

Mark Buehner (Dorval, Canada), Hans-Peter Bunge (Munich, Germany), Fabio Castelli (Florence, Italy), Michael Ghil (Paris/Los Angeles, France/USA), Shuanggen Jin (Shanghai, China), Barbara Romanowicz (Berkeley/Paris, USA/France), Patricia de Rosnay (Reading, U.K.), Andy Jackson (Zurich, Switzerland), Michael Navon (Tallahassee, USA)

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U7 The Potential for Carbon- and Climate-Engineering to Offset Global Change

Convener: Tim Kruger, Oxford, U.K. (IAPSO)

Co-conveners: Steve Nerem, Boulder, USA (IAG), Mike MacCracken, Washington, USA (IAMAS), Ben Kravitz, Richland, USA (IAMAS)


With the pace of climate change increasing and the array and magnitude of climate impacts intensifying, increasing attention is being paid to the potential for offsetting the effects of anthropogenic climate change through large-scale technical means, often called geoengineering. Possible approaches include increasing the natural sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide (i.e., carbon dioxide management) and deliberately altering the Earth's radiation balance (often called climate engineering, or solar radiation management). Research is beginning to provide insights into the potential for taking actions over and above mitigation and adaptation to slow or even offset the changes in climate and the environment being induced by human activities. Issues of technological feasibility are also largely unexplored. Solicited speakers will describe the potential for increasing the natural uptake of carbon by the terrestrial biosphere and by the oceans, and for offsetting the trapping of energy by greenhouse gases by either reducing absorption of solar radiation or increasing loss of infrared radiation. An intercomparison of model capabilities for evaluating responses to approaches to climate engineering will also be presented.

General (oral/poster) contributions can be submitted to related symposium JP2 with the same title.

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U8 Geo-Monitoring in the 21st Century

Convener: Hansjörg Kutterer, Frankfurt/Main, Germany (IAG)

Co-conveners: Monika Korte, Potsdam, Germany (IAGA); Rolf Hut, Delft, The Netherlands (IAHS); Göran Ekström, Palisades, USA (IASPEI); John Burrows, Bremen, Germany (IAMAS); Satheesh Shenoi, Hyderabad, India (IAPSO)


Geo-monitoring, i.e. the observation of the Earth, is the fundamental basis for most IUGG scientific research, activities, and applications. Integrating these observations is of increasing importance to better understand our planet Earth and the scientific and societal challenges that we face in the 21st century. These observations are of vital importance for virtually all associations working under the auspices of IUGG and inter-association, even inter-Union activities that are being further developed or initiated. Entities like the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS), demonstrate the need for highly collaborative international observations that target key questions, and for the systems necessary to integrate them for multi-disciplinary applications and decision-making. The importance of developing global observing strategies is recognized by GEO, the Group on Earth Observations, with its main aim to develop the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), which is supported on the government level by more than 80 countries. The International Committee on Climate Change (IPCC) is demanding more observations in order to enable better modelling of the global change in the future. This symposium will give an overview of the major international developments underway towards integrating Earth observations, Inter-Union activities of the International Council for Science (ICSU), and developments within the IUGG associations.

More contributions dealing with related topics will be presented in symposia JP6 Acoustical Oceanography and JS6 Array Techniques for Monitoring the State of the Earth.

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U9 Revolutions in Earth Sciences: from Different Spheres to a Common Globe

Convener: Hans Volkert, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany (WGH/IAMAS)

Co-conveners: Mark Carey, Eugene, USA (IACS); Jozsef Adam, Budapest, Hungary (IAG); Edward W. Cliver, Sunspot, USA (IAGA); Maurits W. Ertsen, Delft, Netherlands (IAHS); W. John Gould, Southampton, U.K. (IAPSO); Roger M.W. Musson, Edinburgh, U.K. (IASPEI); Grant Heiken, Freeland, USA (IAVCEI)


