3.1 Communicating Climate Forecasts via NOAA's Science On a Sphere: The EarthNow Project

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 1:30 PM
Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)
Patrick Rowley, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and S. Ackerman, P. Arkin, D. P. Pisut, R. A. Kohrs, M. Mooney, and S. Schollaert Uz

The NOAA Science on a Sphere (SOS) is one of the fastest growing museum and science center exhibits worldwide, with over 80 installations. Rightfully so—few other exhibits captivate and mystify audiences in the way SOS does. Harnessing audience excitement about the science, especially climate change and forecasts, however, has been challenging for docents.

The 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 will 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 showcase how museums are using the EarthNow resources and what the perceived limitations are with regards to communicating climate information to the public. Further, there will be some discussion during the Q&A about finding relevant climate data and stories for the project.


- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner