Navigating Your Climate Change PhD

Navigating the immediate course structure of Your Climate Change PhD is easy. But the true value of Your Climate Change PhD is in facilitating easy access to the more than 25,000 hours of advanced knowledge curation available in the Climate Web.

The Climate Web can seem intimidating at first glance, but its learning curve is short. and with Your Climate Change PhD exploring the Climate Web becomes very easy.

That said, we’ve summarized the basic navigation aids below, and more is always available through the "HELP/FAQs" thought always pinned to the top left of your screen when you’re in the Climate Web. You can also take advantage of our FREE Climate Web 101 course to become a power user. quickly.

If you've downloaded the Climate Web via Premium Access exploring it through Your Climate Change PhD will be very fast and seamless. Simply being able hover your mouse over a lot of content in the Climate Web to have it open up on your screen, without having to open up new browser tabs all the time, is a huge advantage of Premium Access.

Whether using the Climate Web on an Open Access or Premium Access basis, here are some basic navigational pointers:

  • When you enter the Climate Web you'll see that the screen is split into a "Plex" (to the left) and a Notes Field (where you're reading this text). You navigate through the Climate Web via the thoughts in the Plex. In the Notes Field you can read text, watch videos, and access URLs.

  • The "NEW HERE?" thought is always available at the top of your screen to bring you to the "front door" of the Climate Web.

  • CLICK on thoughts to activate them. The active thought at any given time will be centered in the Plex covering the left half of your screen, and on the right you’ll see the Notes Field for the active thought. Thoughts can be linked to “parent,” “child,” or “jump” thoughts extending above, below, or to the left of an active thought.

  • HOVERING over a thought will show any information contained in its “Label,” while HOVERING over any Thumbnail Image (at the far left of a thought) will EXPAND the image to full size (can take 2-5 seconds on-line). (NOTE: We're gradually transitioning thumbnail images into Notes fields for easier viewing)

  • Thought "GATES," are the small circles just below, above, and to the left of thoughts. Empty circles signal that there are no additional thoughts linked to that Gate. Solid green Gates indicate that there are linked thoughts that you aren’t currently seeing on your screen. Activating a thought with filled-in gates will make those thoughts visible.  

  • A thought’s Notes Field can contain explanatory text as well as PDFs, URLs, or videos. The small triangles at the bottom of the dividing line between the Notes Field and the blue "Plex" can open or close the Notes field (we do use the Notes field extensively, so would recommend you keep it open). You can drag the bar between the Notes Field and Plex to resize them.

  • NOTE: For some technical reason if you are using TheBrain software on-line, you can only retrace one click via your Browser's Backspace key (not the case if you’re working with TheBrain locally). On-line there is also a breadcrumb trail at the bottom of the Plex showing recently activated thoughts. You can click on breadcrumb thoughts to activate them. And you can always simply retrace your thought clicks (rather than back-spacing), or jump back to the HOME thought to dig back in.

  • We use visual icons to tell you something about thoughts you are seeing on your screen. Different kinds of thoughts have different icons and often different colors as you can see in the Legend just below.


  • The easiest way to rapidly navigate through Climate Web content is through its Index. Index Entries are all vertically linked, so clicking on any thought above or below a particular Index Entry will keep you in the Index. You can literally click your way through the entire topic of climate change from A to Z. All Index Entries are preceded by an "I:" and lack spaces in the body of the entry, making it easy to Search the Index. The topic of carbon pricing, for example, has an Index Entry of I:CarbonPricing. Searching for that Index Entry will quickly get you to the right part of the Index, and it’s easy to refine your exploration from there. Searching for "carbon pricing," on the other hand, will generate hundreds of hits.

  • You can SEARCH the Climate Web on-line using the Search field at the bottom left of your screen. Searching doesn’t require an exact text match. Typing in “trans,” for example, should turn up “transport,” but it will also turn up a long list of thoughts. A couple of additional Search pointers:

    • Searching for "S - Carbon Pricing" will list Sources Headings first because of the "S". The same logic applies when searching for other kinds of Headings.

    • To find a person, type in their "Last name, First name." That will tell you if there is a thought specific to that person. Simply typing in a last name will turn up all individuals with that last name as well as documents for which someone with that last name is the lead author.

    • To find a specific document, you can try searching for the Year of publication and the last name of the Author, or try searching for the first several words of the Title. Documents use the following format: "Year Author_Title." For example: 2019 Oppenheimer_How high will the seas rise?  Only the first listed author of a document or paper is used to identify books, reports, and journal articles in the Climate Web.

    • News and opinion pieces use the following format: "Year/Month_Title. We don't include the author's name for news stories and opinion pieces.

  • "Pre-set search strings" allow you to easily explore the latest information about many of the topics covered in Your Climate Change PhD. Pre-set search strings can include:

    • Twitter Hashtag Searches
    • Google Search
    • Google Scholar Search (note that Google Scholar will often link you directly to Deepdyve where you can access the front page of thousands of otherwise paywalled articles).
    • YouTube Search
    • Vimeo Search
    • Quora Search
    • Reddit Search

To take advantage of pre-set search strings if accessing the Climate Web on-line you will need to click on individual search term thoughts, then click on the attached URL, and the search will be carried out in a new browser Tab. With Premium Access the search will activate just by hovering your mouse over a given pre-set search string.

That's really all you need to know to navigate the Climate Web online, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can come up the TheBrain’s short learning curve. And remember that the HELP thought always pinned to the top of your screen when you’re in the Climate Web has more information.

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