“Science and information for a climate-smart nation.” That’s the tagline on NOAA’s rockstar website, Climate.gov, and it’s an appropriate one. The site has been attracting widespread attention for its clean presentation and accessible explanations of climate science, serving as a valuable resource for scientists, decision makers, and the general public.
INNOVIM employees have been supporting Climate.gov for years so we were extra-thrilled when the site was recognized with two Webby awards for “best government” and “green” (environmental) sites and a People’s Voice award for best “green” site. Launched in 2010, the site underwent a makeover about a year ago, concurrent with social media campaign kickoffs on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
“What excites me is that I have opportunity to work with diverse team of scientists, developers and science communicators. And every one is open to ideas which are out of the box,” says INNOVIM’s Sudhir Shrestha, a major contributor to Climate.gov and one of the Webby awardees. “I always think and worry about improving the data and products access and interoperability which can help the users to find the information they are looking for without much of pain.”
He and his colleagues have done a great job, as is apparent as soon as you land on the home page. “I think the reason we won this year was the quantity and quality of climate information dissemination,” Shrestha says. “This portal is easy to use and easy to find the information you are looking for.”
Shrestha isn’t the only INNOVIM employee making sure that people have the climate information they need in a few easy clicks. This year, Emily Becker and Tom DiLiberto became founding members of the Climate.gov El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) blog. “The topic of ENSO is integrated into the global climate system, and, as such, the blog will likely expand to include other phenomena,” explains Becker. Already they’ve discussed the impacts of El Niño and the science behind probabilistic forecasting. If you don’t know what ENSO is, not to worry – they’ve covered that too, in a May 5th post:
Though ENSO is a single climate phenomenon, it has three states, or phases, it can be in. The two opposite phases, “El Niño” and “La Niña,” require certain changes in both the ocean and the atmosphere because ENSO is a coupled climate phenomenon. “Neutral” is in the middle of the continuum.
The team has drawn inspiration from blogs like Capital Weather Gang and Jeff Master’s WunderBlog in this experiment and reminds their audience that, while they’ll try to be sure to define terms, we have to cut them a bit of slack as excited climatologists: “Remember, we are nerds,” they tell us in their introductory post.
For her part, Becker is looking forward to digging ever deeper into the mysteries of ENSO and taking her audience with her. “As the blog grows, we’ll provide historical context for some of the physical phenomena that are observed during ENSO development,” says Becker. “We’ll write about how climate models represent El Niño and La Niña, and discuss some of the metrics used to measure El Niño.”
INNOVIM is proud to be a part of the remarkable work these scientists have undertaken.