A stark and unmistakable picture of our warming planet

By Charlotte Owen-Burge | June 25, 2021

When Ed Hawkins, a professor of climate science at Reading University in the UK, wanted to find the simplest way to tell the story of global warming, he turned to an image.

His climate stripe graphics shows how average temperatures have risen over more than a century, going from dark blue to dark red. It paints a stark and unmistakable picture of how our planet is heating up.

Warming Stripes for Arctic Ocean from 1893-2020. Image: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading).

Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2020.

For the ocean basins and for several countries with longer datasets available the stripes start in the 19th century instead. For two cities (Stockholm and Vienna), the data starts in the 18th century.

Warming Stripes for Vienna from 1775-2020. Image: Professor Ed Hawkins.

For virtually every country or region, the stripes turn from mainly blue to mainly red in more recent years, illustrating the rise in average temperatures in that country.

Warming Stripes for Australia from 1901-2020. Image: Professor Ed Hawkins.

The graphics are specifically designed to be as simple as possible, and to start conversations about our warming world and the risks of climate change.

There are numerous sources of information which provide more specific details about how temperatures have changed, so these graphics fill a gap and enable communication with minimal scientific knowledge required to understand their meaning.

Warming Stripes for Africa from 1901-2020. Image: Professor Ed Hawkins.

To find out more and discover the stripes of your country, go to: https://showyourstripes.info/

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