New Global Warming Graphic

Bloomberg News recently ran a very short infographic showing 135 years worth of temperature data. Click on the still image below and you’ll be taken to their website.

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From an infographic point of view this is a wonderful animation. Really captures the spirit of “full data disclosure” and as a result deals with the dueling anecdotes issue so very common in the climate change discussions. (You can see for example several decade long intervals where the temperature record holding year is unchanged.)

I also like this graphic better than the world map going from blue to red showing the same thing over a similar time period. While that map animation gives me a better sense of the regions that warm and how the seasons change on both sides of the globe, the colors give me less of a sense scale than the above animation does.

What I don’t like about it is the lack of the description of the supporting information and also a link to the supporting data. How was this data collected? The bottom of the page cites GHCN-M & ICOADS Data Sets Provided by NOAA, but that’s just text, not a link.

I also don’t like the choice of y-axis scale. Sure, this is probably the perfect scale for a scientific paper, but for convincing John Q Public (or David O Denier), a more relate-able scale would have been better. What if the scale were high temperatures in New York City for example, or (to avoid as much as possible the heat island effect) the temperature in Central Park? Or just any single temperature monitoring station instead of the more accurate but less publicly understandable average over all the monitoring stations?

I’m afraid without a link or a description of what this means it is all too easy to fall on the deaf ears of the deniers.

Here’s a link to my favorite compendium of anti-denier arguments just in case you show this wonderful graphic to some denier friends and are speechless at some of their responses.

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