Environment

Game shows how things could play out for Antarctica's penguins

Game shows how things could pl...
Get it wrong and the penguins could end up snaffled in the jaws of a leopard seal
Get it wrong and the penguins could end up snaffled in the jaws of a leopard seal
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Get it wrong and the penguins could end up snaffled in the jaws of a leopard seal
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Get it wrong and the penguins could end up snaffled in the jaws of a leopard seal

As the largest mass of ice on Earth, changes to the Antarctic Ice Sheet could have quite an impact on global sea levels. But like so many possible consequences of a changing climate, the mechanics of this are pretty complicated. In an effort to present the dilemma in an engaging and digestible way, scientists have produced an interactive game that hands players the environmental reins and places the lives of Antarctica's penguins at stake.

Called Ice Flows, the game was created by scientists at England's University of Exeter who teamed up with developers as part of a research project investigating the Filchner Ice Shelf system in Antarctica.

Just as a scientists might alter certain environmental factors in modelling experiments to see how the ice sheet is affected, players can control the level of snowfall and sea temperature to shape the habitat of Antarctic penguins and keep them satisfied. This might mean boosting ice levels to allow the penguins to high-five birds, or melting it away so they can feed on fish in the sea. But get it wrong and the penguins could end up being snaffled in the jaws of a leopard seal.

"The response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a changing climate is very complex and, as a result, is difficult to communicate in a clear and understandable way," says Anne Le Brocq, senior lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Exeter. "The use of a game helps not only to visualise the system, but also to provide an immersive environment for the player to fully understand the behaviour of the ice sheet and how it responds to changes in the environment. Hopefully it's fun to play too!".

Ice Flows is free as a smartphone app for iOS or Android devices, or alternatively can be played online in a desktop browser.

Source: University of Exeter

5 comments
Lardo
Okay, so if I manage to keep the ice thick enough to save the penguins... do the leopard seals starve to death?
Lbrewer42
Sounds like an AGW propaganda tool. I hope I am wrong. While the climate is changing, it has been doing so as long as the earth has existed. The global warming lie has made puppets from those who just accept media-tainted data that ignores scientific fact. Those making millions from it laugh. Interested in proof? 7th grade Science lesson here folks: CO2 is called a greenhouse gas b/c it is associated with plants - in hot greenhouses. Scientific problem... Heat in the greenhouse is from the plants using up (removing) the CO2 in the greenhouse to make water vapor, O2, and food for themselves in a process called (remember 7th grade science?) PHOTOSYNTHESIS. The scientific FACT is the water vapor is what makes it hot (ever hear of humidity or the nightly news giving a "heat index" rating based on humidity?) CO2 cannot hold in heat - it is not a property is has. Politicians and kowtowing-to-the-almighty-dollar pseudo-scientists are the ones lying for the sake of money. Quit being a puppet. DO some research on the Hockey Stick graph, the farce behind it, and see the corrected version. Also google "Game Over, the IPCC quietly admits defeat." The IPCC is the global warming "go-to" of the UN that has been compiling reports for the last 15 years. But when the reports are all put together, they had to admit there was no global warming. Read it for yourself instead of being a puppet. The link you will find is not someone making false claims - it is the IPCC data itself.
ljaques
First it was the drowning polar bears, now the penguins? Ah, diversity! Even more proof that the AGWK (anthropomorphic globular swarming kumbaya) folks think that this is all a game. <yawn> And Lbrewer42, if you think the Powers That Be (NASA, NOOA, IPCC, UN, beloved UEA CRU) haven't been fiddlefarting around with the numbers for _decades_, think again. P.S: Somebody tell those U of Exeter folks to look at the other side of Antarctica. While the sheet is melting, the land ice is growing an equal amount. <sigh>
jgb
Yep, just like starcraft shows what could happen to those aliens if we get serious.
N8ers
On the other hand... http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/616356/What-global-warming-Nasa-Antarctic-ice-INCREASING-135BILLION-TONNES-year