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European conference of Earth scientists: EGU 2020 goes online

May 11, 2020

Due to the corona pandemic, the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), originally planned for May 4th to 8th, 2020 in Vienna, could only take place virtually this year - including numerous contributions from DKRZ.

All authors were invited to upload their presentation material such as maps, slides or animations to the EGU website for their originally planned activities and discuss them with the online participants in the scheduled time slots in live text chat sessions. There were also live broadcasts of ten symposia and debates with keynote speakers.

Over 26,000 participants used the new online format Sharing Geoscience Online to participate in over 700 sessions with more than 11,000 presentations. They joined the 721 live text chats and posted over 200,000 messages to share their research and ideas.

Further information on the website of EGU 2020: https://egu2020.eu

On the first conference day on May 4th, Dr. Karsten Peters and Oliver Bothe from the Helmholtz Center Geesthacht jointly presented the data management plan for the project PalMod II in the session CL1.4 “Climate Change in the geological record: what can we learn from data and models?”

The session CL2.8 “Evaluating and improving precipitation in climate models” on May 4th, highlighted the contribution “Did tropical precipitation improve in CMIP6 simulations?”, to which inter alia Dr. Karsten Peters contributed.

Dr. Martina Stockhause's contributions to the EGU-presentations addressed topics related to the international Coupled Model Intercomparison Project CMIP6 and data handling in the recent IPCC assessment process. CMIP6 is big in every respect: in the number of experiments, the participating modeling centers, as well as the data volume and diversity of the data users and their applications. In session ESSI2.1 “Metadata, Data Models, Semantics, and Collaboration” on May 4th, Dr. Martina Stockhause contributed to the presentation “Advances in Collaborative Documentation Support for CMIP6”. In another session ESSI2.10 “Data Integration: Enabling the Acceleration of Science Through Connectivity, Collaboration, and Convergent Science”on May 6th, Dr. Martina Stockhause gave the talk about the “Documentation of climate change data supporting cross-domain data re-use” that specially focused on the documentation, as well as citation and errata services for CMIP6 data.
In session ESSI3.5 “Breaking down the silos: enabling Open and convergent research and e-infrastructures to answer global challenges” on May 5th, Dr. Martina Stockhause presented the contribution “Implementing FAIR Principles in the IPCC Assessment Process”. She reported on the new data processing for the current assessment cycle of the IPCC: For the first time, data is cited in the report and figure data with its provenance information about its creation are archived.

Dr. Niklas Röber and Michael Böttinger of DKRZ chaired the session ITS4.2 / ESSI4.2 „State of the Art in Earth Science Data Visualization“ on May 5th. Dr. Niklas Röber and Dr. Florian Ziemen used the opportunity to share experiences from their work on producing a 180°-VR video film focusing on storm-resolving weather and climate simulations as part of the DYAMOND ++ project: „Visualization of high-resolution climate model output in a Visualization dome”. The 180°-VR-film is available here on YouTube.

The session ESSI3.2 “The evolving Open and FAIR ecosystem for Solid Earth and Environmental sciences: challenges, opportunities, and other adventures” was also scheduled for May 5th. It included the presentation “The challenging research data management support in the interdisciplinary cluster of excellence CliCCS” by Dr. Ivonne Anders, Dr. Andrea Lammert and Dr. Karsten Peters that showcasted the challenges and opportunities within the CLICCS project: from the interdisciplinarity and associated inhomogeneity of data types to the further development of existing services, managing access to big data collections and transferability to other interdisciplinary projects. The DKRZ-led project AtMoDat, which aims at fostering the re-use of archived atmospheric model data, was introduced by Dr. Daniel Neumann and the AtMoDat-Team in the presentation „AtMoDat: Improving the reusability of ATmospheric MOdel DATa with DataCite DOIs paving the path towards FAIR data“.

