The 'art' of predicting climate conditions

In a bid to acquaint the public with climate science, artist Rachel Jacobs has designed an interactive machine that prints out personalised 'climate fortunes'.

IANS| Updated: Oct 13, 2014, 18:53 PM IST

London: In a bid to acquaint the public with climate science, artist Rachel Jacobs has designed an interactive machine that prints out personalised 'climate fortunes'.

Unveiled at the Loughborough University in Britain, her Prediction Machine is inspired by fortune telling machines and tracks moments of climate change and then gives climate predictions based on the weather now and scientists' predictions for the future.

"It is notoriously difficult but also increasingly vital to engage the public with complex scientific issues and scientific data," Jacobs pointed out.

"My research looks at how artists can play an important role in engaging the public with climate data, stimulating and shaping debate around the major science issues of our time," she added.

The Prediction Machine combines data received by Loughborough's own weather station with aggregated global climate and storm data alongside forecasts made by local residents.

To work the machine, visitors turn a hand crank which makes videos appear on the screen and they then pull a lever to print out their prediction.

A sign at the top of the machine then lights up, its intensity based on the live temperature feed from the weather station. If an extreme weather situation occurs, the sign will pulsate.

"The machine is a cross between a TV weather forecast, a fortune teller and the TARDIS," Jacobs explained.

TARDIS - Time and Relative Dimension in Space - is a time machine and spacecraft in a British science fiction television programme.

When the hand crank is used, the screen powers on and ghostly faces appear.

Precipitation, temperature and wind speed all break up the video, so the more extreme the weather, the harder it is to hear and see the message.