92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 2:30 PM
EarthNow: Weather and Climate Connections for 3D Spherical Displays
Room 348/349 (New Orleans Convention Center )
C. Patrick Rowley, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and S. A. Ackerman, D. P. Pisut, and M. Mooney

The NOAA Science on a Sphere (SOS) is one of the fastest growing museum and science center exhibits worldwide, with about 70 installations in 5 years. Rightfully so—few other exhibits captivate and mystify audiences in the way SOS does. Harnessing audience excitement about the science, however, has been challenging for docents.

The nascent EarthNow project (http://sphere.ssec.wisc.edu) from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) allows SOS institutions to go beyond the scientific facts to create meaningful visitor experiences about weather and climate connections. CIMSS, in collaboration with the NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, regularly updates a blog-style website, providing a central location for SOS facilitators to find timely weather and climate stories to speak about how current events affect and are affected by global change. Along with these stories, the website also provides relevant, visually appealing SOS-formatted datasets and animations with appropriate annotations, leading to easier comprehension by presenters and the public.

Along with discussing the logistics and background of the EarthNow project, this presentation will review the results of our front-end and formative evaluations. The evaluation results will not only allow us to showcase how museums and science centers are using EarthNow, but also what museums need to tackle complex and contentious issues like global climate change.

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