Non-specialists understanding
    of climate change images



                                Martin Maguire, ESRI
       ...
Introduction

 Public understanding of basic climate change issues growing but
  there are still areas where knowledge is...
EuroClim project IST-2000-28766



                                                                         Glacier Melt A...
Jargon

 Every scientific community has its own technical terms or jargon.

 Terms used in relation to the EU-IST Eurocl...
EuroClim monitoring areas within the Cryosphere




5                    Workshop on usability of geographic information N...
Glacier Surface area




Glacier surface area


6                      Workshop on usability of geographic information Not...
Snow cover




7            Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
Sea Ice extent and concentration




                                     Year         Sea Ice           Sea Ice
         ...
Example of EuroClim product: Growing season length




9                   Workshop on usability of geographic information...
Time series maps

 Time series maps (often as animations) effective at showing how a
  climatic variable or feature will ...
Colour stereotypes 1




11                     Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
Colour stereotypes 2




                                                                   Image from NCAR showing projec...
Understanding the nature and effects of climate change

 Distinction of „climate‟ and „weather‟                  +2C Equa...
Innovative maps 1




14                  Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
Innovative maps 2.1




15                    Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
Innovative maps 2.2
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2009/oct/22/climate-change-carbon-emissions




  16...
Conclusion

 Climate information is a complex subject so is important to
  communicate information to the public in a neu...
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Non-specialists’ understanding of climate change information

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Martin Maguire's presentation in the 2nd Workdshop on usability of geographic information, 23rd March 2010 at UCL, London. See details at http://www.virart.nottingham.ac.uk/GI%20Usability/index.html

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Non-specialists’ understanding of climate change information

  1. 1. Non-specialists understanding of climate change images Martin Maguire, ESRI Loughborough University m.c.maguire@lboro.ac.uk Workshop on usability of geographic information UCL, London 24 March 2010
  2. 2. Introduction  Public understanding of basic climate change issues growing but there are still areas where knowledge is limited (DfT, 2010).  Global maps a key part of this communication.  Important to understand the context in which information received, for example:  Helping with home work  Reading on a train  Viewing an interactive display  Based on experiences from an EU collaborative project (EuroClim) 2 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  3. 3. EuroClim project IST-2000-28766 Glacier Melt Area Glacier Surface type Datasets Sea ice area Sea ice break up date e.g. sea ice thickness Sea ice concentration Sea ice extent Snow Cover Area Snow Surface Wetness. www.euroclim.net Snow Surface Temp. Days of Snow Cover 3 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  4. 4. Jargon  Every scientific community has its own technical terms or jargon.  Terms used in relation to the EU-IST Euroclim project:  “Cryosphere” Techniques related to monitoring now cover  “Solar radiation albedo”  “Strength of radar backscatter”  “Passive microwave derived snow covered area”  Brief descriptions of technical terms required, expressing them in simple language 4 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  5. 5. EuroClim monitoring areas within the Cryosphere 5 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  6. 6. Glacier Surface area Glacier surface area 6 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  7. 7. Snow cover 7 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  8. 8. Sea Ice extent and concentration Year Sea Ice Sea Ice Extent Concentration 1980 7.8 4.8 1985 6.9 4.2 1990 6.2 4.5 1995 6.1 4.4 2000 6.3 4.3 2002 6.0 4.0 2004 6.1 4.4 Figures in million sq. km 8 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  9. 9. Example of EuroClim product: Growing season length 9 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  10. 10. Time series maps  Time series maps (often as animations) effective at showing how a climatic variable or feature will change over time.  Can show how a region (e.g. the Arctic sea) may experience reducing sea ice leading to an ice free summer in future years.  With a dynamic display sometimes hard for the viewer to gain more than an impression of what is happening.  Example (Purdue University): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJpj8UUMTaI  Clearer example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAUf1bRIFxM&feature=channel  A feature allowing the users to select and plot two or more places on the globe for comparison over time might be helpful in making the information clearer. 10 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  11. 11. Colour stereotypes 1 11 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  12. 12. Colour stereotypes 2 Image from NCAR showing projected temperatures for 2036 as departures from the average (anomalies) Image from NCAR showing temperatures for 1913 as departures from the average (anomalies) 12 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  13. 13. Understanding the nature and effects of climate change  Distinction of „climate‟ and „weather‟ +2C Equatorial regions: desertification and crops fail; Australia: crops and livestock fail;  Timescales for change? Northern Europe: warmth improves crops +3C Alps: end of ski industry;  Likely effects on communities, Wildlife: widespread extinctions across Africa, South America and different industries, farming, etc. Asia. (Stern: “Politicians have no idea +4C Northern Europe: suffers of the impact of climate change”, summer heat waves; Amazon: rainforests die; Greenland: ice cap Times, March 13, 2009) melting +5C Global: Crop failure, billions of people suffer starvation and drought.  What will it actually mean in terms that Rising seas threaten many cities can be understood? Sunday Times, 15.03.09, p9 13 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  14. 14. Innovative maps 1 14 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  15. 15. Innovative maps 2.1 15 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  16. 16. Innovative maps 2.2 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2009/oct/22/climate-change-carbon-emissions 16 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009
  17. 17. Conclusion  Climate information is a complex subject so is important to communicate information to the public in a neutral and straightforward way but without over simplifying it.  Maps are a good tool for this.  Can allow non-specialists to absorb and try to interpret climate change variables and information for themselves.  Necessary to provide enough background explanation about the information presented so that people feel confident in taking on this challenge. 17 Workshop on usability of geographic information Nottingham 17 March 2009

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