Science Meetings

Broadly Sharing the Importance of Ocean Salinity
deCharon, A., Companion, C., Cope, R., and Taylor, L. (11-Nov-14)

NASA's Aquarius instrument and Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) have given the scientific community unprecedented insight into salinity's role in the earth system. Synergistic efforts by the University of Maine-based public engagement team have focused on themes of the water cycle, ocean circulation and climate. Resources highlighting salinity's ties to these familiar topics have been disseminated through Aquarius and SPURS webinars and workshops. The direct involvement of research scientists and engineers has been key to the success of these endeavors, collaboratively working with experienced communicators to produce content that is appropriate for nonscientists.

Deconstruction in various forms, from mapping out complex science to simplifying visual materials, has been instrumental in aiding audience understanding of salinity science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts. As a result, classroom educators and their students have been given direct access to innovative STEM content, cost-free software, and vetted learning resources. Moreover, these audiences have acquired insights into the critical thinking used by scientists and engineers to solve real-world problems.

By transitioning from in-person workshops to webinars, Aquarius and SPURS communication teams have reached broad audiences. English- and Spanish-language webinar events directly engaged 511 people in 38 U.S. states/territories and 13 non-U.S. countries, 8 of which are located in Central or South America. Argentina had the highest percentage (41%) of non-U.S. participation, likely because NASA's salinity sensor, Aquarius, is onboard SAC-D, which was built and is operated by Argentina's Space Agency (CONAE). The webinars' videos and archived pages have been viewed over 22,700 times by people in almost 80 countries, providing long-term access and greatly expanding the reach of salinity-related content.