Games & Simulations - Weather, Climate, Atmosphere

Games & Simulations - Weather, Climate, Atmosphere

This page is a directory of educational games, simulations, and virtual labs related to Weather, Climate, Atmospheric Science, and the Sun and Space Weather.

This list is a subset of a collection of links to games, simulations, and virtual labs that span a larger range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education topics.

Annenberg's Habitable Planet

Annenberg's Habitable Planet

Annenberg Learner has a Carbon Lab and an Energy Lab in the interactive labs section of its The Habitable Planet course. They also have a Virtual Particle Lab: Compressibility of Air in their Physical Science course. Annenberg Learner also has an extensive collection of hundreds of educational interactives spanning many topics; the list can be filtered to a narrower collection of dozens of interactives for science education, or further refined to show items for specific scientific disciplines (e.g. Earth Sciences or Environmental Science).
Creators: The Annenberg Foundation.
Cost: free

BBC Climate Challenge

BBC Climate Challenge

In this role-playing policy game, you are the leader of the European Union. Select policies to reduce carbon emissions while retaining enough popularity to remain in office..
Creators: British Broadcasting Corporation.
Cost: free

Bill Nye's Climate Lab

Bill Nye's Climate Lab

Climate science games and simulations from Bill Nye the Science Guy and Chabot Space & Science Center.
Creators: Bill Nye and Chabot Space & Science Center.
Cost: free

BrainPop GameUp

BrainPop GameUp

BrainPop hosts many educational animations and other resources. The GameUp section of BrainPop offers free games, many covering science topics, including: Hot Air Balloon, Wind Simulator, Carbon Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle, Water Cycle, Magnet Hunt, and many more.

Creators: games on BrainPop come from various sources, including Field Day Lab, Spongelab Interactive, PhET, and others.
Cost: the GameUp section is free; access to other resources on BrainPop requires a paid subscription
Games at CAMEL web site

CAMEL Climate Change Education - Games

A small collection (9 items as of November 2014) of role-playing, board, card, and computer games about climate change and energy use topics..
Creators: various; collection is part of the CAMEL (Climate Adaptation Mitigation E-Learning) climate change education web site.
Cost: free

Challenger Centers - CC Earth 4U

Challenger Centers - CC Earth 4U

An interactive carbon and temperature model for use alone or with any of five lesson units..
Creators: Challenger Center for Space Science Education.
Cost: free

Climate & Carbon Cycle Models from U. of Chicago

Climate & Carbon Cycle Models

Several (more than a dozen) climate, carbon cycle and cryosphere models. Most appropriate for college-aged students. Also a textbook and a free online course that use these models..
Creator: Professor David Archer, Department of the Geophysical Sciences, U. of Chicago.
Cost: free

Climate change mitigation simulator from Koshland Science Museum

Climate Change Mitigation Simulator

Choose your priorities and select mitigation strategies to meet your goals with this simple climate change mitigation simulator..
Creators: Koshland Science Museum.
Cost: free

Climate Interactive: Tools

Climate Interactive - Tools

Climate Interactive has a suite of interactive computer simulations and role-playing games covering climate, energy, and systems-thinking topics. Includes C-Learn, Climate Pathways App, World Climate, World Energy, Climate Bathtub Animation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Simulator, and more..
Creators: Climate Interactive and MIT's Sloan School of Management.
Cost: free

Disaster Dynamics game

Disaster Dynamics: Hurricane Landfall

Disaster Dynamics: Hurricane Landfall is a multiplayer, role-playing strategy game that teaches about interactions between natural hazards and human decisions in a Gulf Coast barrier island community..
Creators: National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
Cost: free

EarthGames from U. Washington

EarthGames at U. Washington

EarthGames has produced several computer-based and tabletop games relevant to the atmospheric sciences, climate, and ecology including: Infrared Escape, Climate Quest, AdaptNation, Erode Runner, A Caribou's Tale, and EcoTrivia..
Creators: researchers, game developers and students at the University of Washington.
Cost: free

EdGCM climate model

EdGCM

EdGCM is a research-grade Global Climate Model (GCM) with a user-friendly interface that is suitable for use by students and can be run on a desktop computer..
Creators: Columbia University (New York).
Cost: individual student copy for $29; single user license $199, various prices for more copies (e.g. $49 each for 20+ copies); free 30-day trial demo version available.

