Clouds above, clouds below
Clouds above, clouds below is a project that explores the entanglements between digital and physical clouds. It is the experimental outcome of a 3 month research project into climate science and data. As collected on our website, cloudsabove.us, we made a book and a visualisation to express our project. The book presents the 8 topics we uncovered in our research into climate and data visualisation. The visualisation expresses what we found when we went deeply into the connections between atmospheric and digital clouds.
The visualisation is built using d3.js and runs off of a custom dataset created to track the interconnections between clouds, CO2, global warming, tipping points, and the implications that those elements have for our digital infrastructure. We used methods of futurescaping, systems thinking and data visualisation to capture and express the research we pursued.
Clouds are the last and least known element in modeling just how hot our earth will get in the near future. Clouds are also elements that travel across space and time and touch every human and nonhuman life. However big or small, they start cascades in our present and future climates. So our future climate is connected to the deeply complex structures of clouds - but it is just as connected to “the cloud”, as it describes our digital infrastructure.
The digital cloud generates positive feedback loops all the way around back up to clouds again through "data warming". As clouds and their impacts on our current environment move, how will the digital infrastructures - from internet cables threatened by flooding to server farms heating - be impacted? And how does our reliance on digital clouds potentially impact our ability to know what (real) clouds will do now and in the future?
Date: Fall 2020 - 2021
Details: Project website
Role: Researcher, designer, developer.
Collaborators: Martin Christensen & Susanne van den Heuvel
Umbrella: Visualising Sustainability research programme at The Royal Danish Academy