Staff News

National Geographic spotlights NCAR scientists

Six staffers featured in new climate videos

June 9, 2014 | What do Jerry Meehl and Sherlock Holmes have in common? The answer can be found within a series of short science videos on climate change that debuted on the National Geographic website in April. The first batch includes Jerry (NESL/CGD) explaining how being a scientist is like being a detective. The three-minute segment combines sound bites with animated clips to explain the factors behind recent global temperature trends. Mark Serreze (National Snow and Ice Data Center) describes the polar vortex and its impacts in the other inaugural segment (watch on YouTube).

The series is produced by Earth Vision Trust, a Boulder-based organization that describes its mission as inspiring "a balanced relationship with the natural environment through the fusion of innovative art and science."

NCAR scientist Gerald "Jerry" Meehl discusses the evidence for global warming. (Produced by Earth Vision Trust.) On the National Geographic website, the video appears as part of a news story (Science Behind the "Global Warming Pause") and in their Short Film Showcase (Has Global Warming Stopped or Slowed?). The National Geographic website reaches four million video viewers a month, according to EVT.

EVT is led by James Balog, the founder of the Extreme Ice Survey, who was profiled in the film Chasing Ice. The trust has applied for nonprofit status, and its board includes a scientist familiar to many in our organization, Koni Steffen (the former director of the NOAA/CU Boulder Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences).

The EVT production team approached David Hosansky (NCAR/UCAR Media Relations) last summer about a series of videos they were developing for an all-ages audience about climate change and its impacts. David worked with the team to identify NCAR scientists who could explain a particular aspect of climate briefly, in lay terms, in the format they were looking for, who were also potentially available within the team's timetable. Together they came up with a list of six candidates.

"Amazingly, the EVT team was able to come to us and film all six on the same day," David says. "I can't remember the last time we were able to get that many schedules to align."

In addition to Jerry, videos featuring Joanie Kleypas (NESL/CGD), Olga Wilhelmi (RAL), Mary Hayden (RAL) , and Carl Schmitt (NESL/MMM) are in the works. We'll post them to Staff News as they become available.

"I always appreciate the time our scientists take to work on projects like this," David says. "It's a great opportunity to help communicate our research to a wide audience."