The new explainer videos aim to enable players to gain a more in-depth understanding of how ice sheets work

New explainer videos for Antarctic climate change game

A popular game which demonstrates the impact of climate change in Antarctica now has an exciting new feature – explainer videos, narrated by the penguin characters from the game.

Ice Flows’, a free-to-use and interactive game, was developed in 2016 by Dr Anne Le Brocq, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with games developers Inhouse Visuals and Questionable Quality. It was created to help communicate the impact of climate change on the Antarctic Ice Sheet in an accessible way to children and game players of all ages.

Voiced by a group of international scientists, the new explainer videos aim to enable players to gain a more in-depth understanding of how ice sheets work. The videos use real game play to discuss topics including ice shelves, icebergs, climate change and sea level.

Since its launch at the SCAR (Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research) Open Science Conference in Kuala Lumpur, the game has been played by over 15,000 users. The website has had views from all over the world, including many schools and universities.

The game is built on a simple representation of how ice flows in Antarctica and how it responds to changes in the environment - through changes in snowfall and ocean temperature. It allows players to impose climatic changes to control the extent of the ice sheet to guide penguins to fish; if they get it wrong, the penguin may meet its doom in the jaws of a leopard seal.

The aim is to promote understanding of the complexity of the ice sheet system by enabling the player to carry out their own ice sheet model experiments, much like the scientists working on the research. The game has a number of levels representing how different parts of the Antarctic will respond to climate change.

Dr Anne Le Brocq said: “We created Ice Flows to enable people to understand how the Antarctic Ice Sheet responds to changes in climate in a fun and interactive way.”

“The videos explain how ice sheets work in a bit more depth, but link to the game so users can build on their understanding whilst playing. The penguin characters are voiced by a group of international scientists, which made the videos also fun to produce!” 

“The future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will have an impact on many people across the world, so we hope that the videos will enable a range of people to understand and engage with the issues facing the Antarctic Ice Sheet in a warming world.”

The game is funded as part of a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) project led by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The project aims to investigate what may happen in the near-future in the Weddell Sea region of Antarctica and the impact changes here could have on global sea-level.

You can watch the videos on the Ice Flows website, or via the “Ice Flows Game” YouTube channel.  The game is free to play on either the website or via the App Stores.

Date: 21 November 2018

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