Science on a Sphere Takes U.S. Center’s Stage at COP15
Dr. MacDonald, Director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, presented a live “SphereCast” from the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, speaking to local audience of about 30 and many hundreds more who watched the presentation from 11 museums and other institutions around the world. Science on a Sphere —a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere — was the centerpiece of the U.S. Center at the conference.
The sequence of images Dr. MacDonald showed on the sphere indicated how temperatures are projected to rise this century, assuming the world experiences very rapid economic growth, low population growth, and gradual introduction of new and more efficient technology. The colors on the globe indicate projected temperature differences from those observed in 2000. The projections are calculated by sophisticated computer models that simulate Earth’s climate based on current scientific observations and understanding. In his SphereCast, Dr. MacDonald presented simulations from three independent global climate models, all of which are able to reproduce current climate conditions. He also used those climate models to illustrate that policies—such as those under consideration at Copenhagen to limit greenhouse gas emissions—can change the planet’s future.