The ice held in the Antarctic Ice Sheet has the potential to cause significant changes in sea level in the future, which will affect many people around the world. As a result, it is important that people have an awareness of the impact of a changing climate on the world’s ice sheets, but this complex system is difficult to understand and predict. Scientists and games developers have produced a free-to-use interactive game, “Ice Flows”, to help demonstrate how the Antarctic Ice Sheet responds to climate change in an accessible way to children and game players of all ages.
The game is built on a simple representation of how ice flows in Antarctica and how it responds to changes in the environment - through changes in snowfall and ocean temperature. It allows players to impose climatic changes to control the extent of the ice sheet to guide penguins to fish; if they get it wrong, the penguin may meet its doom in the jaws of a leopard seal. The aim is to promote understanding of the complexity of the ice sheet system by enabling the player to carry out their own ice sheet model experiments, much like the scientists working on the research. The game has a number of levels representing how different parts of the Antarctic will respond to climate change.