The New York Film Academy partnered with California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for a global warming research project. To provide visual arts students with a genuine experience in scientific research, the Academy collaborated with CSUN to conduct an experiment that investigated the effects of global warming on the topography of Southern California’s natural vegetative regions. This was accomplished by launching two meteorological weather balloons containing sensitive scientific instruments and cameras over Southern California desert regions.
The mission was dual fold:
- Investigate vegetation in southern California, compare with past images taken from satellites as part of the US Geological Survey, which contains satellite images of locations throughout the U.S. and investigate any visible change in the pattern of growth of natural vegetation due to warming climates.
- Use IR images and compare with visible light images to obtain a relative index of moisture content in soil. Compare with past data.
Students were confronted with challenges that they might not face on a daily basis. In order to launch the balloons, they had to learn concepts of engineering design and the scientific method as well as the realities of climate change.
This project is a prime example of how arts and science can work hand in hand to provide data to scientists and useful, understandable information to people who aren’t as well-versed in science. The data collected through this partnership enabled scientists to measure the effects of the drought in California while also giving clear and evident proof of the effects of climate change.