American Geophysical Union
|American Geophysical Union|
|Purpose/focus||Geophysics, and many other fields in Earth and Space sciences|
|Region served||146 countries|
The American Geophysical Union (or AGU) is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 61,000 members from over 146 countries. AGU's activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics. The geophysical sciences involve four fundamental areas: atmospheric and ocean sciences; solid-Earth sciences; hydrologic sciences; and space sciences.
The AGU was established in 1919 by the National Research Council and for more than 50 years operated as an unincorporated affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1972 AGU was incorporated in the District of Columbia and membership was opened to scientists and students worldwide.
Strategic Plan 
AGU’s Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan on 7 September 2010 in Washington, DC. The plan takes a longer-term approach (3-5 years, compared to 1-2 years previously) that is composed of four major outcome-oriented goals:
Scientific Leadership and Collaboration 
The AGU is a leader, collaborator, and sought after partner for scientific innovation, rigor and interdisciplinary focus on global issues.
Science and Society 
The AGU engages members, shapes policy, and informs society about the excitement of Earth and space science and its role in developing solutions for the sustainability of the planet.
Talent Pool 
The AGU is a diverse and inclusion organization that uses its position to build the global talent pool in Earth and space science.
Organizational Excellence 
AGU operates within a new business model that is sustainable, transparent, and inclusive in ways that are responsive to members and stakeholders.
AGU is the publisher of several scientific periodicals, including the weekly Eos newspaper and eighteen peer-reviewed research journals, most notably the Journal of Geophysical Research and Geophysical Research Letters. Many of the journals have high impact factors, with Paleoceanography having the highest within paleontology and Reviews of Geophysics the second highest within geochemistry and geophysics as of 2010. AGU has also been publishing books for more than 85 years. It maintains a digital book library with 16 book series and over 550 book titles.
AGU nominates members for fellowship in the society. According to the AGU website "To be elected a Fellow of AGU is a special tribute for those who have made exceptional scientific contributions. Nominated Fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1% of all AGU members in any given year. New Fellows are chosen by a Committee of Fellows."
The AGU offers several medals and awards.
AGU Medals 
- William Bowie Medal for "outstanding contributions to fundamental geophysics and for unselfish cooperation in research"
- Walter H. Bucher Medal “for original contributions to the basic knowledge of the crust and lithosphere”
- Maurice Ewing Medal “for significant original contributions to the scientific understanding of the processes in the ocean; for the advancement of oceanographic engineering, technology, and instrumentation; and for outstanding service to the marine sciences”
- John Adam Fleming Medal “for original research and technical leadership in geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity, aeronomy, space physics, and related sciences”
- Harry H. Hess Medal “for outstanding achievements in research of the constitution and evolution of Earth and other planets”
- Robert E. Horton Medal “for outstanding contributions to hydrology”
- Inge Lehmann Medal “for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth’s mantle and core”
- James B. Macelwane Medal "to be awarded annually for significant contributions by outstanding young scientists"
- Roger Revelle Medal “for outstanding contributions in atmospheric sciences, atmosphere-ocean coupling, atmosphere-land coupling, biogeochemical cycles, climate, or related aspects of the Earth system”
- Waldo E. Smith Medal to recognize "individuals who have played unique leadership roles in such diverse areas as scientific associations, education, legislation, research, public understanding of science, management, and philanthropy, and whose accomplishments have greatly strengthened and helped advance the geophysical sciences".
- Charles A. Whitten Medal “for outstanding achievement in research on the form and dynamics of the Earth and planets”
AGU Awards 
- Robert C. Cowen Award "for a journalist or a group that has made significant, lasting, and consistent contributions to accurate reporting or writing on the geophysical sciences for the general public.
- Excellence in Geophysical Education Award “to acknowledge a sustained commitment to excellence in geophysical education by a team, individual, or group. To educators who have had a major impact on geophysical education at any level (kindergarten through postgraduate), who have been outstanding teachers and trainers for a number of years, or who have made a long-lasting, positive impact on geophysical education through professional service.”
- Charles S. Falkenberg Award to an individual “scientist under 45 years of age who has contributed to the quality of life, economic opportunities, and stewardship of the planet through the use of Earth science information and to the public awareness of the importance of understanding our planet”
- Edward A. Flinn III Award to an “individual who personifies the Union’s motto ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities”
- International Award “to recognize an individual scientist or a small team for making an outstanding contribution to furthering the Earth and space sciences and using science for the benefit of society in less favored nations”
- David Perlman Award "for excellence in researching and reporting a news story that meets one or more of the following criteria: brings new information or concepts about AGU sciences to the public's attention, identifies and corrects misconceptions about AGU sciences, or makes AGU sciences accessible and interesting to general audiences, without sacrificing accuracy"
- Athelstan Spilhaus Award “for enhancement of the public understanding of Earth and space science”
- Climate Communication Award “for the communication of climate science, and highlights the importance of promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respected and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change”
Sections and focus groups 
The AGU is divided into 11 sections that provide the main structure for managing volunteers, developing leaders and honoring scientists. These sections also reflect the breadth of science within geophysics:
- Atmospheric sciences
- Geomagnetism and paleomagnetism
- Ocean sciences
- Planetary sciences
- Space physics and aeronomy
- Volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology
There are also 12 focus groups that organize research involving two or more sections. These are
- Atmospheric and space electricity
- Cryosphere sciences
- Earth and planetary surface processes
- Earth and space science informatics
- Mineral and rock physics
- Global environmental change
- Natural hazards
- Near surface geophysics
- Nonlinear geophysics
- Paleoceanography and paleoclimatology
- Study of the Earth's deep interior
- Societal impacts and policy sciences
AGU holds an annual meeting in San Francisco every December (known as the Fall meeting), the largest annual scientific conference in the world (with more than 18,000 attendees in 2010), and a joint assembly co-sponsored with other societies such as the Geochemical Society, the Mineralogical Society of America, the Canadian Geophysical Union, and the European Geosciences Union every Spring (April through May) in various locations throughout the world. The latter grew out of AGU's annual Spring meeting, which had, for many years, been held in Baltimore, until declining interest caused AGU to move the meeting in different locations, starting with Boston in 1998. With the meeting in Nice, France, in 2003, it became known as the Joint Assembly. In addition to these meetings, which cover all areas of the geophysical sciences, AGU also sponsors many specialized meetings that are intended to serve the needs of particular scientific disciplines or geographical areas, including the Ocean Sciences Meetings and Western Pacific Geophysical Meetings which are held in even numbered years. Small, highly focused meetings are offered through the Chapman Conferences.
Position statements 
On occasion the AGU Council issues position statements on matters affecting public policy that are related to geophysics. These include biological evolution, natural hazards, science education and funding, and climate change. The AGU issued a position statement on climate change in December 2003, and revised and reaffirmed the statement in 2012. The revised statement begins:
The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.—AGU Council
See also 
- "AGU History". American Geophysical Union. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved July 2011.
- "Strategic Plan". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "AGU Publications". American Geophysical Union. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved July 2011.
- "Journal Citation Reports". Thompson Reuters. Retrieved July, 2011.
- "geopress books". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Digital library". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "AGU Fellows". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved July 2011.
- "Union Medals & Awards". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved July 2011.
- "Sections and Focus Groups". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved July, 2011.
- "AGU Meetings". American Geophysical Union. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved July, 2011.
- "AGU Position Statements". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved September 2011.
- "AGU Position Statement - Human Impacts on Climate". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved September 2011.
- AGU Official Website
- Eos, the weekly AGU journal
- American Geophysical Union v. Texaco Inc.
- American Geophysical Union and Wiley-Blackwell announce publishing partnership