Science and the media in times of volcanic crisis
During natural crises such as volcanic eruptions there is great need for fast and accurate flow of information to the public and various stakeholders. Media interest tends to be intense. Scientists that take on the role of spokespersons for monitoring teams may find themselves overwhelmed. Simple messages are needed for effective presentation. A scientist is trained to be rigorous, careful and precise, not quick and brief. Technical terms, essential for scientific dialogue, are to be avoided. How is this best done? The talk will reflect on the experiences from the last quarter of a century of dealing with national and international media during volcanic crises in Iceland, including the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, the eruption that stopped commercial air traffic in large parts of Europe for several days and disrupted flights over the North Atlantic for weeks.
Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson is a Professor of Geophysics at the University of Iceland. He carries out his research within the Nordic Volcanological Centre at the Institute of Earth Sciences. His research has focussed on volcanoes and glaciers. Magnús Tumi is the author or co-author of about 150 scientific publications and has worked closely with several colleagues and civil protection authorities on volcanic hazard research and the dissemination of results to the general public.