Communicating Climate Change

Nearly 50 science center and museum professionals, climate scientists, and educators spent Friday, October 1, on the grounds of the Bishop Museum, exploring new and exciting strategies, techniques, and tools for communicating climate change as part of the “Showcasing Innovation in Climate Change Programming: Spherical Display Systems and the C3 Project” workshop. Participants heard from NOAA communicators and scientists, ASTC staff, and leaders in the science center field. They saw the latest in climate science, experienced new techniques in visualization, and heard best practices in citizen science.

The workshop was a partnership between NOAA’s Office of Education and the NSF-funded, ASTC-led Communicating Climate Change (C3) project. Office of Education director Christos Michalopoulos kicked off the event, making it clear why this partnership was formed: “Understanding climate change, and making it real—connecting it to people—is paramount to a successful mission.” Michalopoulos outlined his office’s commitment to creating an environmentally literate public through a variety of education options, including lifelong learning in ISE settings. Walter Staveloz, ASTC’s director of international relations, echoed this commitment on the part of the science center field.

Richard Feely, senior scientist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, provided the scientific backdrop for the day, introducing “the other CO2 problem,” ocean acidification (PDF). This was followed by a series of presentations on the activities and partnerships developed as part of the C3 project and a demonstration of NOAA’s Science on a Sphere. Participants broke into C3 and Science on a Sphere discussion groups during the latter part of the day.

As the groups reconvened at the end of the day, discussion turned to how to move forward. Ned Gardiner from NOAA’s Climatic Data Center closed the day by emphasizing the importance of cultivating a community of practice around the issue of climate change. Discussions launched during this workshop will continue online. If you would like to participate in these discussions, contact Kate Crawford at