UAlbany researchers develop way to help people visualize climate change
At this point, we’re all used to hearing about the climate changing.
But seeing 2,000 years of data in front of you, all narrowed down in the form of an easy-to-operate visual tool, might really put it in perspective.
This is what researchers at the University at Albany realized as they worked since early 2018 to create a recently launched tool through the UAlbany Visualization and Informatics Lab. The tool is a part of the school’s $5 million Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project, which was funded through the National Science Foundation. It features three visualization maps: a “Tree Ring Viewer” showing the history of the climate as determined by specific tree rings, a “Forest Stress Viewer” showcasing tree growth at 3,579 forests around the world and a “PHYDA [Paleo Hydrodynamics Data Assimilation] Climate Globe,” all of which use data banks of archival information to help users narrow down the future of the climate’s trajectory, and can help better inform those making policies related to the climate.
“What we are seeing is unprecedented warming, globally,” said Ernesto Tejedor, postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. “That is caused by human activities. It’s very important to see visually because sometimes they tell you and you don’t really realize. But when you have 2,000 years of data and see that we are living in the warmest period that the earth has faced in the last 2,000 years, it’s shocking that we’re able to change the earth’s climate at a high base.”
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