Sunday, September 16, 2018

A new way of depicting climate change

Here's an interesting way of depicting climate change in what is perhaps a less distracting and easier to interpret manner.
British climate professor Ed Hawkins has developed a colour-coded "bar code graph" to give a more immediate visual snap-shot of the average annual temperature for cities or regions. Each vertical line represents the average annual temperature for the city for a particular year, and the lines are coloured from blue to red to show the increase or decrease in relative temperature compared to a baseline historical temperature. Presented in an image similar to a supermarket bar-code, the resulting representation gives a good visual idea of how temperatures have been increasing since the 19th century. It provides a much easier way of visualizing long-term trends than the traditional jagged saw-tooth line graphs. In particular, it makes it especially easy to visually compare the effects of climate change in different cties and regions. For example, within Canada, far northern cities and towns show a much more pronounced increase in relative temperatures.
Of course, not everyone likes Prof Hawkins' new graphing technique. Some say it is too abstract for people to understand well, and that it gives the impression that the absolute temperatures of different cities are being compared rather than the relative increases. I inagine that climate deniers may say it is a misleading and overhyped method that gives a false impression of global warming. Fair enough, I suppose, but I see it as a useful innovation in the fight against climate change.

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