Talk of natural disasters brewing in Melbourne

Earth Science (IUGG), Media bulletins

Published by CSIRO on 28 June 2011

The recent spate of major natural disasters in Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and other parts of the world will be the talk of the town in Melbourne from tonight until 7 July at one of the world’s largest Earth science conferences.

Themed Earth on the Edge: Science for a Sustainable Planet, the 25th General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) will involve around 4000 scientists from 100 countries in detailed discussions about the human costs of natural disasters and how to mitigate them.

The first Australian to be elected President of the IUGG, CSIRO’s Dr Tom Beer, said the conference will explore all the physical aspects of our restless and destructive planet, from deep in the Earth’s core to our place in space.

“We’ll examine the impact on society of the recent run of natural disasters – including the Japanese tsunami, Christchurch earthquake, Chilean volcano, and extreme weather in Australia,” Dr Beer said.

“We’ll also discuss everything from water security to solar storms, climate change to geothermal energy, planetary evolution to the planet’s oceans and ice.”

This is only the second time that the IUGG General Assembly has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

“The conference brings together the eight Earth-related international scientific associations of the IUGG. These foster collaborative research and information exchange between scientists and the application of this research to societal needs.”

Many of the world’s leading natural disaster researchers will fly to the conference from the sites of recent ‘hot spots’.

“The fact that so many of the scientists attending the meeting have had to overcome such challenges to be here is a great testimony to their commitment to make the world a better and a safer place.

“The conference could hardly have been held at a more crucial time for Earth scientists,” Dr Beer said.

Media are invited to attend the conference from 28 June to 7 July 2011 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.