Visitors to the Cradle of Aviation Museum can now track the effects of climate change on Antarctica, Greenland and polar glaciers using images from NASA satellites thanks to software designed by a Hofstra computer science student.
This multi-themed display is the newest feature of “Climate Change and You,” an exhibit presented by the Cradle and Hofstra University. According to Dr. David E. Weissman, professor of electrical engineering, the addition of this interactive computer kiosk will be a valuable new learning component to the exhibit.
Last winter 2014, when Dr. Weissman was looking for a computer programmer to assist him with the software design for the display, Dr. Simona Doboli, chair of computer science, connected him with senior Adam Seeman ’14. Adam found the project to be an “interesting challenge,” and he worked on the software design all through his final semester and most of the summer. Even though he now has a full-time job as a project designer at Ocrolus, LLC, in Glen Cove, Adam is continuing to collaborate with the museum and Dr. Weissman to make sure the launch of the kiosk goes smoothly.
The “Climate Change and You” exhibit opened in 2011 with the support of a US Dept. of Energy grant and support from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society. It takes up a whole wing on the first floor of the Cradle of Aviation Museum and features ongoing research by a team of Hofstra professors including Dr. Weissman, Dr. J Bret Bennington and Dr. E. Christa Farmer from the Geology Department and Dr. Myla Aronson and Dr. Russell Burke from the Biology Department.
The Hofstra researchers are trying to answer several questions: What will the likely effects of future global climate change be on Long Island ecosystems, such as the Pine Barrens? Can Long Island sediment cores be used to reconstruct a record of the impact of past hurricanes? How can better estimates of air-sea transfer of carbon dioxide be made using cloud-penetrating radar?
The exhibit is also intended to motivate students and encourage interest in the objectives and methods of science.
In addition to the new kiosk, which stands close to the entrance of the exhibit, there are graphic panels and video loops highlighting some of the fundamentals of planet Earth’s climate system as well as overviews of ongoing research and explanations of how observations are conducted.