1.5 Build Your Own Earth: A Climate and Paleoclimate Tool for Teaching and Research

Monday, 7 January 2019: 12:00 AM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
David M. Schultz, Univ. of Manchester, Manchester, U.K.

Imagine the ability to build your own worlds by selecting various physical characteristics of planets: distance from the Sun, tilt of the axis, location of continents, oceans and mountains, atmospheric composition, etc. You would enter these characteristics on a web page, and then, after pushing the “Go” button, a climate model would run in the background and produce the climate on that world for you. Although producing such an instantaneous simulation of climate is not possible due to the speed of today’s computers, we nonetheless persisted with our vision. The result was Build Your Own Earth (http://www.buildyourownearth.com/), a free web-based tool to engage students in understanding the physical controls on Earth’s climate. Three types of simulations are performed: 29 simulations using the modern-day Earth vegetation and topography but varying greenhouse gas forcing, solar constant, and orbital parameters, 11 idealized simulations (e.g., aquaplanet, terraplanet, and ice planet), and 10 palaeoclimate simulations ranging from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Ediacaran (600 million years ago). This presentation presents the tool and describes how Build Your Own Earth is used in teaching a massive open online course (MOOC) and in the introductory Earth science course for first-year students at Manchester. The simulations have been incorporated into journal articles to demonstrate the seasonal cycle in the Middle Jurassic in Argentina. Finally, we invite the audience to consider how they can use the tool for undergraduate or graduate dissertations, teaching and research projects.
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