Understanding how climate change is reflected in global temperatures can make one’s head spin. So the Pacific Science Center is helping spur that understanding by projecting climate change’s effects on something that normally does spin — a globe.
Using a newly updated data set from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that covers global temperatures from 1880 through 2014, the Seattle-based science center will display the data as animation on a huge globe in its Science on a Sphere exhibit. As each year flashes by, the sphere shows where Earth’s surface temperatures were warmer (red) or colder (blue) than the 20th century average, culminating in 2014, the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880.
The impressive visualization is part of Pacific Science Center’s tenth annual Polar Science Weekend. Starting Friday and running through Sunday, March 1, the activities and explanations also include scientists’ research from the University of Washington on Arctic ice melt, a model of a narwhal tusk, and an explanation of why penguins and polar bears never meet socially in their native habitats.
The global temperature data will be presented in the Polar Regions Demo show scheduled up to twice each day. Polar Science Weekend activities are included in regular Pacific Science Center admission.