Bringing together more than 9.000 geoscientists from all over Europe and the rest of the world into one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, the European Geophysical Union (EGU) annual General Assembly takes place in Vienna this week.

I'm involved in the Tsunami Risk and Strategies for the European Region, a EU funded project where more than 30 European institutions are preparing and developing an early warning system for Europe and I will present some results concerning the use of GNSS as well as meeting colleagues coming from all corners of the world here. It is going to be a ball!

The EGU is a yearly event equivalent to the American Geophysical Union in respect to content and gathering scientists from all over the world.

As this is such a large meeting covering an impressive number of issues - and in great detail, the EGU has picked a set of topics of special interest this year. Media Teasers I would call it and will explore and present in an easy accessible way the following headlines:

Ocean acidification, the forgotten effect of global change
Carbon-constrained future: low-carbon energy options and geo-technologies
Alternative energy
Methane in aquatic environments
Arctic Gas Hydrates and Global Warming
The cryosphere - for how much longer?
Climate change and CO2
Interactions between microbes, minerals and metals
Giant electrical tornadoes in outer space
Natural hazards: tsunamis and earthquakes

The general content of the EGU General Assembly is actually divided in the following 23 topical sections.

Atmospheric Sciences
Climate: Past, Present, Future
Cryospheric Sciences
Energy, Resources&the Environment
Earth & Space Science Informatics
Geosciences Instrumentation & Data Systems
Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology
Hydrological Sciences
Isotopes in Geosciences: Instrumentation and Applications
Magnetism, Palaeomagnetism, Rock Physics & Geomaterials
Natural Hazards
Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics
Ocean Sciences
Planetary & Solar System Sciences
Stratigraphy, Sedimentology & Palaeontology
Soil System Sciences
Solar-Terrestrial Sciences
Tectonics & Structural Geology

In addition there are a few more general section such as Educational and Outreach, Europe in Geoscience and Great Debates in Geosciences.

Of particular interest and highlights from this year is of course the science behind the recent earthquake in Abruzzo, Italy 6th April 2009. An extraordinary session is dedicated to this devastating earthquake that smashed the historic town L'Aquila. The purpose of this ad hoc session is to provide up to date information on the event and discuss different aspects of the earthquake.

Climate change remain a hot topic and is chosen to be theme for Great Debates in Geosciences that formulate the following provokative question: Planetary dynamics and solar activity have a role in climate change and geodynamics?

More specifically the debate will be about:

1) Does solar system dynamics significantly affect solar and planetary dynamos? If it did, could this affect the Earth's climate dynamics?

2) Does solar activity result in geomagnetic field variations? Does it change the Earth's rate of rotation? Do variations in the Earth's geomagnetic field and/or variations in the Earth's rate of rotation affect the planet's climate dynamics.

I will naturally listen in on as many geodesy talks I can possible squeeze in, but climate change, water cycle and natural hazards talks are high on my priority list as well. Hopefully I'll be able to blog about it directly from Vienna so stay tuned...