The Power of the Crowd: An Up Close and Personal Perspective on Planet Earth.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 10:50
3003 (Moscone West)
Waleed Abdalati, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States; Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO, United States
The space-based view of Earth has changed the way we look at our home planet, providing a perspective on the Earth as a system that can only be realized when viewed from a distance. Throughout my career as a researcher, including 2 years as NASA Chief Scientist, this “power of perspective” has been a tool through which I have engaged both colleagues and the public. These capabilities have transformed our understanding of climate and weather phenomena, ecosystem dynamics, changes in the cryosphere, and much more, through their macro-scale look at the various, highly complex components of the Earth system. But within these domains, there is a tremendous amount of small-scale variability that, if appropriately observed, can reveal new information about how elements within the Earth system work in ways that can directly impact people’s lives. Consequently, there is a different power in this additional local perspective: it is one fueled by up-close and personal data collection. Through their engagement and commitment, citizen scientists are providing valuable data as well as personalized experience in the collection of those data. This presentation will include video clips that show a diverse set of citizen science projects in North America and worldwide, illustrating this scientifically useful combination of local and global. Such projects engage citizens and scientists alike in efforts to understand the world in which we live.