#ShowYourStripes: how climate data became a cultural icon

phys.org | 7/23/2019 | Staff
TimHyuga (Posted by) Level 3
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It seems that people are finally waking up to the threat of climate change. The most poignant sign of this for me was seeing an infographic I created adorning the main music stage at Reading Festival 2019.

While the majority of those in the crowd may not have grasped its true meaning, or been in the frame of mind to understand it, it was a significant moment. A popular rock band publicly endorsed climate research and literally put it center stage.

Climate - Temperature - Year - Form - Stripe

The climate stripes illustrate the global average temperature for every year since 1850 in the form of a colored stripe. Shades of blue represent cooler years and red, warmer years. The overall effect is a striking trend towards hotter temperatures in recent decades, as a result of human-caused climate change.

The climate stripes follow other visualizations of climate data that I've created in recent years, including an animation depicting global temperature rise data as an ever-expanding spiral. This was used in the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics in 2016 – more public recognition of science where you'd perhaps not expect it.

Graphics - Science - Message - Data - Format

These graphics are simple and bright, but they're based on solid science and carry a serious message. They translate complex data into an easily accessible format that transcends language and needs almost no context to explain it. The climate stripes have already been used on posters, on placards in the youth climate strikes and on banners and t-shirts around the world.

Helping science to make this leap from the lab to social media is crucial to changing mindsets. My research has often focused on communicating the impacts of climate change to new audiences. The more people that see and understand this huge problem, the better chance we have of solving it.

Website - People

Earlier in 2019 we created a website that allows people...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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