Sharing the Importance of Ocean Salinity Beyond the Scientific Community
[26-Feb-2014] deCharon, A.V., Companion, C.J., and Cope, R.E.
Presented at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting
NASA's Aquarius instrument and Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) have given the scientific community unprecedented insight into salinity's role in the earth system. Complementary public engagement efforts have focused on themes of the water cycle, ocean circulation and climate. Resources highlighting salinity's ties to these familiar topics have been disseminated through Aquarius and SPURS workshops and webinars. Fifteen such events have engaged over 400 individuals, including webinar participants in 18 countries. Long-term access to these materials continues via online archives, greatly expanding the reach of the content. Key to the success of these efforts has been the direct involvement of research scientists and engineers. These experts have used interactive concept maps, which "deconstruct" scientific content into simpler graphical formats, as their primary modes of presentation. Working with experienced facilitators to prepare and deliver content using concept maps has provided insights into avoiding jargon, framing research within"big picture" contexts, and honing take-home messages. In addition, post-event audience evaluation data provides valuable feedback on how to effectively share the importance of ocean salinity beyond the scientific community.