EXPLORING SEA LEVEL RISE: A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH OUR CHANGING EARTH SYSTEMS
We developed ‘Polar Explorer: Sea Level Explorer App’, an interactive app around sea level rise. Using maps of geoscience data from the oceans, the atmosphere, changing world ice, and the role of humans the app is couched in a question driven structure to explore evidence of a changing climate. Users can travel through the app, exploring just the areas that capture their interest as they are introduced to the interactions and relationships through the data and supporting materials. Through science data displayed as map visualizations the user is invited into topics through an introductory question, such as “Why does sea level change?” allowing the user to exploring the role of the ocean, the atmosphere, the contribution from the world’s glaciers, world’s ice sheets and other less obvious considerations such as the role of post-glacial rebound, or the mining of groundwater. ‘Internal Ocean Temperature’ offers the user a chance to bring up temperature values spatially over the world’s ocean, or to click through a temperature data from the ocean surface down to 5000 meters below sea level.
We chose to include a broad-based introduction to geoscience topics as a way of presenting the complexity of the climate system, while at the same time scaffolding with enough support materials to facilitate users. Each map is supported with a pop up and a short audio file of supporting material, and an information page that includes the data source and links for further reading. The full app forms a small ‘textbook’ of systems interactions around climate; explored in parts it offers an introduction to pieces of the climate system and a taste of some of the main questions that have captured the attention of the science community.