GradImpact: Using Satellite Data Images of the Arctic to Teach the Public about Climate Change

    Zachary Labe, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine, has become a bit of a Twitter celebrity because of his satellite data images on Arctic sea ice. Labe sees the ability to communicate his research to a broad, public audience as imperative to the success of his work. With almost 14,000 followers, Labe has demonstrated that there is a public eager to learn.


    Labe’s primary research happens in Dr. Gudrun Magnusdottir’s Modeling Lab on UCI’s campus. Their focus is to better understand the crucial relationships between the circulation patters in the atmosphere and oceans and the external processes that affect them. These outside forces include things like concentration of greenhouse gases, variability from volcanic eruptions, or anomalies in the surface temperatures of the water. This research is particularly important given the accelerated rate of temperature increase in the Arctic – it’s twice what it is in the rest of the world.


    “The way I see it, why should I do this science if I can’t better explain and share it with the public?” says Labe, who wrote his own algorithms for the data. “Climate change is already affecting everyone, even if they don’t realize it, and this is a perfect opportunity to communicate the science.” To learn more about Zack’s work, visit the University of California, Irvine website.


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.


    Photo Credit: Steve Zylius / UCI



    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


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