Extreme Event Role-playing Game from Koshland Science Museum

Extreme Event Role-playing Simulation

Role-playing simulation for groups in which players assume roles as city leaders to prepare for and react to a natural disaster. Two scenarios: coastal city struck by hurricane or inland city with river flooding. Low-tech and high-tech (using laptops or tablets) variants available; also uses cards..
Creators: Koshland Science Museum.
Cost: free

Gizmos by ExploreLearning

Gizmos by ExploreLearning

ExploreLearning has created hundreds of simulations for math and science, primarily for students in grades 3-12 (also some college-level). Science simulations cover a range of subjects, with largest collections in physics. Atmospheric science titles include: Greenhouse Effect, Relative Humidity, Hurricane Motion, Seasons, Weather Maps, Coastal Winds and Clouds, and more.
Creators: ExploreLearning.
Cost: commercial product - contact ExploreLearning for pricing

Global Carbon Budget applet

Global Carbon Budget applet

Simulation of future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperatures. Student can adjust levels of carbon emissions (from fossil fuel use and land use changes) and carbon uptake (by oceans and land) and see results. Includes lots of background carbon cycle info and a Spanish language version.
Creators: University of Wisconsin-Madison: Carbon and Climate web site by Professor Galen McKinley and colleagues.
Cost: free

Green Ninja - Carbon Command

Green Ninja - Carbon Command

Carbon Command is an arcade-style shooter game that includes information about the carbon cycle on land and in the oceans.
Creators: the Green Ninja Project at San Jose State University
Cost: free

Hurricane Strike!

Hurricane Strike

The "Hurricane Strike!" module helps students learn about the science of hurricanes and about disaster preparedness. The module includes several mini-games and activities.
Creators: The COMET Program at UCAR
Cost: free

Jason Learning: Games & Digital Labs

Jason Learning: Games & Digital Labs

JASON Learning has several games and virtual labs interspersed within curriculum units, including: Storm Tracker, The Commander of the Nautilus, Energy City, The Operation: Resilient Planet Game, Coaster Creator, Transform It!, Landform Detectives, and Mastermines.
Creators: JASON Learning (in partnership with the National Geographic Society; founded by Robert Ballard)
Cost: curriculum pricing starts at $75 for single student homeschool or $13/student for 20-99 students.

MetEd collection by COMET

MetEd by COMET

The MetEd collection includes hundreds of graphics, animations and lesson modules for weather and atmospheric science education. The K-12 Community section of MetEd includes three game-like modules: "Hurricane Strike", "Tsunami Strike! Caribbean Edition", and "Tsunami Strike! Pacific Edition".
Creators: The COMET Program at UCAR
Cost: free, registration required

Molecular Workbench & Science of Atoms and Molecules

Molecular Workbench and SAM

The Molecular Workbench simulation tool and the Science of Atoms and Molecules (SAM) activities include simulations for teaching about gas laws and about chemistry principles relevant to atmospheric chemistry.
Creators: The Concord Consortium
Cost: free

Monash University Simple Climate Model

Monash Simple Climate Model

A full climate model, simplified for educational use. Includes numerous example scenarios and challenge exercises for students; some involve depictions of alien worlds from science fiction movies and books!
Creators: Dr. Dietmar Dommenget and colleagues, School of Earth, Atmosphere & Environment, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Cost: free

NASA's Space Place

NASA's Space Place

The Play section of NASA's Space Place web site includes "Have a Greenhouse Gas Attack", "Ozone Trap-n-Zap!", "Missions to Planet Earth", "Unscramble the Clouds", "Beat the Heat", "Wild Weather Adventure", and more.
Creators: NASA's Space Place
Price: free

Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project

Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project

Primarily online laboratories targeting the undergraduate introductory astronomy audience, this collection also includes several labs relevant to climate, atmospheric science, the seasons and weather including: Atmospheric Retention Lab, Motions of the Sun Lab, Habitable Zones Lab, and Basic Coordinates and Seasons Lab (Seasons and Ecliptic Simulator)
Creators: Dr. Kevin Lee et al at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
>Cost: free

