ESRL Global Systems Division

Brand New Science On a Sphere® Website Now Live

As of Monday, July 2, 2012, the brand new Science On a Sphere® (SOS) website is now live. The SOS Program is administratively and technically housed in ESRL's Global Systems Division/Technology Outreach Branch (GSD/TOB). In addition to a new look and feel for the website, the dataset catalog is now database driven to enable sorting, searching, and easier browsing. Check it out at http://sos.noaa.gov. GSD/TOB's 2012 summer student intern, Irfan Nadiadi, is the primary designer/developer. He has been working diligently on the site and has done a fantastic job pulling it all together. His intern position is being sponsored by Colorado State University's Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA).

SOS is a large visualization system that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data onto the outside of a sphere. It was invented by Dr. Alexander "Sandy" MacDonald, the Director of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, CO and OAR Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes. Dr. MacDonald came up with the concept for SOS in 1995 as an outgrowth of other visualization projects he was directing within the former Forecast Systems Laboratory.

Researchers at NOAA continue to develop and advance SOS as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth system science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.

SOS is a NOAA program that has developed a revolutionary system for educating the public on the holistic nature of Earth's ever-changing oceans, atmosphere, and land. SOS presents NOAA's global science in a new and exciting way by providing an engaging three-dimensional representation of our planet as if the viewer were looking at the Earth from outer space.

SOS extends NOAA's educational program goals, which are designed to increase public understanding of the environment. Using NOAA's collective experience and knowledge of the Earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere, NOAA uses SOS as an instrument to enhance informal educational programs in science centers, universities, and museums across the country and globally. SOS is available to any institution and is currently in operation at over 80 facilities in the United States and around the world.

Contact information
Name: William Bendel
Tel: 303-497-6708
william.b.bendel@noaa.gov