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Saving the Climate One Tool at a Time

Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Christian Moore, a current Atlanta Chapter ARCS Scholar, applied for an open position at the Morehouse College computer lab and it led to him making a digital tool that shows the impact of climate change. With the data visualization map he and his team created on Palantir’s website, the state of Georgia and its respective counties can see the progression of carbon emissions and its relation to the social vulnerability index of the community. The map can predict carbon emissions based on past data.

The research project was called The Opportunity Project (TOP) and focused on climate change, climate-conscious organizations, tools, and products. It was the perfect project for Moore to combine his research interests in computer science and climate change. Moore’s team had a theme of climate resiliency, but it was up to them to choose their objective.

“Our goal is to implement a future prediction estimate value based on the trend of the past years we gathered. The more years we go back, the more accurate the trend will be in the future,” explains Moore.

Moore and his team only had two and a half months to make the tool of their choosing and they had an enormous amount of data to sort. Data from US Federal Open Data, the Biden Administration, FEMA, and advocates from climate change organizations took over a month and a half to gather and sort. Then they plugged in data from the past five years. The map would separate Georgia into counties with data values ranging from 2017-2022. The tool successfully displayed a progression of carbon emissions and the social vulnerability index of residents in their county. The social vulnerability index is the measurement of potential negative effects on communities caused by external stresses on human health, such as natural or human-caused disasters. For his project, Moore focused on Georgia’s county demographics.

Moore hopes the data visualization map will be utilized by government officials, climate change organizations, and climate-conscious individuals to make more educated decisions for their areas. Moore says, “We wanted to help dive through data and give a different perspective on climate change, so they can get the whole story and make better-informed decisions for our future.”

Moore has always had an affinity for technology. “As a kid, I would take apart game controllers to see how they worked. My freshman year I was exposed to computer programming, and I caught on relatively easily,” he recalls. This curiosity led him to study computer science at Morehouse College, which ultimately led him to his ARCS Scholar Award.

Moore gives thanks to ARCS for the Scholar Award because the financial support gave him more time to work on the project. “I was able to put in more effort on the tool and research we were doing, so the tool can have a higher quality,” he says.

The ARCS Scholar Award also gave Moore the opportunity to network with graduate students, and hear about their experience with graduate school, a desire of his. He says, “ARCS gave me access to spaces to converse with others and get a better understanding of graduate school and to further submit my desire of graduate school and a higher education.”

After he completes his undergraduate degree, Moore plans to continue his studies in computer science and study computer research algorithms by pursuing a graduate degree. He concludes, “ARCS is a gateway to higher learning.”

Athlanta scholar Christian Moore headshot