Science Museum to Open Climate Science Gallery

The Science Museum in London, has announced new details of ‘atmosphere: exploring climate science’ the new climate science gallery opening in November 2010.

‘atmosphere’ will provide a dedicated space for Science Museum visitors to deepen their understanding of climate science in an enjoyable, engaging and memorable way. It will include interactive exhibits and a variety of objects to explain how the climate system works, to show how scientists study the system and to summarise the current state of knowledge about the climate.

The Science Museum will use its long-established expertise in science communication to provide information on climate science for everyone, no matter their level of prior knowledge. Visitors to ‘atmosphere: exploring climate science’ will be able to investigate:

• An immersive “gallery world” with its own atmosphere and landscapes. These beautiful, dynamic elements are inter-connected and programmed to respond to visitors’ game-play in ways which imitate the Earth’s complex system.
• Five “story zones” each using imaginative and engaging hands-on exhibits to explore different aspects of climate science, including; the source of the Earth’s climatic zones; the way greenhouse gases affect the Earth’s energy balance; and the way humans have altered the carbon cycle.
• A flight spare Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer used to detect sea surface temperature from space alongside objects such as a tree ring sample and a stalagmite sample, used by scientists to unravel the secrets of Earth’s past climate.
• Historical perspectives on climate science including the work of pioneers such as John Tyndall, the first scientist to comprehend the link between greenhouse gases and global warming through laboratory experiments.
• The information and methods climate scientists use today to assess what is happening to the climate now and what the future may hold as well as examples of technologies that can help us reduce the likelihood and magnitude of climatic change and cope with the effects of changes already occurring.
• A contemplative space where visitors can access more detail on the topics that interest them and express their own thoughts on climate science.

Prof. Chris Rapley CBE, Director of the Science Museum, said:

“The Earth’s climate system is complex, interconnected and sensitive to small disturbances. It has varied widely in the past on many timescales and due to many factors. Modern society depends on the climate system we inherited, for example, for food and water supplies as well as a stable sea level, so human impacts on climate need to be taken very seriously. Understanding what the science is telling us is crucial to making the right decisions, given the need to balance major costs and risks. Our aim is that ‘atmosphere’, the new climate science gallery, will provide our visitors with accurate, up-to-date information on what is known, what is uncertain, and what is not known about this hugely important subject, and the ways that science, technology and industry can contribute to a positive future. Our supporters for this gallery come from a range of sectors, including energy, government and charitable trusts. I am proud that they share our vision to deepen understanding of the science behind climate change.”

This new Science Museum gallery will present the findings of climate science. These show that the Earth’s climate is changing, that human actions are the most likely dominant cause and that a major response is required, both to reduce the likelihood of disruptive climate change and to adapt to the change which is already under way. ‘atmosphere’ will illustrate how science and technology can contribute to reducing future human carbon emissions and to making society more resilient to change. The exhibition aims to engage and interest those who accept that human-induced climate change is real, as well as those who are unsure and those who do not.

‘atmosphere: exploring climate science’ and the extended climate science programme has been made possible by support from principal sponsors Shell and Siemens, major funder the Garfield Weston Foundation, and with additional support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Patrons of the Science Museum.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December

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