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New approaches to visualising climate change

Climate researchers and visualisation experts in front of the Dome

Climate researchers and visualisation experts in front of the Dome

New approaches to making the Earth's complex climate system understandable were discussed by international climate scientists and visualisation experts at the conference Visualising Climate Change, which ended May 5 with a tour of the Dome.

The interactive visualisation platform Uniview, which is already in use in planetariums around the world, can be a powerful tool to illustrate climate change and current research. This was clearly seen in the enthusiasm displayed by participants at the conference Visualising Climate Change held in New Kåkenhus on campus Norrköping, May 3-5.

Inside the small dark Dome the entire planet with its thin layer of atmosphere spins and the space perspective is changed to the local perspective, currently showing Phoenix, Arizona, in the USA. Parks and golf facilities are a green contrast against the surrounding arid desert landscape - the question is how to get the water from the lake far away to supply enough for everything?

“Enough for the city with its swimming pools, for agriculture or for industry, "says researcher Ned Gardiner from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. equivalent of the Swedish SMHI, and pits the alternatives against each other.

“It is important to literally be able to show that the place where we live is a part of something bigger”.

Using visualisation techniques , animations and adventure-based media, researchers are able to get a completely different emotional understanding of the knowledge they want to disseminate.

“Visualisation technology especially, can be used to make the complex problems of climate change understandable to policy makers and the general public, but also to share results between researchers", says Björn Ola Linnér, professor at the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR, at LiU Norrköping.

In a joint project with German KlimaCampus / Max Planck Institute and the Hamburg planetarium, Norrköping Visualisation Centre and CSPR have embarked on a collaboration to create a platform for research-based climate visualisation for audiences in interactive environments. The project also includes the possible use of full-dome video, power points and a mentometer system. Through the latter the audience is able to make choices and even ‘experience’ the consequences of their choices.

The Visualising Climate Change conference will be an annual occurrence and the Dome, well it will be emptied of air and packed away awaiting the next opportunity to go on show. Among other things, it is going to the Almedalen political week in the summer, to the EU ministerial meeting in Norrköping in the autumn, and not least, it will appear at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December.


Therese Winder 2009-05-05




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Last updated: 2009-06-03