A virtual glacier
An online tool shows how Earth systems respond to changes.
The Virtual Earth System Laboratory (VESL) is an online tool produced by NASA that gives access to detailed models of several Earth system processes, such as glacier evolution, ice sheet responses to climate change, and sea level rise.
The publicly available simulators allow users to tweak parameters in real scientific models – with calculations carried out on computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory – to see the results.
The image above shows a screen from a simulation of the behaviour of the Columbia Glacier in Alaska in response to added snow. Red areas indicate an increase in glacier depth, while blues are decreases and yellow is neutral.