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Sharing the Importance of Ocean Salinity Beyond the Scientific Community - 04.03.2015

 Map of participant locations
The red dots depicted here show the distribution of participants during both the SPURS and Aquarius webinar events
In an effort to broaden the reach of ocean salinity research, a series of collaborative webinars was developed in 2013 between COSEE-OS and scientists from both SPURS (Salinity Processes in the Upper ocean Regional Study) and NASA's Aquarius satellite mission. The results from these webinars are presented in the March 2015 issue of Oceanography magazine.

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 Salinity Public Engagement and Communications (SPEC) 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.

Key to the success of these efforts has been the direct involvement of research scientists and engineers. These experts have used interactive concept maps, which "deconstruct" scientific content into simpler graphical formats, as their primary mode of presentation. Preparing materials for webinars is a collaborative and iterative endeavor, which joins scientists and engineers with experienced communication and public engagement staff to produce content that is appropriate for nonscientists.

The webinars are designed to be beneficial for all involved. Participants, presenters, and facilitators each derive benefit from the experience by honing their critical thinking skills. In addition, they have allowed those traditionally not represented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to gain better access to high-quality NASA materials. Post-event audience evaluation data has provided valuable feedback on the impacts of sharing ocean salinity beyond the scientific community.

deCharon, A., C. Companion, R. Cope, L. Taylor (2015). Sharing the Importance of Ocean Salinity Beyond the Scientific Community. Oceanography 28 (1), 134–141, doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2015.16.

To view these collaborative webinars, please visit the SPURS and Aquarius websites!

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