Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times, and the polar regions are “early-warning” regions for the steadily progressing changes. The Arctic is now warming at three to four times the global rate, showing how urgently needed and indispensable resolute climate protection measures are.
The information and data portal meereisportal.de was launched in 2013 to offer a suitable, up-to-date source for interested members of the public, but also for a diverse range of target groups including politicians, the media, business community, schoolchildren and university students. Being aware of the ongoing changes and having access to straightforward information, maps and graphics is the prerequisite for taking science-based action. This has been the SEA ICE PORTAL’s proclaimed goal from the outset, and it has constantly evolved in pursuit of that goal.
“As the first German-language web portal on sea ice, the SEA ICE PORTAL now attracts 25,000 – 30,000 visitors a month, making an important contribution to knowledge transfer,” says Dr Renate Treffeisen, Head of the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Climate Office and co-founder of the portal. Starting in 2007, she developed the portal together with Dr Klaus Grosfeld, Managing Director of the Helmholtz Climate Initiative “Regional Climate Change and Humans” (REKLIM), drawing on support from the AWI Computing Centre and the Remote Sensing of the Polar Regions Department at the University of Bremen’s Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP). The initial goal was to create a data portal that would offer sea-ice-related data in the form of raw data and maps alike.
REKLIM and the Climate Office subsequently expanded the portal, adding information and “learn more” sections, which offer the latest information on the sea-ice development in both hemispheres, together with a broad range of background information on sea-ice research. In 2013, meereisportal.de went online. “This knowledge platform represents a continually evolving information source that fulfils the goal of modern research – namely, to arrive at new knowledge and to make it available in a range of target-group-specific formats,” says Klaus Grosfeld, explaining the portal’s purpose.
Dr Marcel Nicolaus, a sea-ice physicist and contributor to the portal, adds: “The SEA ICE PORTAL does an excellent job of presenting our research, in all its diverse facets, to the rest of the world. My colleagues and I are delighted that our data and findings will be even more clearly structured and easier to access at the relaunched portal. The SEA ICE PORTAL is also a favourite platform for us researchers, and one that we frequently – and with a bit of pride – cite.”
With the relaunch, meereisportal.de has integrated modern science communication tools in order to continue its successful track record in knowledge transfer. The portal has been fundamentally restructured in keeping with the latest communication methods, and target-group-specific services and areas – e.g. in the “learn more” section, which offers information for beginners and those looking for in-depth data alike – have been added. All maps and graphics now feature a uniform, cleaner and clearer design; in addition, they are all downloadable free of charge for non-commercial use. They are now accompanied by a new collection of nearly 100 infographics that introduce readers to the world of science. “Redesigning the website has taken an incredible amount of work, which we successfully tackled hand in hand with the media agency wilhelm innovative medien gmbh,” says Renate Treffeisen, describing the relaunch. In addition, countless colleagues have supported the process by contributing to workshops, providing content and sharing their expertise. “A true group effort that has brought together so many people, the result is an appealing information platform that’s fun to explore and sparks user’s curiosity to learn more,” adds Klaus Grosfeld. The new portal will have the chance to prove its value in the months and years to come. Further additions are planned for early March. So be sure to check back regularly! After all, one thing is clear: climate change is here to stay. As such, spreading science-based information on the current state of our planet can help us all make the right choices for a more sustainable, climate-friendlier world!
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