Discovering Climate Modelling at Curiosity Carnival team engage interest of hundreds of visitors in citizen science project during University-wide event at the Ashmolean museum

Last Friday saw 10,000 people engaging with university researchers at the Curiosity Carnival, Oxford’s contribution to European Researchers Night, which was celebrated by hundreds of cities across the continent.

The evening included a programme of activities for all ages and interests across Oxford’s museums, libraries, gardens and woods.  CPDN researchers were at the Ashmolean Museum demonstrating 3D climate data modelled as part of the citizen science project

The Magic Planet is a 3D globe projector which ran visualizations of climate model simulations  of possible weather, including rainfall, and wind speed and direction. These climate models are used to answer questions about how climate change is affecting our world, to improve our understanding of the climate system and help manage future climate risk.

Running these models takes a huge amount of computer power and time, but the world’s largest climate modelling experiment speeds up the process by using the downtime on thousands of volunteers’ home computers across the planet.

Recently the researchers found that climate change increased the chances of seeing a European summer as hot as 2017 by at least a factor of 10 and a heat wave like Lucifer by at least a factor of four. Such summer heatwaves with temperatures over 40C could become normal by 2050.

Team members David Wallom, Sarah Sparrow, Friederike Otto and Sihan Li (Meredith) were on hand in one of the upper galleries of the Ashmolean Museum to explain the data being visualized on the Magic Planet 3D projector, and to appeal for more volunteers for the climate modelling programme. Visitors to the stand ranged from school children to fellow researchers writing PhDs on climate science. They were also joined by one of the community’s longstanding moderators, Maureen Villar.

Dozens of interested people signed up to join our volunteers from all over the world who already contribute their computer’s downtime to the world’s largest climate modelling experiment.

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