AGU – Reference Style Sheet

2016 – Reference Style Modified from AGU

The citation sheet (Reference List) is an organized alphabetical order tabulation of the material cited in the paper. The citation style to use is reasonably generic for all natural/physical sciences and technical work. It is important that all the information fields required to clearly identify the work cited is included, and that the information fields are presented in a consistent format/order.

Reference Categories and Their Required Elements

1. Article in Journal                        
  • Author(s)
  • Year (in parentheses)
  • Title of article
  • Journal title in italics
  • Volume number in bold
  • Issue number (in parentheses)
  • Page(s) or Citation number


NOTE – Published journal articles are NOT “online” resources even though we of course access them online via our library access.   Therefore, do not include the URL for journal articles.


Brophy, J. G., E. M. Klein and M. A. Stewart (1999) Textural (Nomarski interferometry) studies of plagioclase phenocryst zonation styles in MORB dikes and lavas from the north wall of the Hess Deep Rift, Eos Transactions of the AGU, 80(46), Fall Meeting Supplement, Abstract AE42A-08.

Budetta, G. and D. Carbone (1998) Temporal variations in gravity at Mt. Etna (Italy) associated with the 1989 and 1991 eruptions, Bulletin of Volcanology, 59, 311–326.

Ma, J., D. W. Waugh, A. R. Douglass, S. R. Kawa and S.-J. Lin (2003) Evaluation of the transport in the Goddard Space Flight Center three-dimensional chemical transport model using the equivalent length diagnostic, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(D6), 4201, doi:10.1029/2002JD002268.

Schröder, M., M. König and J. Schmetz (2009) Deep convection observed by the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager on board Meteosat 8: Spatial distribution and temporal evolution over Africa in summer and winter 2006, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1029/2008JD010653, in press.

 2. Book         
  • Author(s)/Editor(s)
  • Year (in parentheses)
  • Book title in italics
  • Series title and vol. (if any)
  • Total page(s) (optional)
  • Publisher
  • Location (city and state/country)
  • Publisher Location (city and state/country)
3. Article/Chapter in Book
  • Author(s)
  • Year (in parentheses)
  • Title of article
  • Book title (in italics)
  • Edition (if any)
  • Page(s) of article in book


McDougall, I. and T. M. Harrison (Eds.) (1999) Geochronology and Thermochronology by the 40Ar/ 39Ar Method, 2nd ed., 269 pp., Oxford University Press, New York.

Scholz, C. H. and T. C. Hanks (in press 2004) The strength of the San Andreas fault: A discussion, in Rheology and Deformation of the Lithosphere at Continental Margins, edited by G. D. Karner, Columbia University Press, New York.

Sweet, P. A. (1958) The neutral point theory of solar flares, in Electromagnetic Phenomena in Cosmic Physics, edited by B. Lehnert, pp. 123–134, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Tullis, T. and J. Tullis (1986) Experimental rock deformation techniques, in Mineral and Rock Deformation: Laboratory Studies, The Paterson Volume, Geophysical Monographs Series, 36, edited by B. E. Hobbs and H. C. Heard, pp. 297–324, AGU, Washington, D. C.

4. Report/Map/Thesis/Dissertation
  • Author(s)
  • Year (in parentheses)
  • Title of report/thesis (not italic)
  • Report designator/type of thesis (M.S., Ph.D., etc.,)
  • Page(s) (optional)
  • Issuing organization/university
  • Location (city and state/country) \
  • Date (optional)


Monger, J. W. H. and J. M. Journeay (1994) Guide to the geology and tectonic evolution of the southern Coast Mountains, Open File Report 2490, 77 pp., Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Schiarizza, P., R. G. Gaba, J. K. Glover, J. I. Garver and P. J. Umhoefer (1997) Geology and mineral occurrences of the Taseko-Bridge River area, Bulletin 100, 291 pp., B. C. Ministry of Employment and Investment, Energy and Mineral Division, Geological Survey Branch, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Campbell, J. K. (1970) Mariner Mars 1969, report, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.

Kineman, J. J. and M. A. Ohrenschall (1992) Global Ecosystems Database, version 1.0, A documentation manual [CD-ROM], Key Geophysical Records Document 27, National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Brown, R. J. E. (1967) Permafrost in Canada, Map 1246A, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Henderson, T. (2000) High-pressure metamorphism in the western Llano uplift, M.S. thesis, 134 pp., University of Texas at Austin, Austin,Texas, USA. 28 June.

