Ed Hawkins Maps Global Climate Change

OK – It has been a long time since I have blogged. expect me to ease into it.   But things are moving too fast, and changes are too important.

And this subject hits several  of my hot button issues at once.

  • Climate Change
  • Complexity
  • Data Visualization

So here goes.

First, I have always been big on the importance of data visualization and presentation.  The ability to present complex data sets in a way that is clear, intuitive, truthful, and aesthetic has been a passion of mine for years.   My career took me on some detours  – I will talk more about that at another time – but recently I have reengaged – I am in the process of learning R for data visualization and I have restarted following the work of Edward Tufte.  (I have been a fan since I studied some of his work as part of my MBA – and I recently had the pleasure of attending his course)

Second. I have recently joined an initiative to develop and promote a framework and tools to help people deal with complex and/or ill defined problems –  We are talking about new methods and new ways of thinking, and data is an important part of the effort

And finally, climate change.   Well, this may well be the defining issue of our life time.  The actions that we take could define the quality of life for generations to come.




The above graphic developed by Ed Hawkins of Climate Lab Book shows increases in temperature worldwide from 1850 through 2016.   Hawkins explains the map

The visualisation technique of ‘small multiples’ is often used to communicate a simple message. The above example shows maps of temperature change from 1850-2016 – the overall warming trend is obvious even though the details are fuzzy.

Technical details: The HadCRUT4.5 dataset is used with anomalies from a 1961-1990 baseline period. An annual average for a particular grid cell and year is only shown if 6 or more months have data, otherwise it is coloured grey. The colour scale runs from around -2.5C to +2.5C. [Updated June 2017]


Leave a Reply