The World’s Carolyn Beeler spent eight weeks aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker, a research vessel on the first year of a five-year mission to investigate Thwaites Glacier, a massive and rapidly melting glacier previously unstudied by scientists. Beeler published multiple audio and radio pieces over the course of her trip and after her return. For some of them, I worked with a graphic designer to create infographics and maps showing the location of the glacier and how it could become unstable.
One story focused on a research project in which scientists attached sensors to the heads of Weddell and elephant seals as a way to measure water temperatures and salinity at different parts of the water column. This helps track the warm currents that scientists believe are melting the bottom of Thwaites. To help users visualize how the science worked, we built a page where an animated elephant seal follows the user as they scroll down the page and the page displays different data for different depths of the water column. It’s simple, but it’s a different way to explain the story that I think works very well.