Brown mountains under a blue sky with the Great Wall of China


on the Evolution of the Monsoon, Biosphere and Mountain Building in Cenozoic Asia

5–9 January 2020 in Washington, D.C. at AGU Headquarters

About the Chapman

This Chapman Conference aims to bring together different communities to discuss how the new drilling results relate to observations made onshore and to what extent they validate existing reconstructions of monsoon development. The conference will be held at AGU Headquarters, 2000 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.

The Asian monsoon is an example of a climatic system intimately linked with the tectonic evolution of the solid Earth. Demonstrating these links has been difficult due to a lack of detailed climatic and erosional records that span tectonic timescales, such as those developed in the Himalayas and Tibet. A campaign of scientific drilling of sediments from the marginal seas of eastern Asia and the Indian Ocean, conducted by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) in 2014–2016, has now partly solved this problem.

Program book

The program book is available to view and download.

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A number of deep drill sites in key areas of the East Asian, Indian and Australian monsoon subsystems now provide long duration records of erosion, weathering and environment. Scientific results from each IODP expedition are emerging, however, any attempt to understand the monsoon as a whole needs to integrate results from across the regions. This will allow results to assess links between monsoonal subsystems, and compare oceanographic records with erosional records and continental environmental data. Additionally, the marine data must be reconciled with information from onshore concerning the evolving tectonics of the ranges and the height of the Tibetan Plateau, all of which need to be integrated with our understanding of modern monsoon atmospheric dynamics.

Rain storm over the ocean

Who should attend?

We invite participants from all disciplines, however, we encourage participants from marine geology, paleoceanography, paleoclimatology, atmospheric sciences, tectonics, geochemistry, and related fields to attend.

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Meeting goals and abstract themes

This Chapman Conference aims to bring together these different communities to discuss how the new drilling results relate to observations made onshore and to what extent they validate existing reconstructions of monsoon development. The emphasis will be on million-year, tectonic timescales. Millennial scale records will also be welcome. IODP has provided the largest source of new data concerning this interdisciplinary field in several decades. We now seek the chance to try to integrate the results into a new understanding of the Asian monsoon and to resolve which questions are still outstanding.

We invite abstract contributions on the following themes.

Rain clouds rolling over tropical mountains

This session provides the intellectual background for the rest of the meeting by summarizing the nature of land-ocean-atmospheric coupling that powers the modern monsoon. We aim to present the nature of and controls on modern precipitation and wind patterns and discussion how they might have differed in the geologic past, especially prior to the establishment of high topography.

In this session we focus on evidence for the evolving climatic conditions in the Asian continental interior, drawing on appropriate proxies from the marine cores as well as sedimentary records preserved in continental basins. This will include both reconstruction of vegetation, as well as changing intensities of continental weathering and aridity. Again, we focus on identifying the time of initial onset and times when monsoon intensity changes.

Here we examine whether there are links between the evolution of the monsoon, the history of erosion and the tectonic development of the mountains especially in South Asia in order to understand the degree of coupling and the potential for feedbacks.

This session will focus on well-dated records of evolving oceanic currents and biogenic productivity in relation to the intensity of the Asian monsoon winds. We especially want to constrain times of transition, strengthening, or weakening, as well as examining evidence for the initial onset.

This session will focus on reconstruction of changing rates and patterns of erosion in the mountainous source areas in South and Southeast Asia and potential relation with fan sedimentation to determine their response to the evolving climates in Cenozoic Asia.

Meeting hypotheses

The Chapman Conference on Evolution of the Monsoon, Biosphere and Mountain Building in Cenozoic Asia will address the following primary scientific hypotheses:

  • 1
    Intensification of summer monsoon rainfall and/or winter wind strength correlates with stronger oceanic productivity and faster erosion of continental source areas.
  • 2
    Periods of strong chemical weathering correlate with times of vegetation change from C4 to C3 plants, lower salinities in the ocean, intensified oceanic upwelling and faster clastic sediment delivery.
  • 3
    Phases of rapid erosion and clastic sedimentation in the oceans match times of structural reorganization in the Himalaya, such as motion on major faults.
  • 4
    Changes in paleo-altitude proxies and drainage reorganization events onshore precede or correlate with times of climatic and oceanic change.
  • 5
    Times of stronger chemical weathering, oceanic upwelling and clastic erosion correlate with phases of enhanced carbon burial in submarine fans and/or with times of global cooling.
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The scientific program is now live!

Check out the scientific program and see who will be speaking.

View now

Format and schedule

The conference spans five days, including the icebreaker reception on Day One. Day Two, Three, and the morning of Day Four feature a series of oral presentations on the five themes. We welcome both invited and contributed work in each oral session, headlined by a keynote speaker. Highlights include:
  • 1
    Posters will be viewed during lengthy coffee breaks in the morning and the afternoon during the conference. 
  • 2
    A 1 ½-hour lunch break allows discussion and further poster viewing.
  • 3
    Each day ends with a 30-minute discussion and summary.
  • 4
    Day Four features afternoon break-out working groups. These groups begin to synthesize results, identify key advances and areas of future research.
  • 5
    After Day Four working groups the entire group reviews initial discussion of sub-disciplinary groups. 
  • 6
    On Day Five, sub-disciplinary groups meet and present how the meeting has tested the meeting hypotheses. They discuss how the recent coring campaign has advanced the understanding of climate-tectonic interactions and what issues remain.
  • 7
    The meeting ends at lunchtime on Day Five. 
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  • Abstract submissions will open in late July and close on 25 September 2019. You are not required to be an AGU member to submit an abstract. There is no fee for submissions.
  • Abstracts must focus on scientific results or their application. The Program Committee may decline abstracts with other focuses.
  • By submitting an abstract, you are obligated to give a presentation in the designated manner assigned by the Program Committee. Your submission also grants AGU permission to publish the abstract.
  • You cannot request oral presentations, although you may request a poster presentation.
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Abstract submission policies