Within the IUGG there are eight International Associations (IA). They address scientific issues concerning air (atmosphere – IAMAS), water (hydrosphere – IAHS for fresh water; IAPSO for the oceans), ice (cryosphere – IACS), the solid earth (lithosphere – IASPEI for seismology and physics; IAVCEI for volcanology and chemistry), the geomagnetic field (magnetosphere – IAGA), as well as the gravity field and geodetic parameters of the entire Earth (IAG).
During the past hundred years the vast majority of scientific studies, whether stand-alone or internationally coordinated, were influenced by at least three kinds of revolution:
i) the move from localized data collection to gathering large volumes of data from global networks and their processing by electronic computers;
ii) innovations in observational technologies, e.g. from point measurements via moving platforms on ships and aircraft to global networks of polar orbiting and geostationary satellites and the use of robotic instruments; and
iii) radically new lines of thought such as, e.g., the global movement of entire continents (plate tectonics), indirectly inferred models of the Earth’s internal structure, or the dominant role of atmospheric and ocean eddies in weather and climate.
Nine overview presentations will illustrate important milestones in all the scientific spheres. These mark progress towards an integrated global understanding and realistic future Earth system modelling from the perspective of each scientific discipline as well as from the history of science. Contributed poster presentations are sought to ignite lively discussions on the way towards IUGG’s centenary in 2019.

More contributions dealing with related topics will be presented in symposium JA6 Data on the Edge: Preservation and Utilization of Historical Data in the Geosciences.

List of solicited speakers

Mark Carey (Eugene, USA), Hermann Drewes (Munich, Germany), Ronald E. Doel (Tallahassee, USA), Günter Blöschl (Vienna, Austria), Alan J. Thorpe (Reading, U.K.), John Gould (Southampton, U.K.), Roger M.W. Musson (Edinburgh, U.K.), Grant Heiken (Freeland, USA), Gregory A. Good (College Park, USA)

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U10 Sea Level Change and Variability: Past, Present and Future

Convener: Ian Allison, Hobart, Australia (IACS)

Co-conveners: Pippa Whitehouse, Durham, U.K. (IACS), Gary T. Mitchum, St. Petersburg, USA (IAPSO); C.K. Shum, Columbus, USA (IAG)


Rising sea level is an unequivocal consequence of a warming world, and one which has major environmental and societal impacts well beyond the twenty-first century. The factors contributing to sea level rise are thermal expansion of the ocean, addition of water to the ocean from melting glaciers and ice sheets, storage and withdrawal of water from reservoirs on land, and deformation of the solid earth in response to changes in surface loading. Sea level change occurs over a wide range of time-scales, and varies regionally. Understanding past and present sea level rise, and projecting future change, requires expertise from a wide range of geophysical disciplines, and across most IUGG Associations.
Observations and analyses of 20th century sea level rise, and comparison of these with palaeo- and historical-data, confirm that the rate of sea level rise has increased from very low levels in the late Holocene, to around 2 mm yr–1 averaged over the 20th century, and to more than 3 mm yr–1 over recent decades. For the last two decades, estimates of the contribution of the different components of sea level rise can approximately be reconciled with the total observed rise. Longer-term satellite observations of ice sheets, and improved estimates of glacier distribution and change, indicate that ice melt is now contributing about 50% of the total sea level rise.
This Union Symposium will review recent results and developments in estimating contributions to sea level change in a series of invited presentations. It will expand on the overview presented in the Union Lecture on this topic.

The theme will be further explored in the Inter-Association Symposium JP1.

List of solicited speakers

Susan Wijffels (Hobart, Australia), Phillipe Huybrechts (Brussel, Belgium), Ben Marzeion (Innsbruck,  Austria), John Fasullo/Felix Landerer (Boulder, USA/Pasadena, USA), Matt King (Hobart, Australia), Steve Nerem (Boulder, USA)

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U11 Early Career Scientists Symposium

Convener: Michael Sideris, Calgary, Canada (IUGG)


Early career scientists have an extremely important role to play in the current and future development and advancement of Earth and space sciences. At this Union Symposium, the winners of the IUGG Early Career Scientist Award will be invited to share their experiences, successes, expectations, suggestions and/or concerns on the future of geosciences. The presentations will address all major topics of IUGG science and applications, and will emphasize the societal impacts and the role of Earth and space sciences in the service of mankind.

List of solicited speakers

Ruiqiang Ding (Beijing, China Meteorology),  Andreas Fichtner (Zurich, Switzerland), Gregory (Foltz, Miami, USA), Markus Hrachowitz (Delft, The Netherlands), Matthias Huss (Zurich, Switzerland), Ben Kravitz (Richland, USA), Ben Marzeion (Innsbruck, Austria), Ilona Riipinen (Stockholm, Sweden), Johanna Salminen (Helsinki, Finland), Futoshi Takahashi (Fukuoka, Japan), Adelina Geyer (Barcelona, Spain), Mathis Blossfeld (Munich, Germany)


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