Abstract for: Interactive Simulations to Enhance Understanding of Climate Change

Studies show many people, even those with extensive education, have poor understanding of the basic processes involved in global warming and climate change. Building on prior work we describe new interactive management flight simulators that allow individuals to explore these processes themselves. The simulators cover issues such as the stock and flow structure governing the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, the dynamics of the carbon cycle including feedbacks regulating the removal of GHGs from the atmosphere, with explicit consideration of sink saturation and the potential for positive feedbacks to cut net removal through thawing of permafrost, enhanced bacterial respiration and wildfire. The simulators also examine the delays in the response of GHG emissions to changes in policy. We report results of an experimental test of the simulators with highly educated business school students and discuss extensions and future uses.