The session CL3.3 “Bringing together future climate predictions and projections for Europe” on May 5th highlighted the presentation “The first multi-model ensemble of regional climate simulations at kilometer-scale resolution, Part I: Evaluation of precipitation”, in which the first multi-model ensemble of precipitation simulations at kilometer-scale resolution was shown, and to which Dr. Ivonne Anders had also contributed.

The session SSS10.4/EOS4 “Quantifying and communicating uncertain information in earth sciences” hosted a presentation by Dr. Maria Moreno de Castro on "Uncertainty Quantification and Explainable Artificial Intelligence" , reviewing the most common problems and solutions regarding the reliability of machine learning methods, on May 6th.

The session ESSI3.6 on May 7th was devoted to “Best Practices and Realities of Research Data Repositories“. Within the session Dr. Karsten Peters reported, on behalf of the project team, on the process leading up to the global dissemination, re-use and long-term archiving of the MPI-M Grand Ensemble. These data represent output of the currently largest existing ensemble of climate simulations and were published in the ESGF infrastructure by June 2019 with the support of the DKRZ data management department. Since then, access statistics have shown no decline in demand and long-term archiving is planned to commence in late 2020. At the end of the session, the participants decided that the lively discussion via the live text chat among colleagues of the international community (e.g. USA, Australia, Switzerland, Germany) should be continued in more interactive video sessions.

Several novel platforms supporting climate services were presented at the session CL5.7 “Climate Services - Underpinning Science” on May 7th. Dr. Maria Moreno de Castro presented "Broadening access to supercomputers for CMIP6 and CORDEX multimodel comparisons", the new Analysis Platforms service addressed to climate researchers who want to perform data-near server-side multimodel comparisons in the IS-ENES3 world-class supercomputers. This service was also specifically addressed to climate change researchers at the session CL2.6 "Detecting and attributing climate change: trends, extreme events, and impacts" on May 7th, with the presentation "Boosting climate change research with direct access to high performance computers".

The session ESSI1.12 „Innovative Evaluation Frameworks and Platforms for Weather and Climate Research“ scheduled for May 8th, focused on innovative methods for integrating, managing, evaluating, and disseminating information about the quality of Earth system science fields in a meaningful way. The session was not only led by Dr. Christopher Kadow, but he also contributed two presentations: In the talk "Freva - New Aspects and Features“ he presented the software infrastructure Freva (short for: Free Evaluation System) for standardized data and tool solutions in Earth system science. He was also co-author of the presentation „Integrating Model Evaluation and Observations into a Production-Release Pipeline“. This web framework comprises a FAIR and standardized database of both large-scale and in-situ observations exported to a format suitable for data-model intercomparisons (particularly netCDF following the CF-conventions).
Software developments designed and used at DKRZ for the model intercomparison project CMIP6 also contributed to the session. While Martin Schupfner presented the web-based CMIP6 post-processing infrastructure, Fabian Wachsmann's contribution dealt with the application of the CDO software package within CMIP6 with a focus on operators to create standardized climate indices.
Carsten Ehbrecht used the session to address “Building Web Processing Services with Birdhouse”. The presented Birdhouse tools provide templates to set up and deploy own Web Processing Service (WPS). Users who already use WPS and Birdhouse tools had a discussion in the live text chat.

Within the session ESSI2.11 “Earth/Environmental Science Applications on HPC and Cloud Infrastructures” on May 7th, Merret Buurman presented four examples of the problems that had to be solved when adapting Desktop software to a cloud-based environment. In the SeaDataCloud project, users can benefit from the advantages of such an online environment when processing oceanographic data.

Dr. Christopher Kadow was also co-author of the two presentations “Improvement in the decadal prediction skill of the North Atlantic extratropical winter circulation through increased model resolution” and “Representation of the extratropical circulation in the MiKlip decadal prediction”.

The exceptional commitment of the DKRZ speakers and the entire EGU community to convert the event to an online format at short notice was a complete success. What emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that greener collaboration is possible through increased digitalization while avoiding travel.
After all, the experience of the EGU shows that video conference formats are certainly more efficient than text chats, but they also have their limits, so that personal meetings and discussions will continue to be justified in the future.


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