Television

BBC to launch online interactive initiative Climate Chaos

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC will air shows on the science behind and issues surrounding the hottest topic of the day - climate change.

To launch its Climate Chaos season the BBC - in conjunction with Oxford University and the Open University - is inviting its audience in the UK to participate in the biggest online experiment ever undertaken to predict the future climate of the UK.

By logging on to bbc.co.uk/climatechange viewers will help scientists project possible climate scenarios for the UK up to the year 2080. The first stage of the Climate Chaos season kicks off on 20 February.

BBC Four will air Meltdown, a film in which explorer and presenter Paul Rose shows the effects of global warming in Greenland and tells the story of climate changes in the UK. Paul meets Oxford scientist Myles Allen and learns about his work predicting how the UK's climate will change. At the end of the film Paul invites viewers to participate in the unique experiment by logging on to bbc.co.uk.

Those logging on will be taken by Paul through steps to download a piece of software which connects to a server at Oxford University, and which downloads an individualised version of the Met Office's state-of-the art global climate model.

The climate model will use the computer's spare processing time – when the user is not actively working on it but still has it switched on - to make calculations and produce a possible future climate scenario for the UK. Once the programme is downloaded the user does not have to do anything, the computer does all the work, and uploads data back to Oxford automatically.

Those participating can keep track of what is going on by bringing up graphics that show them what year their individual model has reached, and what the temperature is. They can also set the graphics as a screensaver. ack in Oxford, scientists will collate the results which will be revealed in a follow-up programme in the summer. Participants can join the experiment at any point, even after the programme has transmitted.

A standard off-the-shelf computer takes around three months to run the complete simulation to 2080, but project scientists can make use of runs as short as ten model years, taking only a week or so. The more people participate the more accurate a prediction the scientists will be able to make.

Meltdown will be followed in the same week by Climate Conspiracy or Global Catastrophe? which explores the truth behind global warming headlines. Reports from the Front Line of Global Warming is a series of short eyewitness accounts of living with global warming.

On BBC One, Sir David Attenborough undertakes a personal investigation to discover how global warming is changing our world. In a two-part documentary he scrutinises the evidence and asks crucial questions about how and why global warming is affecting the planet. Panorama investigates the reasons behind President Bush's rejection of the scientific consensus around climate change.

BBC director of television Jana Bennett says, "We know from research that climate change is a subject many viewers are concerned about and regard as a major problem for themselves and the next generation, and yet they also feel that they don't know enough about it. They look to television, in particular, to inform them and help them make sense of it. The Climate Chaos season seeks to engage and inform viewers about climate change, with programmes across our networks in the biggest interactive season of science programmes ever."

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