Atmosphere @ Science Museum, London

For 3 months the visitors can discover or re-discover a new gallery atmosphere : exploring climate science. It a new gallery that aims to provide a dedicated space for visitors to deepen their understanding of climate science in an enjoyable, engaging and memorable way. The gallery is divided into five zones, where visitors can explore different areas of climate through a rich variety of interactive exhibits, objects and information.

The atmosphere gallery presents the findings of climate science. These show that the Earth's climate is changing, that human actions are the most likely dominant cause and that a major response is required, both to reduce the likelihood of disruptive climate change to adapt to the change which is already under way. The gallery will illustrate how science and technology can contribute to reducing future human carbon emissions an to making society more resilient to change. It aims to engage and interest those who accept that human-induced climate change is real, as well as those who are unsure and those who do not.

Central Exhibit

The gallery features a multi-user central exhibit that provides a brief snapshot of the gallery's narrative, inviting users to play five fast games ans watch the gallery world respond to their actions.

Other Exhibits

ZONE A - How do scientists know what the Earth's climate was like in the past ?

Like detectives scouring the Earth for clues, scientists gather evidence – or 'proxy data' – from natural recorders of climate variation such as tree rings, ocean sediment cores and fossilised shells. These offer an insight into the climatic forces at play hundreds or millions of years before scientific record keeping began.

ZONE B - When did scientists discover the greenhouse effect and its influence on the climate ?

In the 19th and early 20th centuries a few pioneering scientists investigated the greenhouse effect and its mechanisms. They all had different motives for their studies, but together they laid the foundations of modern climate science.

ZONE C - How do scientists know that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has risen ?

Carbon dioxide is a measurable 'greenhouse gas'. Scientists can determine how much has accumulated I the atmosphere from measurements of air that's up to a million years old, trapped within bubbles in ice cores, and from air samples taken from the 1950s onwards. This gives them a reliable short-and long-term record.

ZONE D - How do scientist know the Earths climate is changing ?

Monitoring long-term climate change depends o the bringing together of highly accurate, comparable ans stable measurements collected from across the globe by a variety of different organisations. No single instrument is used. Thousands of measuring devices are at work on land, at sea, in the air and out in space.

ZONE E – Can science and technology help tackle climate change ?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a socially acceptable way requires scientific and technological ingenuity. Cutting-edge solutions will be both global and local in scale with innovation centred on the key of power generation, transport and energy use.

Interactive exhibits

- The Adaptation interactive quiz allows visitors to explore types of adaptation that are taking around the world and allowing them to see real life case studies

- The Uncertain Adaption exhibit shows how difficult it is to adapt to the future impacts of climate change when the effects are so uncertain. Visitors will use real life data the Environment Agency to instigate a flooding adaptation plan for the Thames and witness the consequences of their emissions.

- Another interactive, Setting the limits allows visitors to understand why and when we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

- The interactive exhibit – The Solutions Already Exist allows visitors to explore some of the solutions that currently exist to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Split into four categories (power, transport, homes/buildings and forests/agriculture) visitors will be able to access case study information fro around the world.

- The Mitigation Planner is an interactive game where visitors attempt to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of a fictional country. The visitor will have to introduce a range of measures to successfully reduce emissions whilst staying within a financial budget and remaining popular.

- The interactive exhibition Life in a low carbon world shows visitors how science and technology may make peoples lives look different in 2050. Based in the UK, the exhibit will follow an average person's daily life, showcasing a range of technologies that may have helped to reduce emissions.

Key Exhibits

- A 700 year old real Antarctic ice corethe first to be on public display in a UK museum. The ice core is considered pivotal by scientists in the study of climate science as the bubbles within the ice core contain ancient atmospheric air.

- A two seater hydrogen fuel cell car from eco transport company Riversimple.

- Guy Callendar's original notebooks – books dated from 1938-1964 detailing temperature records and data collected from all around the world. Callendar found that during the first four decades of the 20th century the Earth's surface temperature had increased by about 0.5°C.

- An energy-harvesting paving slab – a paving slab that lights up when trodden upon. The paying slab helps produce electricity to power bus stop lighting, ticket machines and information panels.

- Hertfordhire Puddingstone – a rare and unusually hard rock associated with a dramatic period of global warming 56 million years ago.

- Life in a Low Carbon World animated video showing how science and technology may shape the world in 2050.

- 'House of Cards' – commissioned artwork by David Shrigley


Science Museum

South Kensington

London SW7 2DD

Open very day from 10am to 6pm except 24 to 26 December. Last entry 5.15pm

Exhibition : Second floor

Suggested duration : 30 minutes

Cost : Free