NOAA Games Planet Arcade

NOAA Games "Planet Arcade"

A large collection (25 items as of November 2013) of games and puzzles from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the EPA, PBS, and the Jason Project.
Creators: NOAA Ocean Service Education
Cost: free

PhET simulations

PhET (Physics Education Technology)

PhET is large collection of simulations and virtual labs covering a range of scientific disciplines and mathematics. The original focus was physics for college students, but the project has expanded into chemistry, biology, and Earth science. Many of the sims are suitable for K-12 audiences.

Partial list of PhET simulations covering atmospheric science topics: Balloons & Buoyancy, Glaciers, Gas Properties, Greenhouse Effect, Molecules and Light, States of Matter: Basics, Bending Light, States of Matter, Molecular Polarity, Reactions & Rates, pH Scale, Plinko Probability and Density
Creator: University of Colorado at Boulder
Cost: free

SciGames.org

SciGames.org

A collection of more than 30 games and interactives, mostly with space themes. Several solar and space weather items, including: Extreme Seasons, Magneto Bowling, Magneto Mini Golf, Solar Vision, The Great Escape, and Wrath of Ra.
Creators: Space Science Institute
Cost: free

SMARTIC board and role-playing game

SMARTIC

SMARTIC (Strategic Management of Resources in Times of Change) is a board and role-playing game about resource management in the Arctic in the context of changing climate.
Creators: Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) Climate Change Education Partnership at the Columbia Climate Center - Earth Institute at Columbia University; the Teachers College at Columbia University; and Barnard College
Cost: free

Smithsonian Science Education Center - Game Center - Weather Lab & Disaster Detector

Smithsonian: Weather Lab & Disaster Detector

The Game Center section of the Smithsonian Science Education Center includes Weather Lab, a simulation/app, and a game called Disaster Detector. Disaster Detector has tornadoes and hurricanes among its disaster types. Weather Lab explores large-scale weather patterns across North America.
Creators: FableVision (Weather Lab) and Filament Games (Disaster Detector) for the Smithsonian Science Education Center
Cost: free

Storm Evader app/game for iPad

Storm Evader

Storm Evader is a game app for iPads. Role-play as an air traffic controller, routing aircraft aound storm systems.

Creators: University of Oklahoma Cost: free (search for "Storm Evader" in Apple's iTunes App Store)
Toy Models of Climate System from CSU

Toy Models of Climate Systems

Several (20+) "toy" models representing various components of the climate system, the carbon cycle, and land-atmosphere interactions. Developed using the R programming language and primarily intended for college students (though some are very accessible to high school or younger audiences).
Creators: Professor Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
Cost: free

UCAR SciEd Games and Simulations

UCAR SciEd Games & Simulations

Games and Simulations covering weather, climate, atmospheric science, and Sun and space weather topics.
Creators: UCAR Center for Science Education
Cost: free

Weather and Climate Simulations from CIMSS

Weather & Climate Simulations from CIMSS

Several (17 as of November 2013) weather, climate, and atmosphere simulations and virtual labs.
Creators: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Cost: free

WeatherWise

WeatherWise (WXWISE)

WeatherWise is a large collection of simulations and virtual labs covering weather-related topics. Categories include: storms, temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, clouds, radiation, climate, basic meteorology, and miscellaneous and non-meteorology. Some simulations are Java-based; others are HTML5.
Creators: Steve Ackerman and Tom Whittaker
Cost: free

Climate Simulations from the Concord Consortium

What Is the Future of Earth's Climate?

A series of five lesson modules with several embedded simulations. Includes "Earth's changing climates", "Interactions within the atmosphere", "Sources, sinks, and feedbacks", "Feedbacks of ice and clouds" and "Using models to make predictions".
Creators: The Concord Consortium
Cost: free

BYU Virtual Chemlab - gases

Y Science Laboratories

Extensive virtual labs for Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, and Biology. Chemistry labs include gas laws and similar experiments related to atmospheric sciences.
Creators: Brigham Young University
Cost: commercial products, available via Pearson.