As the 2019 Climate Art Fellow, Dr. Nigella Hillgarth spent the summer with the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE) for their SeaSCAPE Experiment. Dr. Hillgarth worked with CAICE researchers to explore the role of atmospheric chemistry and movement of microbes to tell the story of a changing climate and its impact on the earth and its inhabitants.
The art created from this partnership is being utilized to help us better engage with local communities on climate impacts and solutions that can lead to informed decisions that enhance our resilience to climate change impacts.
The Product: Through the Lens of SeaSCAPE
Art inspired by the SeaSCAPE experiment by CAICE
The NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment (CAICE) focuses on improving our understanding of how aerosol particles impact the environment, air quality, and climate. SeaSCAPE (Sea Spray Chemistry And Particle Evolution) brought together over 90 NSF CAICE researchers from 12 institutions. Interdisciplinary teams including chemists, microbiologists, and oceanographers spent their summer working in partnership to understand complex ocean-climate-chemistry interactions which will help us understand how ocean microbes and humans are affecting climate. These images are designed to symbolize the energy and passion of many dedicated scientists as well as the societal importance of the chemistry research.
"The natural world is in turmoil. Climate change and pollution is shattering our world. After a career in science and outreach I now use photography and art to visualize climate change in ways that seize the attention of the public and urge them to learn more. Although the science behind our understanding of climate change is well understood, details of our climate system are still being unraveled. The NSF CAICE SeaSCAPE experiments are designed to understand the complex physical-chemical-biological connections between ocean and atmospheric on our warming and polluted planet. "Following a career as a biologist - first as an academic and then as an administrator - I have now combined my passion for science and the environment with photography and public speaking. I am particularly interested in expressing the environmental issues that face us through images that capture the beauty of our planet but remind us of the enormous problems we have to tackle today. The images in this exhibition are designed to showcase the wonder and achievement of creating breaking waves under controlled conditions in order to understand the biological, physical, and chemical reactions that happen when waves break and relating that back to the open ocean."