A Climate Change Picture Worth Thousands of Words

It’s challenging for scientists to try to explain the results of their work to the rest of us. There’s a language barrier made up of technical terms, and specialized vocabulary. Overcoming that challenge is one of the reasons On Pasture exists. We’re breaking the language barrier by translating science into information and steps that you can use on your own operation.

So we were really tickled when we saw this graphic from Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the United Kingdom’s University of Reading. In one small animation he shows how the temperature of the earth has changed month by month from 1850 to 2016. (If it’s a little jerky, give it another try. Sometimes the internet doesn’t keep up.)


What you’re seeing is the monthly temperature for every year. The 0.0 degrees Celsius circle at the start of the animation is the pre-Industrial Revolution mean temperature. As the years go on and the spiral grows in size, you can see that temperatures are warming.  You can also see that the planet’s average temperature moves closer and closer to the 1.5 degree Celsius rise that countries pledged to try to avoid at the recent climate talks in Paris. Hawkins describes some of the weather events the animation shows on his blog post here.

What we like about this is that Hawkins took data that he had, and displayed it in a new way so that he could get his point across more clearly. What we also like are the comments that follow his blog post from a variety of scientists and non-scientists asking and answering questions in a polite and constructive way. They’re concerned about the reliability of the data (and answers are provided) and other data that would be interesting to see in the same way. It’s these kinds of conversations that improve science in the long run.

We’re always trying to figure out new ways to share information with you. If you have thoughts about graphics or data sets that would be especially useful to you, do let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

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