Environment

Global warming: Can these striking charts convince nay-sayers?

Global warming: Can these stri...
The warming stripes for the entire globe (from 1850-2018) show one of the clearest trends of all
The warming stripes for the entire globe (from 1850-2018) show one of the clearest trends of all
View 6 Images
Warming stripes for England from 1884-2018
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Warming stripes for England from 1884-2018
Warming stripes for Australia from 1901-2018
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Warming stripes for Australia from 1901-2018
The warming stripes for the entire globe (from 1850-2018) show one of the clearest trends of all
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The warming stripes for the entire globe (from 1850-2018) show one of the clearest trends of all
Warming stripes for the USA from 1895-2018
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Warming stripes for the USA from 1895-2018
Warming stripes for Toronto from 1841-2017
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Warming stripes for Toronto from 1841-2017
Warming stripes for Vienna from 1775-2017
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Warming stripes for Vienna from 1775-2017

We live in increasingly polarized times. Times where your point of view defines more than your stance on a particular topic – it defines who you are. Perhaps that's why people are so unlikely to change their minds on any given issue, even when there's overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. Take immunization, flat-Earthism and, yes, global warming.

Cue climate scientist Ed Hawkins who's come up with a new and striking way to visualize climate data: a series of vertical stripes that convey rising temperatures year on year. "All other superfluous information is removed, so that the changes in temperature are seen simply and undeniably," Hawkins writes at the Climate Lab Book.

What these charts don't try to show is how hot it was for any particular place in any particular year. Instead, the extremes of color correspond to the extremes in temperature evident for the location. So the darkest blue of a chart for one location probably won't correspond to the same temperature for another. And the same is true for any other hue.

For example: in this chart of annual temperatures for Toronto between 1841-2017, the darkest blue represents a mean annual temperature of 5.5° C (41.9° F), and the darkest red represents 11° C (51.8° F):

Warming stripes for Toronto from 1841-2017
Warming stripes for Toronto from 1841-2017

Whereas in this chart for Vienna, the darkest blue represents 7.5° C (45.5° F) and the darkest red 12° C (53.6° F):

Warming stripes for Vienna from 1775-2017
Warming stripes for Vienna from 1775-2017

What the charts do a very good job of showing is a clear trend for warmer temperatures at many locations, with recent years typically showing various shades of red, denoting warmer years than average for the data available. None more so than the chart for annual mean temperatures for the whole Earth, which, as you might expect, show less variation than some charts for more localized regions:

The warming stripes for the entire globe (from 1850-2018) show one of the clearest trends of all
The warming stripes for the entire globe (from 1850-2018) show one of the clearest trends of all

In each case, the charts date back to the earliest data for their location. In many cases, charts are only available at the national level.

The data is drawn from Berkeley Earth, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the UK Met Office, MeteoSwiss and the German meteorological service DWD. Ed Hawkins is a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading.

You can find charts for your locations of interest at showyourstripes.info. Charts for new locations continue to be added to the site.

38 comments
ClauS
No.
jd_dunerider
Nay-sayers typically don’t disagree that things are heating up, we disagree about the cause. Y’all must hate how most of your readers don’t believe in manmade climate change.
piperTom
From the article: "what these charts don't try to show is how hot it was..." GOOD! Because they don't. It's a sign of the times that charts hiding the numbers (the ADJUSTED numbers) behind arbitrary coloring is "news". As to the title question -- you will never reach "nay-sayers" until you listen long enough to learn what the objection is. For many, the trouble is not that it's getting warmer (it is) or that humans are likely to be partly responsible. It's the leap to "catastrophe!" The basis for panic (and very costly "remedies") is the IPCC climate models -- you remember them, the ones that haven't agreed with the data for the past twenty years.
vince
PiperTom: what you dont realize is were headed toward a catastrophe plain and simple as runaway heating cycle begins due to melting permafrost, melting methane hydrates, CO2, etc. All combining to push temps not just 5 degrees higher but more than 30 degrees eventually which would snuff out most life on land. The danger is real and venus is the proof.
nono
No but the megaton methane explosions in the arctic slowly depleting the atmosphere of oxygen like happened 150 million years ago... the hydrogen sulphide clouds from the anoxic oceans ... eventually will. But it will not matter that much then. Another planet will bite the dust. Oh right .. it does sound like the apocalypse? .. because that is the STORY of a small climate change event fron the end of the last glaciation.. this one will be on another scale
roger90
Perspective https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-qa/whats-hottest-earths-ever-been
Nobody
Almost nobody disagrees that it is getting SLIGHTLY warmer but CO2 is not the only reason and by the laws of physics a warming spell should trigger a cooling one. If politicians were proposing a new electric nationwide rail system to replace a lot of the trucking and if they were going full steam to perfect fusion power and if they were proposing electric trolley systems to help with mass transit and if they were proposing regulations that would put a buffer zone between buildings and the sea, I would listen. BUT they only want to add a carbon tax and increase control over our daily lives thus enriching themselves and gaining power while doing little to combat CO2. The real problems of overpopulation, famine, pollution, war and disease aren't even being mentioned. I am not a denier but I am wise to the deception being used to take our wealth and freedoms. I am really getting tired of all the hair brain, impractical, unrealistic solutions being presented by political candidates who are showing their ignorance and real motives. This is one huge puppet show to shove a world government down our throats.
Ran Xerox
The Earth is in a inter-glacial period frequented by drastic up and down swings in global temp and glacial extents. Compared to geological temps from the entire inter-glacial period, there is nothing extra-ordinary about modern temp changes. Fact is, the Earth overall and on average is much warmer outside of these periods. Aka, even if humans are bumping up the temp with CO2, the Earth has been that warm and far warmer, there is no apocalypse. The problem with the AWG scare is that it sucks $ trillons from the world that would be better spent on cleaning our oceans or curing cancer.
Cryptonoetic
Heading toward a total catastrophe, are we? All because of CO2? Back (~1950) when atmospheric CO2 levels were ~200 ppm, ***ALL*** of the "heat" (photons of relevant wavelength) that could be captured by CO2 ***WAS*** captured within the first ~150 feet AGL (above ground level). Current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at ~410 ppm cannot result in the capture of additional "heat" because there is no additional "heat" to capture. The only difference of significance is that now the relevant photons are all captured within the first ~75 feet AGL.
Joshua Tulberg
Awe man. These comment sections are always such a disappointment.