Climate change data is difficult to wrap your head around, even when it is your job. LANDIS-II is a modelling tool that was created by researchers at universities in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina in 2019 to effectively visualize complex climate data. Data that goes into creating climate change scenarios, like temperature and precipitation metrics, are often represented in 2D by way of charts and graphs. Typically, data are brought together to form a climate scenario that is described in words and complex analysis and not necessarily shown. The impact of those representations, in the view of the LANDIS-II developers, is confusion and detachment. LANDIS-II model provides that fuller picture by integrating ecological modelling, analytical modelling, and procedural modelling to create a VR experience that displays different climate change scenarios in the forests of northern Wisconsin. Researchers can put in a multitude of relevant variables, like average temperature, ocean temperature, precipitation, and location, helping LANDIS-II create a VR model for that given environment. In northern Wisconsin, researchers had access to a database on tree species, the region, and their preferred habitat and created VR experiences that showed how those trees could be impacted by different climate change scenarios (eg: 1 or 2 degrees Celsius warmer than the current average). The visual experience is both an effective tool for researchers to see their data interact, as well as a good educational tool for the public to have a nearly tangible glimpse into the future. LANDIS-II does require a great deal of input data in order to be effective, which could be challenging for areas that are less studied. However, LANDIS-II still represents a bold leap forward in climate modelling, bringing researchers clarity with top-tier data and the public closer to the issue.


Climate Change, Data, Ecological Modelling, Immersive Technology, Lifestyle