SCIENCE EDUCATION USING A CLIMATE-FICTION THRILLER

Kathryn A Kelly, Univ of Washington (retired), Seattle, WA, United States and LuAnne Thompson, University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Seattle, WA, United States
Abstract:
Many high quality and compelling documentaries are available to educate the public about ocean and climate science. Their reach may be limited by an orchestrated distrust of experts, disinformation campaigns or a simple preference for fictional stories. To educate a broader audience about climate change, we have created a climate-fiction ("cli-fi") web series political thriller. Our series is titled "An Unlikely Insurgency" [website www.AnUnlikelyInsurgency.com]. Our goal is to reach an audience that is aware of climate change, but may be unaware of the need to keep politics out of science and to maintain our climate observation system.

In contrast to Hollywood-style efforts to create cinematic tension by scientifically unrealistic disaster scenarios, we create a compelling fictional narrative with realistic applications of climate science: the story is fiction, the science is real. Our theme is the potential disastrous consequences of political interference in climate science. The fiction is the sabotage of a sea level satellite, implicating an evil politician and oil companies; the consequence is a botched hurricane forecast with politicians blaming scientists. Scientific concepts brought out by the characters include: the components of sea level rise, the ocean's role in climate, the connection of ocean warming to the strength of hurricanes, the contribution of satellite observations to climate science and the close link between climate observations and weather forecasting.

Come watch an episode or two.