Yesterday, June 21, The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) unveiled its newest effort in the fight to curtail human-caused global warming: an interactive ‘Climate Hot Map Scavenger Hunt’. The Climate Hot Map both educate s and entertains as it stimulates the user’s curiosity to sift clues and scavenge for answers. What’s more, completing the scavenger hunt qualifies you for a chance to win the fabulous Grand Prize: an Earthwatch Institute trip for two to assess climate impacts in Rio Cachoeira Natural Reserve in Brazil!
Taking the superficial form of a multiple choice quiz (with key photos), players can refer to the interactive map (courtesy of NASA TerraMetrics) that offers pop-up profiles of various ‘hot spots’ (these are climate change hot spots, not to be confused with biodiversity hot spots), and then match the spot to the correct answer. To sweeten the fun, users get an additional entry into the Grand Prize drawing for each correct answer! In addition, five runners-up will receive a Solio Mono Hybrid Solar Charger— “great for traveling or at home to charge your cell phone or MP3 player using the power of the sun.”
The Hot Map references five categories or areas of concern: People, Freshwater, Oceans, Ecosystems, Temperatures, with each main category possessing several metrics or factors (like food, water use, extreme wet/dry, ocean chemistry) which the user can check/uncheck to see the impacts on various locations around the globe; each hot spot represents a place where climate scientist have found evidence of climate change/global warming impacts.
The Hot Map will be updated regularly as well to reflect current research findings and analyses. Adding an additional social-political element to the interactivity, the pop-up profiles offer quick ‘take action’ links to a United Nations petition site.
“Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases.” –Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007
According to the website:
“The evidence of climate change includes heat waves, sea-level rise, flooding, melting glaciers, earlier spring arrival, coral reef bleaching, and the spread of disease.
The greatest concentration of global warming indicators on the map is in North America and Europe because that is where most scientific investigation has been done to date. As scientists focus increasingly on fingerprints of global warming in other regions—from Russia to Antarctica and Oceania to South America—the evidence they find will be added to the map.
Scientists project that unless emissions of heat-trapping gases are brought under control, the impacts of climate change are likely to increase.”
To sign up (free) and get scavenging, visit the Climate Hot Map Scavenger Hunt site, or, if you’d rather just play around with the map for your own edification and entertainment, check out the Climate Hot Map anytime.The Map is also viewable in Google Earth.
Oh, and it’s a great tool to help you challenge those climate change skeptics!