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1999-MA8 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 1999

Wide-Screen Animations Bring Earth's Beauty and Wonder to Life

Contact:
David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu
What: "Visualizing Our Planet‹Digital Animations on the Wide Screen." This wide-screen theater program presents some of the latest technology scientists are using to better understand our planet. Visualizations are high-resolution, color animations of scientific data, from views of storms from space to simulations of otherwise invisible phenomena such as ocean circulation and clear air turbulence. Two projectors driven by an SGI Onyx2 InfiniteReality supercomputer will cast images onto a 36-foot wide by 12-foot high screen. The public is invited to this free event for adults and older children.

When: Tuesday, October 12, 1999, 5:30-6:30 p.m. A preview for reporters will be presented on October 4 (see Note to Editors, below)

Where: NIST Auditorium, 325 Broadway, Boulder
Who: Fritz Hasler leads the Earth Science Visualization and Analysis Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Don Middleton heads the Visualization Lab at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. These pioneers in scientific visualization will narrate the show and answer questions. Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), will be master of ceremonies.

Background

"This show will give viewers an opportunity to see firsthand the fascinating and often beautiful visual results of some of today's most important research programs," says Middleton. Visualizations help researchers interpret the state of our planet and how it's changing. The process starts with raw data--usually pages of numbers--generated by computer models or gathered by sensors on the ground, on aircraft, or on satellites. Then researchers use specialized supercomputers to turn the data into animations that give scientists a view they would never see with the numbers alone. "For scientists there's added beauty in the ability to explore and understand the intricate processes hidden in these vast collections of raw data," Middleton says.

The presenters will start with a brief history of planetary visualization, featuring animations of early satellite observations from the 1960s along with climate and storm simulations. Next, will be views of earth as seen from space, including high-resolution visualizations of satellite data gathered from severe storms such as hurricanes Mitch and Georges. Simulations of our present climate and climate change will follow, including aspects of weather, planetary chemistry, ocean circulation, and El Nino, and their potential impacts on ecosystems such as forests and coral reefs. The final segment will venture into forms of clear air, planetary, and solar turbulence. The program will conclude with some thoughts on the future applications of visualization in science, education, entertainment, and the home.

NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation. NCAR is managed by UCAR, a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.

-The End-


Note to Editors: Reporters are invited to a preview of "Visualizing Our Planet--Digital Animations on the Wide Screen," Monday, October 4, 1:30 p.m., at NCAR's Mesa Lab (1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder). The preview will include some 3-D visualizations requiring special eyeglasses that will not be part of the October 12 show. For more information call David Hosansky (303-497-8611).

On the Web: Additional background may be found at http://www.scd.ucar.edu/vg/ Events/1999/UCARBoard1999/index.html.

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
Prepared for the web by Bob Henson

Last revised: Thu Sep 30 08:30 MDT 1999