Climatologists do not generally become creators of taste.
But Ed Hawkins of the National Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Reading in the UK has the gift of creating haunting viral images of the impact of humanity on the planet. And a model he created last year is now similar to everything from flip-flops to glass by Teslas.
Hawkins noticed that the last five years have been the the hottest recorded, while global average temperatures continue to peak in a pattern of gradual, then rapid, warming that has lasted for more than a century.
And he wanted to show the public in a new way how dramatic recent warming is – a warming that is undoubtedly linked to the greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity.
Why? On the one hand, the usual way of visualizing this data – in charts like this one – is a bit ugly:
Global average temperatures are rising. Berkeley Land
In 2016, Hawkins decided to present this temperature trend as a spiral animated rather than a linear graph. The visual quickly began to bounce on the Web. It was even presented at the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro:
This spiral animation shows the steady rise in global average temperatures due to climate change. Ed Hawkins /Climate lab book
But Hawkins wanted to create something more aesthetic and an even lower entrance barrier for an occasional viewer. "We deliberately set out to make a simple representation of global temperatures" for people unfamiliar with climate science, he said.
The result was global warming tapes:
These bands show the constant warming of the planet during the last century. Dark blues are cooler years and darker, warmer reds. Ed Hawkins / Climate Lab Book
Animated cerulean to crimson bars tell the story of how the planet has changed over the last century and the perspectives of it. It is a striking visual of the warming that humanity is causing. The color of each band represents the relative annual average global temperature from 1850 to 2017. The fact that there are more blues on one side of the pattern and more red on the other clearly indicates that the planet is warming up.
Despite the existential fear they can inspire, climate bands have become a motif in clothing and crafts since their inception in 2018.
Viewing. Here we have a tie and cufflinks, part of a coordinated campaign conducted last summer by meteorologists raise awareness of climate change:
Hawkins also set up a Zazzle store where you can buy prints of warm stripes on earrings, water bottles and leggings (the proceeds of the sale will go to a charity):
Leggings with climatic stripesZazzle
Then there is glassware:
We are on fire in the oven room today!
Fantastic molten glass showing the temperature changes in the world
from 1875 (left side, blue)
to 2018 (right side).
A strip of glass a year.
Show how our climate is changing.
– Keer-Keer (@sarahkeerkeer) February 27, 2019
And even a car:
A Tesla Model 3 electric car wrapped in a weather-striped pattern. Mark Hanson /NetZeroMN
Mark Hanson, the owner of this striped Tesla, notes that weather stripes have been used as a topic of conversation at EV meetings. "During one of the events, I heard a woman using the" hot strip "pattern to show her daughter that the Earth's temperature had changed," he wrote. blog article. "Besides events such as those mentioned above, I've had conversations in parking lots, having lunch and almost everywhere. Some about the Tesla Model 3, others about the car's envelope and a lot about both!
Hawkins says that scratches have made their way, partly because they are simple, but also because they can be used in many different ways.
He has also made different versions of the bands adapted to warming trends, in particular. cities and countriesby giving different parts of the world their own bar codes specific to the local climate.
Global warming tapes tell an even more alarming story when they are animated
Kevin Pluck, a UK-based software engineer who did a hobby of designing mesmerizing climate visuals, recently went one step further with the bands and animated them:
What's interesting about this visual is that you can see how a relatively warm year has begun to cool as temperatures continue to rise. Look 1940, which was one of the hottest years of the 20th century at the time. It records like a deep red:
The year 1940 is one of the hottest years ever recorded. Kevin Pluck
In 2010, the 1940 stripe literally faded from the warmer temperatures of the 21st century:
By the end of the century, 1940 is no longer one of the hottest years ever recorded. Kevin Pluck
"You can see that in the early decades, there was a random dispersion of cold years and hot years as one would expect in a stable climate," wrote Pluck in an email. "All this changed again in the 1980s and 90s, when warming really began to accelerate, reducing much of the first century to shades of blue."
This means that today's hottest temperatures could become tomorrow's. Although this animation is more appealing than some of the frantic carbon dioxide trackers the emission of greenhouse gases from humanity is no less alarming. The animations also illustrate the fact that climate change is a dynamic phenomenon. This is how my colleague David Roberts put it on Twitter:
The living human beings today suffer from: a) the hottest global average temperatures ever observed in the history of the species, and b) the coldest global average temperatures that the world has ever seen. man can know again.
– David Roberts (@drvox) February 27, 2019
Hawkins acknowledged that bands leave out some nuances in temperature recording, but they are not designed as scientific graphics, but rather as a means of communicating with the public. And it is not too worried that a pretty visual may underestimate the seriousness and urgency of a major global problem like climate change. It's more of a way to connect people who might otherwise not have been part of the discussion.
"We have to find a very wide range of means of communication about it," said Hawkins. "This graphic is not the only answer."
But, in the interest of the planet, let's hope this model goes out of style.