With ChronoZoom, the History of Climate Change Becomes Clearer

| Josh Henretig

chronozoomWhat if scientists could visualize changes to the planet’s climate over time in order to better understand the sources of human-caused climate change today? A scientist at the University of California at Santa Barbara (USCB) is turning to ChronoZoom, an educational tool for teachers and students who want to put historical events in perspective, to illustrate changes in climate from the beginning of the planet through modern day.

Jeff Dozier, a professor of environmental science and management at UCSB, is using the program to help students understand climate change throughout history, which allows for viewing detailed information at any point in time. You can even study comparisons of time periods such as pre-human existence compared with more recent eras when humans have had a greater impact on the planet.

You can zoom in rapidly from one time period to another, moving through the earth’s history as quickly or slowly as you want. Jeff’s ultimate goal is to help students to understand changes to climate and the driving factors behind those changes. Jeff now uses data included in the tool, derived from ice cores and thermometers, to examine how changes in temperature relate to events in human and pre-human history.

The award-winning, open-source project was a joint effort between Microsoft Research Connections and the University of California, BerkeleyUniversity of Washington; Moscow State University and the Outercurve Foundation. The program integrates images, diagrams, graphs and other elements to help illustrate the changes to our planet.

The program also runs off of Microsoft Azure, making it accessible from anywhere you can access the cloud, and allowing it to operate without requiring new investments in equipment or software.

You can learn more about this project and how UCSB’s Jeff Dozier is integrating the solution into his classroom at The Microsoft Research Connections blog.

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