The Power Of Visualizing Data In Climate Communication w/ Zack Labe

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By Dragos Stefanescu. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode I had the pleasure to speak to Zack Labe - a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth System Science at The University of California Irvine.

Zack's research revolves around the warming of the Arctic region and the degree to which sea ice varies every year. His work is quite popular especially on Twitter particularly because he creates really interesting graphs and GIFs which showcase the science in a visually compelling way that helps drive across the findings of his research.

I wanted to chat to Zack to better understand the dynamics of warming within the Arctic, what the seasonal melting and freezing of sea ice actually means, which factors contribute to sea level rise and essentially how scientists work with climate models to analyse the present situation and try to model the future. We also looked at tipping points which is a hot topic particularly if we cross 2 degrees of warming.

We spoke quite a bit about the power behind visualizing climate science and I'll make sure to link some of Zack's work in the show notes.

To me this conversation shed a ton of light on what scientists do day-to-day, how we can interpret their work and how important it is to understanding the extent to which people are already affected by climate change.

ZACK'S RELEVANT LINKS

Twitter Profile - https://twitter.com/ZLabe

Website - https://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/

TIMECODES

3:55 - His Background & How He Became a Climate Scientist

11:54 - How The Arctic Warming & Sea Ice Variations Affect The Rest Of The World

16:01 - Tipping Points In The Arctic

22:32 - What Factors Lead To Overall Sea Level Rise?

24:32 - How Climate Models Work & His Interest In Visualizations

38:14 - How People In The Arctic Are Already Affected By Climate Change

42:26 - Science Vs Business vs Politics vs Society

RESOURCES DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE

Earth system science - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_system_science

The impact of Arctic warming on the midlatitude jetstream: Can it? Has it? Will it? - https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/43094399.pdf

Some of Zack's first Twitter graphs - https://twitter.com/ZLabe/status/732325142383091712

https://twitter.com/ZLabe/status/752884095210827776

Zack's most viral tweet - https://twitter.com/ZLabe/status/967838618252320768

And his hometown newspaper covering it - https://www.pennlive.com/news/2018/02/harrisburg-area_scientist_is_b.html

Multiple line graphs - https://twitter.com/ZLabe/status/1194296254240415746

Ed Hawkins' stripes - https://showyourstripes.info/

Ed Hawkins' climate spiral - https://twitter.com/ed_hawkins/status/1136208796810960897?lang=en

29 episodes