The conference will span four days, including a field trip taking up much the third day to allow attendees to interact in a more informal fashion. The schedule will involve each major theme having half a day of presentations, a keynote speaker, followed by a series of shorter contributed talks on the same theme. Posters form a crucial part of the information exchange and these will be available for viewing throughout the conference. We will schedule 45-minute refreshment breaks in the morning and afternoon in order to give attendees ample time to view posters, as well as time at the end of the day before dinner. Each theme will end with a discussion period to summarize the main conclusions of our present statement of knowledge.

The meeting will have five main thematic sessions and a synthesis discussion session on the afternoon of Day 4. Each thematic session is related to a leading scientific question. These questions are:

  1. Centennial and millennial scale variability in intensity of the Asian monsoon in the late Quaternary and Holocene.
  2. Impacts of climate change on environment in Asia. How do rivers and landscape respond to changing rainfall?
  3. Settlement of Asia and historical interactions between humans and the Asian Monsoon
  4. Climate observations and models.
  5. The economic and societal impacts of climate change in Asia: planning for the future.

The final afternoon is devoted to identification of major shortcomings in our present data and what new data sets are required to address these. Specialized groups will work in individual sessions to discuss these matters before presenting to the entire conference at the end of the day for general discussion. We aim to define how major science programs can play a role in mitigating the drivers of increased monsoon variability and adapting to changes in the monsoon which cannot be avoided.

A one-day public seminar will be held on the day after the conference at which selected presenters will deliver the primary results of our conference to a public audience organized by the Hong Kong Civic Exchange. The seminar will be recorded and posted on the Internet; also there will be press briefings and an invitation to local and international press to attend. We will leverage Hong Kong’s location as an international media hub to maximize the impact of the conference on wider society.