Blog by Xin Ren, PhD student of 4D-REEF at the University of Bristol in the UK.


AGU (American Geophysical Union) Fall Meeting is one of the biggest conferences in the area of Earth and space sciences. This year it was hosted in Chicago. More than 25,000 attendees from over 100 countries gathered and shared their latest research results in this conference. I (Xin) brought part of 4D-REEF to AGU22.


A new environment of hybrid conference

Since the impact of COVID-19 still exists, AGU offered virtual and in-person attendance this year, as it did last year. In the conference hall, the organizer provided not only masks but also lanyard with different colours to show our preferred comfortable distance level. They really did a great job.

Fig1. Left: Mask provided by the host with the “AGU” mark on it. That helped me to recognize the AGU attendees on the train. Middle: Lanyard that shows your preferred distance level. Right: Me in the conference hall.


I tried the virtual meeting platform because I felt ill for the first 2 days. For virtual attendance, we could join live sessions and post our interactive comments during talks. It was very convenient and efficient. We could also customize and build our own schedules and find all the information via the platform. Although there were so many sessions and themes, it was still easy and clear to locate the presentation you were interested in and add them to your schedule. Besides, you won’t miss out on any presentation or discussion because most sessions have been recorded and the recordings are still available (which makes the registration fee so worth it to me). With the adoption of various online tools, we can have more options for meetings in the future; the limitations of time, distance, and other accessibility will have less and less impact to researchers.

Fig2: Top left: In-person meeting room. Bottom left: Online meeting with live subtitles on. Right: Meeting platform interface.


My poster presentation

For us early stage researchers, the poster session was a good opportunity to chat and meet researchers who have the same research interests. In the poster session, I presented my work on the hydrological cycle and ocean circulation of the Maritime Continent in the mid-Pliocene and received some interesting comments from other researchers. Recently, this work has been posted as preprint under review for Climate of the Past, which you can access here (link). The preprint is a preliminary version of a scientific paper that is posted online prior to formal peer-review and publication so that all the readers, not just reviewers, can comment on it and help improve the paper before publication. By the way, we are still open for comments until 1st February 2023. Welcome to post your comments.

Fig3. Top left: I met Dr. Heather at Queen Mary University of London. Top right: I was presenting my work to a small group who were interested in the climate of the mid-Pliocene. Bottom left: scan the QR code to post comments on my preprint paper. Bottom right: look at the red mark which is the symbol of our 4D-REEF.


During my poster session, I met researchers in my network. I also met some new researchers who were interested in my work. The most interesting thing was that when I discussed the currents in the western tropical Pacific, someone mentioned a record which I could probably use to support my future work. Turns out that the person who works on this record was someone I previously met at a workshop in the UK. Such a small world of paleoclimate studying.


Other activities & Snowy Chicago

The conference offered many other activities such as fieldworks, scientific skill development sessions, exhibitions, etc.

Fig4. NASA booth in the exhibition hall. The presentation of the James Webb Space Telescope was very popular.


On the last day of the AGU22 meeting, it was snowing in Chicago. Here are some nice photos of the snowy Chicago scene.

Fig5. Some beautiful snowy views of Lake Michigan next to the conference hall.


Written by ESR: Xin Ren

MSc in Quaternary Geology

University of Bristol, UK