Technology 2 min read

Using VR Simulations to Show People Effects of Climate Change

Climare researchers in Maryland are using VR simulations to show residents of a Baltimore community how the rising sea-level could affect their community.

franz12 | Shutterstock.com

franz12 | Shutterstock.com

Climate planners are using VR simulations to show communities the effect of climate change.

The global rise in temperature comes with disastrous consequences that endanger the survival of the ecosystem.

One terrible impact of climate change is the melting ice mass in the poles, which in turn causes a rise in sea level. As a result, the coastal regions are threatened with a flood, and small island states risk disappearing.

For these reasons, among others, many have described global warming as the biggest threat to the planet. However, not everyone shares this sentiment.

According to Pew Research, about 20 percent of the world considers global warming a minor threat. Meanwhile, another 9 percent say it’s not a threat at all.

So, why don’t we care more about climate change?

It’s simple: climate change is a slow-moving threat. As humans, we’re wired to respond to immediate personal threats.

That’s where a Virtual Reality headset comes in.

Using VR Simulations to Make the Climate Change Threat Personal

Now a team of climate researchers in Maryland has figured out a way to conceptualize the problem on an individual level. Using VR simulations, they’re showing residents how the rising sea-level could affect their community.

According to NPR, the project is part of an educational outreach effort in Turner Station, a historic African American community southeast of Baltimore.

The VR simulations combine of 3D modeling, drone footage, local elevation, and topographical maps. That way, the residents could get an immersive picture of why an upcoming urban planning project to control flooding is necessary.

We often talk about sea-level rise as a far-off event. However, some regions of the world, including Maryland, are already experiencing the effect.

NPR reports that sea-level rise in the state of Maryland could be as high as 7 feet by the end of the century. While Turner Station has experienced flooding in the past, it seems to have increased in recent years.

Aside from helping people visualize the impact of climate change, the VR simulations could also start a conversation. People can start talking about a solution, and the trade-offs between them, one of the program developers, told NPR.

Read More: How Bacteria Contribute More to Climate Change

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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