October 1, 2010
Aquarium’s Ocean Science Center to feature new technology from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
September 30, 2010—Long Beach, CA. The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific broke ground today and revealed renderings of its next major project opening in summer 2011. The Ocean Science Center will feature an immersive exhibit area for exploring ocean phenomena and the many ways societies depend on the World Ocean. The focus of the experience is NOAA Science on a Sphere (SOS)®, a six-foot global display that combines new technology to take visitors on a journey across the world to explore the atmosphere, ocean, and continents.
Imagine looking at Earth from space, learning how maritime trade and ports impact our lives, or seeing what impact sea level rise and coastal flooding will have on coastal communities where you or your loved ones live or work. “Science on a Sphere will enable our visitors to see our ocean planet in a whole new way. They’ll explore how phenomena, both natural and human-mediated, will impact their personal lives in the future,” said Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president & CEO. The Aquarium’s new Ocean Science Center is being made possible by NOAA Office of Education, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, EDI, and NOAA Coastal Services Center.
The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Science on the Sphere system can be programmed to tell different stories. The first story will focus on climate change and sea level rise, and the second will focus on the ports and maritime trade. Both stories will be shown daily on a rotation starting in late May. Four video projectors will display satellite images and videos onto the six-foot diameter sphere. The new exhibit will utilize advanced technology provided by NOAA coupled with local stories told on high-definition plasma screens surrounding the globe.
“While climate change is an issue of major concern to the public, many don’t understand its connection to the ocean. We hope this exhibit will help change that,” said Barbara Long, Aquarium of the Pacific VP of special projects. Humans are now a powerful force driving changes in the Earth’s climate system. The ocean has absorbed 50 percent of carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels, impacting marine life and committing us to a warmer world with sea level rise and more powerful storms. More than half of the world’s population already lives within 50 miles of the coast. Through the sea level rise presentation, visitors will get to see how predicted rises in sea level and associated coastal flooding may affect these communities, and they can speak with Aquarium staff to learn what they can do to reduce impacts and to adapt.
During their visit to the Aquarium, guests can return to the Ocean Science Center for a second show on international maritime trade and ports. Over 90 percent of all freight travels by sea, and the Science on a Sphere will show international trade routes. “Without the ocean, many of the products that surround you would not have gotten to your home. We hope to create an exciting experience that will show how important our ports and trade are to our daily lives,” said Schubel. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles account for almost 40 percent of all of the imports and exports shipped to and from the U.S. “The primary objective of Science on a Sphere is to illustrate our connections to the ocean through a dynamic and immersive visitor learning experience. We hope to help people understand the important role the ocean plays in their lives and how they can make a difference,” said Schubel. This interactive exhibit will be available in English and Spanish. Admission to the new Ocean Science Center gallery will be included with general Aquarium admission.