Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 7, 2009


Visitors to the U.S. Center at the 15th Annual Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen this week will be greeted by the Center’s dynamic centerpiece, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Science on a Sphere (SOS). The visually-compelling, six-foot computer-driven globe is one of more than 40 such spheres used in science museums and other academic institutions around the world as an educational and outreach tool to demonstrate the environmental processes of planet Earth.

On Tuesday, December 8 at 7:15 pm Copenhagen local time (UTC/GMT+1), NOAA and the U.S. Department of State will conduct a SphereCast beamed to Science on a Sphere locations in the U.S. and overseas. The 60-minute presentation will be led by the Sphere’s inventor, Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacDonald, director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colorado. The SphereCast will also be webcast live via the Department’s dedicated COP-15 website: www.cop15.state.gov.

Institutions receiving the SphereCast include: Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, CA; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL; Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Dayton, OH; Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD ; The Wildlife Experience, Parker, CO ; The Alaska State Museum, Juneau, AK ; Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN ; James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA ; Fiske Planetarium, Boulder, CO ; Heureka, The Finnish Science Center, Vantaa, Finland ; and NOAA ESRL, Boulder, CO.

Dr. MacDonald will present an overview of Earth’s climate and how human activities are rapidly altering the natural atmospheric and oceanic systems. His presentation features global data sets gathered by Earth-observing satellites and model simulations of the climate system. These data sets provide fascinating insights for non-scientists.

In addition to the SphereCast, the Science on a Sphere will have multiple uses in the U.S. Center during the two-week conference. Once a day, scientists from various U.S. government agencies will conduct short, live presentations for Center attendees, followed by a question and answer period. Throughout each day, the Sphere will also show pre-recorded documentary-style films produced by NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy and partnering science museums.

The SphereCast will also be available through the U.S. Center’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/usdos.cop15. Information on the SphereCast can also be found on NOAA’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NOAA.Lubchenco#/scienceonasphere?ref=ts.



PRN: 2009/1239