Climate change: Why the arctic sea ice is melting by Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The Arctic's dwindling sea ice is one of the most visible signs of climate change. In this story, we follow three scientists on a year-long expedition to the Arctic as they try to unravel what is at stake for this fragile ecosystem.

The article, published in the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung, features novel animation and interaction techniques to bring the remote Arctic and complex climate processes closer to our readers. Infographics and data visualisations convey the newest findings and tell the tale of scientific discovery. All these elements are interwoven with anecdotes from the scientists who tell us how they witnessed and documented a changing world.

The story begins with a cinematic opening where readers scroll through the Arctic landscape and follow the scientific ship to its anchor point – a large ice floe near the North Pole. The video uses ship position data, scans of the Arctic sea ice and a 3D-model of the ship to provide a sense of space. It is a dark, long winter when the scientists begin their expedition – we reflect this in our illustrations and the spectacular photos taken by the scientists.

Summer follows. A second animation serves to explain the complex «albedo effect». Our readers learn step by step how snow and ice melt in summer as they scroll through the animation. We use the expedition records from the protagonists to ensure scientific accuracy. Finally, their new findings about the snow and modelled data are put into the global context of climate change.