Final AGU Posting – Found Poetry from the Poster Sessions

The public’s view of AGU is set by the press releases and the media events.

The practicing scientist who doesn’t attend sees the Big Name talks, which are generally excellent, but miss the hurly burly of science.

The professional attendee, especially the one who isn’t at a top-rank research institution, sees some of the numerous sessions, each with 8 or 10 brief talks about ongoing research. And then there’s the students, postdocs, and also-rans who failed to get the attention of the session chairs. They get to stand by a poster.

I think in a large sense the fabric of the community is represented at the poster session. There are about 3000 poster slots, and five days, so something on the order of 15,000 posters are presented. It occurred to me that to walk the poster hall is the best way to really understand the community that forms AGU. I think climateball enthusiasts, including for example the new head of EPA, would be a bit baffled.

If they really are looking to form lists of climate scientists to persecute, they will run into a big problem, which is that the boundary between climate science and, well, science, is hard to form.

I was looking at poster 635 when it occurred to me that I could take a random selection by looking at all the posters numbered *35, i.e., 35, 135, 235, 335…. And I photographed all of them. (In a couple of cases the slot was empty but in all those cases slot 36 was full and I used that.

Here is the poem I found:

Microbial Community Response to Warming and Correlations to Organic Carbon Degradation in Arctic Tundra Soil

Post-fire tree mortality: Heating Increases Vulnerability to Cavitation in Longleaf Pine Branches

Dissolved inorganic carbon dynamics in a high arctic [sic] glacial watershed

Statistical Characteristic [sic] of Tropical Cyclone Looping Motion

Variability of Western Pacific Equatorial Currents Associated with 2014 – 2015 El Niño

Timing and Sensitivity of the United States “Warming Hole” (A hiatus poster!)

Toward an Improved Extended Range Forecasts Using the NCEP Global Ensemble Modeling System (despite the grand title, it only predicts the MJO)

A high-resolution model of the Beaufort Sea circulation

An evaluation of Traffic Management at ISF Academy on Kong Sin Wan Road (did you get the right conference, mate?)

Developing and evaluating a theory for lateral erosion by bedrock channels in a landscape evolution model.

Ukia and Gathersburg Latitude Observatories: Preserving NOAA’s Legacy of International Scientific Cooperation & Polar Motion Studies (Should we keep long-running datasets nobody cares about because somebody might care about them someday? In this case the Chandler Wobble?)

Estimating on Management Processes (Tillage, and Flooding) Effects for Assessing Methane Mitigation from Rice-paddy Soil: On Modeling Approach

Magnetotelluric imaging of lithosphere modification due to late Cenozoic extension in the Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico, USA. (Magneto-what???)

Multi-Objective Policy Analysis to Evaluate Air Quality Impacts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development (UOGD) Regulations

The Southern Utah Flash Floods of 14 September 2015

Diurnal streamflow and conductivity cycles in a snowmelt-dominated watershed

Surface displacement due to groundwater exploitation using spatial and terrestrial techniques

A Regional Reanalysis with a Coupled Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere-Transfer Model on the Convective Scale

Design and Prototype Implementation of non-Triggered Database-Driven Real-time Tsunami Forecast System using Multi-index Method

Studying exchange with less-mobile porosity at the laboratory scale: Experimentation and COMSOL Multiphysics simulation

Trace Gas Distributions and Correlations Observed in the Southern Ocean Atmosphere During the ORCAS Mission

The Worldwide Interplanetary Scintillation (IPS) Stations (WIPSS) Network in support of Space-Weather Science and Forecasting

Analysis of cloud cover trends over the Arabian Peninsula

The widespread distribution of a Group I alkenone-producing haptophyte: implications for quantitative temperature reconstructions (spell-check is very unhappy with alkenone-producing haptophyte; come to think of it, I’m baffled myself)

Survey of Particle Injections into the Inner Magnetosphere

A study of SEPs using both STEREO spacecraft (that would be Solar Energetic Particles)

Imaging the mantle transition zone beneath Hawaii from seismic Ps receiver functions

Towards Seismic Waveform Inversion of Long-Offset Ocean-Bottom Seismic Data for Deep Crustal Imaging Offshore Western Australia

Testing the Applicability of Anisotropy Detection Techniques

Locating the Ocean-Continent Crustal Boundary of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Based on Heat Flow Observations

Thermo-compositional anomalies of the Australian upper mantle

CYCLIC THERMAL BEHAVIOR ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEGASSING PROCESS AT EL HIERRO SUBMARINE VOLCANO, TAGORO, CANARY ISLANDS (That’s one way to avoid all those tedious capitalization decisions in your title, what?)

Detailed surface rupture geometry from the 2016 Amatrice earthquake sequence (24th August and 30 October)


That’s it. That’s roughly one per cent of the posters on one day. Hope this clarifies what the meeting is about for some of you.


  1. May I suggest a found title for your found poem? Taking every 35th word (and adding an apostrophe) gives:

    Microbial Glacial Forecasts for Assessing Impacts' Spatial-Index Scintillation Temperature - Long-Flow Sequence

    (Thanks for the AGU reports. Enjoyable and informative - and glad to see you blogging again.)

  2. > The widespread distribution of a Group I alkenone-producing haptophyte: implications for quantitative temperature reconstructions (spell-check is very unhappy with alkenone-producing haptophyte; come to think of it, I’m baffled myself)

    I think " a Group I alkenone-producing haptophyte" is one of a large variety of ocean plankton organisms, that leaves fossils in sedimentary layers containing a chemical residue that serves as a paleo proxy for temperature back in the antedeluvian eras.

  3. I've stood by posters, given a session talk, and am scheduled to deliver, of all things, a keynote talk. In the correspondence, I had to correct the program chair and let her know that I'm Mr., not Dr. Ha! In my dreams. But the poster sessions are lonely outposts at the conferences I attend. But I agree that that's where the grassroots are. Nice post.

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