Climate Stripes

I’m obviously not keeping up. Fortuitously, son slipped me the ‘climate’ issue of The Economist from September 2019, which features these ‘climate stripes’. (Our children are of course there to educate us!)

Each stripe in the featured image represents the global temperature averaged over a year, from 1850 to 2018. You can see that the stripes “turn from mainly blue to mainly red in more recent years, illustrating the rise in average temperatures”.

As well as being informative, this presentation is aesthetically pleasing. What a wonderful way of communicating the reality of global temperature change. It was created by scientist: Ed Hawkins of Reading University, using data from Berkeley Earth, NOAA, UK Met Office, MeteoSwiss, DWD. The stripes have been widely used worldwide for some time, see the story.

The show your stripes website enables you to download the stripes for your own country. For example here’s England and then Texas (with slightly differing start dates).

_stripes_EUROPE-United_Kingdom-England-1884-2018-MO_stripes_NORTH_AMERICA-USA-Texas-1895-2018-NO

One can speculate on how the stripe pattern in different areas might reflect their different attitudes to climate change.

Interestingly, the debate has moved on from September, in that ‘climate breakdown’ is now the commonly used terminology instead of ‘climate change’ as in the above Economist article – but that is of course a mainstream business magazine.

9 thoughts on “Climate Stripes

  1. To be honest this young old divide over climate change is beginning to get on my nerves. As an old man myself most of my generation were supporting Greenpeace and the like. All I see of the younger generations are those driving SUVs, BMW and Mercedes, riding scooters when they could walk, taking the elevator for one flight of stairs, using plastic shopping bags in supermarkets, buying junk food on the street … I could go on and on and on and on … they need to sort themselves out instead of blaming boomers and the like!

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Jan. The sad truth is that, as the stripes show, the greatest increase in warming has been caused since around the 1980s – not only because of Western use of fossil fuels, but the spreading of Western lifestyles across the world, with massively increasing populations. There’s no point blaming ‘boomers’, and even less point in intergenerational conflict. The important thing is to address how the hell we get through this to a sustainable human-populated world. There’s no choice but to collectively address the problem, or humans will become toast – as Australia and California are discovering.

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    • I certainly agree things have gone downhill since the 80s. Personally I don’t think over population is a problem, should you be referring to that. I think I read somewhere that you could fit the entire population of the world on the Isle of Wight or something similar. The problem is consumerism without thought. As a life-long product designer I know that most companies do not give a shit how a product is made so long as they can sell it, whether it’s made of recyclable materials or not. That means legislation on how products are made/sold/disposed of and individuals thinking more about what they buy. However all I see are fashionable over blown cars on the roads, massive consumption of fast food (burgers etc.,).

      I would suggest that 75% of what people buy they do not need! They fill kitchens with electric appliances that rarely if ever get used. The under 30-40 generation has grown up in a world where effort is frown upon or if not then it’s off to an air-conditioned gym to ride a stationary bike while looking morosely at the scenery through a window. That a large percentage of the western population is obese is no surprise. Walking any distance these days is seen as uncool. Most people are earning their living and working for companies that create all these problems, then they use their income to compound it. Mainly because most people have not the guts to go their own way.

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      • Indeed, Jan. You have put your finger on a major contributor to the problem. It’s driven by the current system’s ‘need’ to generate growth, and hence the encouragement of ‘aspiration’. And the current high levels of inequality mean many people have far too much money, without the sense to use it wisely. And so on…

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  3. That is a great graphic and it can certainly be nerve wracking to look closely. I somewhat agree with Jan above about the younger generation but I still think we and all succeeding generations need to acknowledge culpability and then get on with the work of making it right. When our generation (I am 70) started on this road we were not aware of the consequences but I do believe we, for the most part, are now fully aware and helping in ways we can to mitigate the damages. As in all things human some will take responsibility and try to correct, while some will ignore and still others will deny. Hopefully enough of us will work diligently and we can eventually correct our wrong doings.

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