Press Conferences

The AGU press office planned a number of press conferences highlighting newsworthy research presented at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting. A list of 2018 press conferences is below. Video recordings of all press conferences can be found on AGU’s YouTube channel.

Emerging plastic and chemical contaminants in coastal ecosystems
Monday, 12 February
10:00 a.m. PST

Pharmaceuticals, microplastics and their byproducts are finding their way into the bodies of Pacific razor clams, Pacific oysters and even showing up in the reproductive tissues of remote seabirds. These emerging contaminants are causing a range of real, potential and unknown biochemical effects on animals and their food webs. In this briefing, researchers will present new results on plastics and pharmaceuticals in coastal marine environments and a review of emerging contaminants in the coastal ocean.

Veronica Padula, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A.;
Elise Granek, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.;
Amy Ehrhart, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.;
Britta Baechler, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

Sessions: ME13A, ME14A

Meteotsunamis: An overlooked hazard for the Great Lakes and beyond
Monday, 12 February
11:00 a.m. PST

You’ve heard of tsunamis – giant oceanic waves triggered primarily by earthquakes that can roll ashore, causing loss of life and disaster. But have you heard of meteotsunamis? These are large waves scientists are just beginning to better understand. They are known to occur in the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea and off the coast of Australia. Unlike tsunamis triggered by seismic activity, meteotsunamis are driven by weather events such as fast-moving, severe thunderstorms. As scientists better understand this phenomenon and its effects, they are working to develop a reliable early warning system. In this briefing, researchers will discuss the state of meteotsunami science, the hazards they pose to coastal communities and scientists’ efforts to develop meteotsunami early warning systems in the Great Lakes and off the coastal United States

Philip Y. Chu, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.;
Eric J. Anderson, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.;
Gregory Dusek, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, NOAA National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.;
Chin H. Wu, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Session: PO34A

The growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Monday, 12 February
1:00 p.m. PST

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a large, floating island of plastic and debris in the eastern Pacific Ocean – was first described in 1988. For 15 years, researchers have sailed to the patch to measure its accumulation. In this panel, one researcher will share details on the patch’s sprawling reach and size, its composition and what kind of policy changes are best in an increasingly plastic-filled world.

Charles Moore, Algalita, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.

Session: PO11A

New technologies to study the ocean (Workshop)
Tuesday, 13 February
9:30 a.m. PST

Technologies to study the ocean are evolving at a rapid pace. This workshop will showcase how scientists are pushing technological boundaries in ocean observations, robotics, machine learning and visualization. Panelists will describe the next generation of Argo floats that will be able to descend to depths of 6,000 meters (20,000 feet); advances in robotic plankton, miniature autonomous underwater explorers that measure small-scale environmental processes in the ocean; and new imaging technologies to create 3D maps of coral reefs that allow researchers to track the growth and decline of individual colonies over time.

Dean Roemmich, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.;
Jules Jaffe, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.;
Stuart Sandin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.

Sessions: IS24E, IS31A, IS43B

Unusual ocean conditions contributed to Hurricane Harvey’s intensity
Tuesday, 13 February
10:30 a.m. PST

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, it dumped more than 1.5 meters (60 inches) of rain on the Texas coast, making it the wettest tropical cyclone to affect the continental U.S. in history. In this briefing, researchers will present new findings on how unusual ocean conditions in the Gulf of Mexico contributed to Harvey’s intense rainfall and flooding. Panelists will discuss Harvey’s atypical storm surge, the strong ocean currents it generated, and the large amount of ocean heat that contributed to the storm’s rapid intensification.

Steven DiMarco, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.;
Henry Potter, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.;
Arnoldo Valle-Levinson, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.;

Sessions: AI44C, E21AIS12A