Abstract submission guidelines

Abstracts must meet the following guidelines to be considered for the Chapman Conference. 
  • 1
    Your abstract title should be no more than 300 characters and the abstract text must be less than 2000 characters. The character limit includes punctuation, but not spacing.
  • 2
    In lieu of adding the names of individual team members, you may reference a research team may be referenced in the ‘Title of Team’ field during the submission process.
  • 3
    You may add one table or image to your submission. If you would like to include multiple images, you must combine the images and save them as one file. We prefer image files be .jpg, however, .png, and .gif are also supported file types.
  • 4
    Submissions can be submitted and edited at any time up until 25 September.
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Poster presenter guidelines

Each presenter will have a poster space of 45” x 45” (3.75 feet by 3.75 feet). Presenters will share 8’W x 4’H poster boards. Posters will be displayed for the entire meeting. The scientific program is available here.

The presentation must cover the material as cited in the abstract.

Water in a fissure between tectonic plates in Iceland

Oral Presenter Guidelines

Please be sure you to bring a copy of your presentation on a USB drive as a backup. Presentations should be formatted to 16:9 if possible. 4:3 will also be supported. The podium laptop will be a PC.

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Registration is now open. Register by 4 December 2019 to join us!
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Registration rates and policies

The registration fee includes access to the scientific program, an opening reception on Sunday evening, daily coffee breaks and lunches.

  • Professionals: $500.00 USD
  • Students: $400.00 USD
  • Low-income* country residents: $400.00 USD

*Low-income and lower-middle income countries as defined by the World Bank.

Cancellation policy: If you must cancel your registration, you must notify AGU by email. Registration cancellations received by 4 December 2019 will receive a complete refund. Registration cancellations received between 5 and 11 December 2019 will have a $50 processing fee deducted from their refund. No refunds will be issued for registrations or ticketed events canceled after 11 December 2019.

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Reserve your room from now until 5 December 2019. 
Book now
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Book your stay

Discounted rooms can be reserved at the:

Courtyard Marriott
1900 Connecticut Avenue, NW,
Washington, D.C. 20009

The hotel is just over one block from AGU Headquarters, where the conference is being held. The deadline to reserve your room is 5 December 2019. 

Single/Double/Triple/Quad: $139.00 per night. Taxes not included.

Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12:00 p.m.
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Getting to Washington, D.C.

As a major metropolitan area there are many options for traveling to Washington, D.C. for the Chapman. Washington, D.C. is served by three major airports which offer multiple U.S. and international flights daily, a train station, a local light rail called Metro, and more. Explore different travel options and directions for getting to the meeting.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is accessible via Amtrak routes that drop off at D.C.’s Union Station. A reserved seat on Amtrak will cost $15-$30 (see discounted option below). MARC commuter rail is also available to Union Station on weekdays with limited weekend service, via the Penn Line; tickets are $7 each way. Visit the BWI Airport ground transportation page for more information.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is just a 10-minute drive from the city line. Reagan Airport supports domestic flights within the United States. The airport is accessible from its own Metro stop on the Blue and Yellow lines. A taxi ride into downtown D.C. will cost about $15-$20.

Washington Dulles International Airport is located 26 miles from D.C. in suburban Virginia. The airport has a dedicated access road that makes getting into the city efficient via car, taxi or airport shuttle. Washington Flyer taxi cabs exclusively service Dulles Airport. A taxi ride into D.C. will cost about $60-$68. Public transportation options are also available via the Silver Line Express Bus to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station or via Metrobus 5A to Metrorail stops in Rosslyn, VA and L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C.

If you’d rather travel to D.C. on the ground, Amtrak is the ideal solution. The train departs and arrives from D.C.’s Union Station, which is centrally located, features its own Metro stop, and has plenty of taxis waiting as you exit.

Traveling by bus to and from D.C. is easy with an array of options, including Megabus and Greyhound.

If you drive to D.C. with your own vehicle, the Courtyard Marriott offers valet parking. Details can be found on the Washington Hilton website. Parking Panda, SpotHero, and ParkWhiz are parking reservation services to help you find a parking spot.

Chapman conveners

Peter D. Clift, Louisiana State University

Christian France-Lanord, CRPG CNRS-Université de Lorraine

Ann Holbourn, University of Kiel

Hongbo Zheng, Yunnan University

Chapman Program Committee

Institution Location
 Pallavi Anand  Open University  Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
 Ana Barros  Duke University  Durham, N.C., United States
 Simona Bordoni  California Institute of Technology  Pasadena, Calif., United States
 Steve Clemens  Brown University  Providence, R.I., United States
 Sarah Feakins  University of Southern California  Los Angeles, Calif., United States
 Stephen Gallagher  University of Melbourne  Melbourne, Australia
 Liviu Giosan  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution  Falmouth, Mass., United States
 Yoshimi Kubota  National Museum of Nature and Science  Tokyo, Japan
 Yani Najman  University of Lancaster  Lancaster, United Kingdom
 Sunil Singh  National Institute of Oceanography  Goa, India
 Shiming Wan  Chinese Academy of Science Qingdao, China