Annual Report 2001

The IAGA-IASPEI Joint Scientific Assembly

The main focus of IAGA business in the first half of 2001 was to complete preparations for the IAGA-IASPEI Joint Scientific Assembly held in Hanoi, 20th-31st August 2001, and hosted by the Hanoi Institute of Geophysics, National Centre for Natural Science and Technology, Vietnam. This was the first time that IAGA had held an Assembly in South Asia, and the Association is grateful for the tremendous efforts made by the Local Organising Committee to ensure the success of the meeting. IAGA sponsored 70 symposia, 10 of which were convened jointly with IASPEI, SEDI or ILP. The scientific topics discussed ranged from geomagnetic field reversals to the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetic fields of the Earth and other planets. Prof David Gubbins gave a Joint Association Lecture on thermal core-mantle interactions, and Prof Eigil Friis-Christensen discussed solar variability and climate change in an IAGA Association Lecture. IAGA provided funding at a level greater than at any previous Assembly to support the attendance of young scientists and scientists from the developing world.

The IAGA President, David Kerridge, convened Executive Committee meetings on 19th and 25th August. The record of the previous Executive Committee meeting held in Edinburgh in September 1999 was approved. The President reported on meetings of the IUGG Executive Committee and the Scientific Programme Committee for the 2003 IUGG General Assembly in Sapporo. He noted the agreement reached, at the IUGG Executive Committee meeting, to establish a Working Group on Electric and Magnetic Studies of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, as previously approved by IAGA, and the plan to organise the Sapporo Assembly under the title "State of the Planet: Frontiers and Challenges". The Secretary-General, Dr Herb Kroehl, presented financial reports for 1999 and 2000 and proposed budgets for 2001 and 2002. Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year in 2007 was discussed. It was agreed that any events organized should not be purely commemorative; new initiatives should be taken. The idea of an "Electronic Geophysical Year" was suggested, meaning, broadly, demonstration of the ability to and value of attacking scientific problems through rapid access to diverse globally-distributed data sets and analysis tools, made possible by current-day technology. IAGA sponsorship of regional meetings and workshops was discussed and the importance of encouraging and supporting such activities was re-affirmed. Applications for funding to support the following meetings, to be held in 2002, were considered and awards were agreed:

  • 10th IAGA Workshop on Geomagnetic Observatory Instruments, Data Acquisition and Processing, Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, South Africa
  • 16th Electromagnetic Induction Workshop, Santa Fe, USA
  • Mesospheric Clouds, Perth, Scotland
  • 34th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, Houston, USA.

Eighteen countries were represented by accredited National Delegates at the Assembly, and meetings of the Conference of Delegates were held on 20th and 30th August. The Conference of Delegates approved the minutes of the meetings held at the XXIInd IUGG General Assembly in Birmingham in 1999, the 2001 report of the Finance Committee, and the actions of the Executive Committee since election in 1999, as reported by the President. Reports on planning for the IUGG General Assembly in Sapporo in 2003 and from the Nominating Committee for the post of Secretary-General were given. Two important decisions were taken by the National Delegates: firstly, Prof Bengt Hulqvist (Sweden) was elected as IAGA Secretary-General, taking over the position from Dr Kroehl (USA) who had served IAGA in this capacity on a interim basis since 1999; secondly, a proposal brought forward by the French National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics to host an IAGA Scientific Assembly in Toulouse in 2005 was accepted, following a presentation on the facilities available in Toulouse. The International Commission of the Middle Atmosphere, a component body of IAMAS, will participate in the Toulouse meeting.

The IAGA Divisions and Inter-Divisional Commissions brought forward, from their Business Meetings, proposals for IAGA and inter-Association symposia for the IUGG General Assembly in Sapporo in 2003.

Other Activities

Although in 2001 IAGA funding for meetings was applied principally to the Joint Assembly in Hanoi, the following conferences promoting the Association's scientific activities were also sponsored:

  • Chapman Conference on Storm-Substorm Relationship, 12th-16th March 2001, Lonavala, Mumbai, India
  • VIth Latin American Conference on Space Physics (COLAGE), 1st-5th October 2001, Puerto de Tomé, Chile.

Activities undertaken under the auspices of the IAGA Divisions included agreement on a geomagnetic data exchange format, an initiative to convert historical analogue magnetograms to digital form, and engagement with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) on requirements for a standard magnetospheric model. A project to produce a unified and consistent magnetic anomaly map of Antarctica, sponsored by IAGA and other organisations, was completed. An application for an ICSU grant for 2002 for the INTERMAGNET programme, submitted with the support of IAGA was successful. This will enable INTERMAGNET to continue to promote the modernisation of instrumentation, and practice in data collection and dissemination in the global magnetic observatory network.