Climate Feedback

Vulcan minds meld with Google

Cross-posted from The Great Beyond

climate map.jpgLucky American readers can now get an instant carbon-guilt trip, all courtesy of Google and NASA.

Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, with funding from NASA, have shoehorned a wealth of data on carbon dioxide emissions into the interactive globe tool that is Google Earth. It’s a timely move, given that the Environmental Protection Agency seems to be preparing to regulate carbon dioxide for the first time (NY Times) and NASA is about to launch its Orbiting Carbon Observatory (Nature Reports Climate Change).

The data for this new addition to Google Earth comes from the Vulcan system which graced this blog last year (see: ‘Vulcan’ shows carbon dioxide’s death-grip – April 08, 2008).

“From a societal perspective, Vulcan provides a description of where and when society influences climate change through fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions,” says researcher Kevin Gurney of Purdue (press release).

“Users can see their county or state in relation to others, and see what aspects of economic activity are driving fossil-fuel emissions. Vulcan could help demystify climate change and empower people in the same way as seeing the miles-per-gallon number on the dashboard of a hybrid car.”

At the moment this is limited just to the United States, although Canadian and Mexican versions are being prepared. There is not a whisper though of ‘Project Hestia’, the global version of Vulcan that is supposedly in the works.

More coverage

Google Earth maps carbon dioxide emissions – LA Times

Scientists map CO2 emissions with Google Earth – AFP

Boilermappers: Purdue Researchers Put Emissions on Google Earth – WSJ

Daniel Cressey

Image: Purdue University/Google Earth


Comments are closed.