About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 15 March 2022
Manuscript Extension Submission Deadline 14 April 2022

In 2017, the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres stated unequivocally that climate change is an unprecedented and growing threat, and that the arguments for action are clear. Notwithstanding, it has proven a hard challenge to present complex science so that laymen and non-specialists are ...

In 2017, the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres stated unequivocally that climate change is an unprecedented and growing threat, and that the arguments for action are clear. Notwithstanding, it has proven a hard challenge to present complex science so that laymen and non-specialists are convinced. Without developing a deeper affinity towards and trust of science, climate denialism will remain prevalent. To date, climate science is most commonly communicated using texts and still images. Might we gain a deeper understanding and richer appreciation of the data that scientists use to describe large-scale climate change through other means?

Sonification and visualization are processes of data perceptualization that may have either an aesthetic or a utilitarian purpose, or both. Data art is the study, interpretation, and representation of scientific measurements in ways that excite and surprise. As in all human-computer interaction design, it is essential to involve evaluation of output in an iterative process. Multimodal perceptualization hinges on understanding sensory processing, cognitive load, and cross-modal correspondences. While science speaks through words, numbers, and diagrams, art communicates through movement, images, sound, and sculpture. While there is a lot of potential merging the two, the underlying psychological mechanisms connecting different perceptual modalities are still not fully understood. For multimedia design, this is particularly relevant for concurrent sonification and visualization. When exploring such relationships, more challenges arise in terms of psychometrics and ecological validity of the methodologies involved. All such issues need to be addressed by researchers and practitioners of multimodal science communication.

This Research Topic aims to stimulate a renewed look at what artists can do for science, and how scientists can approach art as a means for discovery and communication. It will gather articles dealing with the characterization and systematic translation of climate data into sound, light, and physical form, as well as the design implications for data perceptualisation that aims at effective communication. The focus could either be on theoretical aspects (e.g. interaction between perceptual modalities), methodology (e.g., data harvesting, protocols, translation strategies, evaluation methods), or case studies of concurrent sonification and visualization of climate data.

We welcome a broad range of article types, including: Original Research, Systematic Review, Methods, Review, Mini Review, Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective, Brief Research Report, General Commentary, and Opinion. The aim is to provide both a methodological and theoretical state of the art on the topic.

The Research Topic is connected to DACA, an international hybrid conference on Data Art for Climate Action held in January 2022 in Hong Kong, Graz, Austria, and the Internet. Authors may want to visit the website for up-to-date information, http://dataclimate.org/.

Keywords: climate change, science communication, perceptualization, sonification, visualization, multimodal communication, art & science, data art, aesthetics, climate action


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