Hot Topics Chair
Bruce F. Molnia

U.S. Geological Survey

Hot Topics

chili pepper

Sun. through Wed., 22-25 Oct., 12:15-1:15 p.m.
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 108 A

Come and join your colleagues for spirited lunchtime discussions and debates on several burning issues for the geologic community. Chili and beer will be available for purchase outside the meeting room.

Sunday, 22 October

1. Avian Influenza
A few months ago the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services approved an early surveillance strategy to detect Type A Avian Strain H5N1 flu virus if and when migratory wildlife bring this strain to North America. Poultry and wildlife across Asia, Europe, and now Africa, have been infected; but there are no known cases in North America. Birds are currently being sampled as they return to North America through Alaska and the Pacific Flyway, where the strongest connection to Asia occurs. This Hot Topic session will provide an up-to-the-minute update on the status of Avian Influenza.

Monday, 23 October

2. Afghanistan Reconstruction — USGS Activities in Afghanistan
More than 25 years of conflict have largely destroyed Afghanistan's natural resources organizations. With funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Trade Development Agency, and the Afghanistan government, the USGS, in collaboration with multiple Afghanistan government agencies, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations organizations, NGOs, and the British Geological Survey, has commenced a multi-disciplinary project to rebuild the geological, hydrological, geophysical, and geospatial capabilities of Afghanistan. This Hot Topic session describes the extensive, ongoing USGS effort.

Tuesday, 24 October

3. Global Warming and CO2 — Are We Headed for Global Catastrophe in the Coming Century?
Atmospheric CO2 is at all-time highs and global temperatures have risen 0.8 °C this past century. Climate modelers predict temperature increases up to 6 °C by 2100, leading to catastrophic changes in food production, drowning of coastal cities, extinction of species, and disappearance of arctic ice and alpine glaciers. Join discussion of the realities of these predictions by climate specialists.

Wednesday, 25 October

4. The Future of Land Remote Sensing
The U.S. Land Remote Sensing Program is at a crossroads. Both Landsat 5 and 7 are still operational, but both have encountered significant problems. In December 2005, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), began a multi-agency effort to better define the Future of Land Imaging in the United States. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) called on the NSTC to "develop a long-term plan to achieve technical, financial, and managerial stability for operational land imaging in accord with the goals and objectives of the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System (IEOS). This Hot Topic session will summarize the status future of land remote sensing, including the launch of a new satellite that could be operational by early 2011.