If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the value of one that moves?
With the rising popularity of the Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF (pronounced “jif,” though that is a heated debate in its own right), climate scientists and educators are increasingly using these animated pictures to display climate change information. They join a bevy of videos and mobile apps that are being used to document and share information about climate change and its impacts on communities around the world. The following examples explore creative or recent uses of these varied mediums in the dissemination of climate change information.
Artist’s “HighWaterLine” Project in New York Helps the City Visualize Climate Change Impacts
Self-proclaimed urban archeologist, Eve Mosher, creates public art to engage citizens
This short film documents the HighWaterLine public art project in New York City.
HighWaterLine from eve mosher on Vimeo.
In 2007, artist Eve Mosher, created public artwork called HighWaterLine on the NYC waterfront to help foster local understanding of the impacts of climate change. She marked the 10-feet above sea level line using blue chalk and illuminated beacons in parks. Walking and chalking nearly 70 miles of coastline, Eve took the opportunity to explain her project to those who inquired – engaging the community in conversations about climate change and sea-level rise. Avoiding doom-and-gloom messaging, Eve would explain how the line she was drawing was the worst case scenario, but with their help the impacts could be mitigated and provided them with simple actions to reduce their emissions.
In partnership with EcoArtSpace, Eve has created an open source learning guide to provide the resources needed for communities wanting to undertake the project for education, awareness, and building tools for mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency.
10 maps in 1 GIF show how sea level has risen leading up to today
Researchers re-construct the last 10,000 years of sea-level rise around New Jersey
Benjamin Horton, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and his fellow researchers have used fossilized evidence of a migrating coastline to reconstruct sea-level rise around New Jersey going back 10,000 years.
Topography in meters. GIF built with maps courtesy of Benjamin Horton and Dick Peltier (University of Toronto).
By combining 10 maps of sea-level rise at 1,000-year intervals, they have created an animated GIF that visually demonstrates the rise in water over the past 10,000 years from Chesapeake, Virginia to Boston, Massachusetts. Given the recent devastation from Superstorm Sandy, Horton suggests that the task (and cost!) of restoring beaches will only continue to grow based on the historic course of sea-level rise.
Don’t put down that phone! Mobile apps can help get you thinking about climate change
Climate change on the go – mobile apps to engage you in climate action
Just a quick Google search of “Climate Change apps” demonstrates that there are a bunch of “top ten” lists out there of great mobile applications related to climate change and its impacts. They range from shopping apps that rank companies based on their climate actions to inform you as a consumer, to apps that provide you with information to use when in a “debate” with a climate change skeptic. Even NASA is in on the climate change app action, giving people access to real-time global climate data and visualizations.
In 2010, LiveSmart BC held the “Apps for Climate Action Contest,” challenging Canadian software developers to raise climate change awareness and inspire action to reduce carbon pollution through mobile apps. The list of A4CA (Apps 4 Climate Action) submissions can be found here