5. Data Sets
  • Author(s) Year
  • Title of data set
  • Dates used (if applicable)
  • Access number or code
  • Data center
  • Location
  • Update information (if applicable, in parentheses)

Data sets cited must meet the following three criteria: (1) open to scientists throughout the world; (2) committed to archiving data sets indefinitely, and (3) provide services at reasonable costs. Currently, World and National Data Centers meet these requirements. (See List of World Data Centers and National Data Centers.)


Hall, D. K., G. A. Riggs and V. V. Salomonson (2000) MODIS/Terra Snow Cover 5-Min L2 Swath 500m, Version 4, October 2007 to April 2008,, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado (Updated daily.)

6. Newspaper / Magazine articles in print or online

Mendelsohn, D. (2010) But enough about me. New Yorker, January 25, pp 16-19.

Stolberg, S. G. R. Pear (2010) Wary centrists posing challenge in health care vote. New York Times, February 27, Accessed February 28, 2010.

7. Webpages, blogs, YouTube/Vimeo content, and other challenging items

The Internet is a dynamic environment and sites may change or move. Restrict your use to established sites wherever possible. Follow the general guideline of providing hierarchically organized information required to identify the piece.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio (2011) Perpetual Ocean (2005-2007) [1080p]. Video 3:02. Uploaded Nov. 29, 2011. Accessed Jan. 23, 2016 on YouTube

Satterfeld, D. (2016) In Case You Saw This in Forbes- It’s laughably wrong. Dan’s Wild Wild Science Journal – AGU Blogosphere. Posted Jan 22, 2016. Access Jan 23, 2016.

Organization of the Reference List

Organize the reference list by strict letter-by-letter alphabetization of the first item in the reference.

List references by the same first author in the following order:

  1. First author alone, list chronologically, earliest work
  2. One coauthor, list alphabetically by coauthor and then
  3. Two or more coauthors (i.e., cited as “et” in text), list chronologically.

The following list illustrates this sequence:

Smith, A. (1989a),… Smith, A. (1989b),… Smith, A. (1991),…

Smith, A. and C. Allen (1992),…

Smith, A. and B. Frank (1995),…

Smith, A. and B. Frank (1997),…

Smith, A., L. Roberts and T. Jones (1993),…

Smith, A., T. Jones and L. Roberts (1997),…

Use only initials for first names. Alphabetize different first authors having the same last name according to the initials of their first names. If their initials are the same, alphabetize them by their full names or by the last names of the second authors if any. Only for more than 10 authors, use first author and et al. as in Smith, A., et al. (1989).

In Text Citations

References are cited by the last name of the author(s) and the year, with semi colons to separate references in a sequence:

(Smith, 1991; Smith and Allen, 1992; Smith et al., 1993).

If there are more than 3 authors, then you use the first authors surname and et al. which is in italics and includes a period after the al.: (Smith et al., 1993)

If the author’s name is part of the sentence, only the year is bracketed: Jones (1990).

Two or more publications by the same author in the same year are distinguished by a, b, and c after the year: (Smith, 1989a, 1989b).

Acceptable words within brackets:

Before reference                  After reference

see                                                and references therein

e.g.,                                               pp., equation, chapter

  1.                                                  Table, Figure, etc.

from                                             ff. (close up: p. 53ff.)

after                                             i.e., also


(see also Jones, 2000)

by Thomas (1992, and references therein) and Evans (1993)

(e.g., Evans, 1993a, 1993b, 1994)

for further details, see Smith (1989, Table 1.3)

by Hacker et al. (2000, Figure 3)

(300 km [Davis, 2001] and 450 km [Armstrong et al., 2002])

Additional comments

Institutions and working groups are often authors.

If the material you wish to use is cited to its original source, then you must go to that original source.

If you are accessing a formally published article through Web of Science for example, you should cite it as a published article. There is no need to include url and date of access.

If you are having difficulty in determining basic information for an item, then you probably should not use that item. It is either unlikely to be a reputable source, and/or, you are unable to provide enough identification information to allow your readers to find the material independently.

Emiliano Monroy-Ríos