Climate change visualizations: Why? Climate change is one of the biggest threats to society in the 21st century, and strong action is required to reduce anthropogenic global warming. The Paris Agreement’s long-term goal is to keep the global average temperature well below +2.0°C above pre-industrial levels and to limit the increase to +1.5°C since this would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change. Talking about climate change becomes crucial to increase awareness of this societal problem in the population and thus – ultimately – to stimulate governments to act on climate. On this page, you find freely available climate change visualizations designed for the public and aimed at being used as a means for stimulating discussion on climate change. Feel free to use any of these visualizations for climate communication purposes (for example, on social networks, for talks, or while chatting with your neighbour). If you like, let me know how you use them!
An uncomfortable tie: reduction in CO2 emission required to limit global warming To limit global warming, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2 emissions. Based on data from the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report, this plot highlights that to limit global warming to 1.5 °C or 2 °C in line with the Paris Agreement’s target, global CO2 emissions should decline drastically.
Global warming clock (or…coffee plot) This “global warming clock” shows the rise of mean global temperature (point size) and CO2 concentration (colour): it highlights that the time for taking action on climate change is running out. While the Paris Agreement’s target is to keep the mean global temperature below +1.5/+2.0°C above pre-industrial levels, this clock shows that we already reached +1.11°C in 2016. Interestingly, the visualization was named by some people as “the coffee plot” as it looks like a coffee stain.
Temperature and CO2 warming stripes Warming stripes are a very simple, nice, and efficient visualization of global/local warming invented by Ed Hawkins. Time (in years) runs from left to right in the panel. The temperature of each year is represented by colour, with blue/red representing colder/warmer temperatures. The image below differs from the original warming stripes as it combines the visualization of mean global temperature and CO2 concentration. It shows a clear positive trend in the variables, with an acceleration of both the warming and the CO2 concentration in the last decades (right part of the panel).
Circular Warming Stripes
Running warming dots
Sea level rise
All of the images on this page are realized using the software R.