Sunday, October 4, 2009

The iPhone app that shows climate change

The iPhone is a great commercial success for Apple. The phone has mesmerized users all over the world, and become the corner-store for a smartphone that is well designed, provides what users want, and most noticeably, provides a platform for 3rd party apps that can extend the various functions available to users. The App Store allows developers to create apps and have them in front of users, whether these Apps be free or purchasable, and the number of apps that have been downloaded is an ever increasing number. The Apps cover a huge gamut of areas, whether these be news, business usage, games, cool gadgets, useless stuff, sports, and so on.
A different topic; that of global warming. Global warming is a phenomenon that is progressing at a rapid pace, and human efforts to put a brake on emissions are really not up to the mark; developed countries that have contributed to the problems in the most significant ways do not want to take measures that will harm their economies, unless developing countries take similar steps. Developing countries want to make sure that the contributor pays the maximum, and do not want to get strung by tough climate norms without exacting all the possible help they can (even though it is developing countries that will be hit harder by the impacts of global warming).
Some of the impacts of global warming are:
- Glaciers receding and carrying less water
- Water levels rising due to melting of polar and Greenland ice caps
- Atmospheric temperatures rising
These are just an indicative list.
Well, visitors to the Swiss Alps can now get to evaluate the results of global warming on an iPhone (link to article):

As these rivers of ice retreat back up the valleys they carved out, so scientists' knowledge of climate change advances, in turn helping us recognize the signs of a warming world. Now a new iPhone app is helping visitors to the Swiss Alps understand how climate change is altering the landscape. Developed by the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern in Switzerland and Swiss software company, Texetera, the Jungfrau Climate Guide is an interactive guide to glaciers and climate change.
For a fee of 20 CHF (around $19) visitors to the Jungfrau Alpine region can hire an iPhone loaded with the app. "For example," Meuli explained, "if you are standing in front of a glacier you will be told why it is no longer as big and provided with images of what it looked like 100 years ago, and what it might look like in the future."

Such an App can be very interesting to the user. They provide information that a tourist seeks in terms of tourists tracks, information about flora and fauna, and also provides information about how global warming has changed the levels of glaciers. As you get more Apps that cover changes in weather patters, track storm patterns and sea levels, people will be more aware.