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Press & Reviews Detail

Visualizing Climate Change- NY Times

MAY 7, 2009, 2:53 PM

Visualizing Climate Change and Its Science

There’s been a growing effort to convey the science and significance of climate change in imagery, not just words. (It’s worth testing all means of communicating on this subject, given the social science illustrating how tough it would be, with words alone, to jog the public to respond to a problem laden with some irreducible uncertainty, dispersed outcomes and a long time scale.) I was involved in an early attempt, in 1992, when I wrote the companion book to “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast,” one of the first museum exhibitions on global warming, created by the American Museum of Natural History.

Much more is under way these days, including a new exhibition there, a spate of illustrated books and an ever-expanding array of documentaries. A recent meeting focused on creating a successor to the 1939 World’s Fair Futurama exhibition, this time envisioning a world in 2050 with sustainable energy choices.

There’s a Web site, globalwarmingart.com, devoted to aggregating and disseminating climate-related artwork and graphics. (I’m still pondering holding a contest to see who can come up with fresh ways to use graphics or animation that go beyond the “burning embers” art from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.)

In a related post, my friends over at Green Inc. caught up with Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to discuss the book on climate that he’s created with the photographer Joshua Wolfe. Following a different path into the public arena than his boss, James E. Hansen, Dr. Schmidt has focused his outreach mainly through the popular Realclimate.org blog. You can read the Green Inc. interview here.

 
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