Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine

Suitable for: College, General Audiences, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Available languages: Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Spanish (Mexico & Latin America), Turkish

Covered subject areas: Climate and Environment, Earth Science, Life Science & Nature, Solar System, Space Science & Astronomy, Weather

Runtime: 24 minutes

Release date: 2012

Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson.

Now screening in over 200 planetariums worldwide, the award-winning Dynamic Earth explores the inner workings of Earth’s great life support system: the global climate.

With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations, this cutting-edge production follows a trail of energy that flows from the Sun into the interlocking systems that shape our climate: the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere.

Audiences will ride along on swirling ocean and wind currents, dive into the heart of a monster hurricane, come face-to-face with sharks and gigantic whales, and fly into roiling volcanoes.

Dynamic Earth explores concepts and terms essential to understanding the climate:

  • The relationship of Earth and the Sun. The Earth is close enough to the Sun to bask in its warmth, thanks to a series of natural defenses, including its magnetic field.
  • Life and the carbon cycle. Earth’s climate control system depends on the ability of living organisms to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it long term.
  • Plate tectonics and its role in the carbon cycle. Audiences will learn that CO2 emissions from human activities now outpace volcanoes 200 fold.
  • Comparision with Venus. The story of our sister planet shows just how unique Earth is in its ability to regulate atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures.
  • Perspective on climate change. The program fills in major gaps in the public’s understanding of climate change, by placing it in a broader context of what shapes Earth’s climate.

Dynamic Earth is the result of a two-year long collaboration between Spitz Creative Media, the Advanced Visualization Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, and Thomas Lucas Productions, Inc. Produced in association with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and NASA Earth Science. Narrated by Academy-Award nominated actor Liam Neeson. This project is supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Film Office.


  • First Place, Video Category, 2013 Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge for Coronal Mass Ejection and Ocean/Wind Circulation Visualization, sponsored by NSF and the journal Science
  • Finalist: Best Immersive Cinema (Fulldome), Jackson Hole Science Media Awards 2012
  • Award Winner: South Korea Planetarium Fest, 2012
  • SIGGRAPH 2012 Electronic Theater: Coronal Mass Ejection and Ocean/Wind Circulation Visualization
  • Award Winner: for Marine Biosphere, Jena Fulldome Festival 2011
  • Public Choice Award – Short Films, Espinho Immersive Film Festival 2011

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