Sunday, July 21, 2019
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Ed Hawkins illustrates climate change in simple graphics

So simple as possible, but not simpler – the call to the scientists to explain the increasingly complex processes in nature understandable and at the same time correct, is attributed to Albert Einstein. And it's true, today as well as then: Science does not always make it easy for its audience. At first glance, it is rare, and it is the less the more abstract a phenomenon comes along.

Joachim Müller-Jung

Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feature section, responsible for the department "Nature and Science".

Global warming is also such an abstraction for many. And if there were not the accumulating outliers like the heat of these days, which were long perceived as a pure weather phenomenon, many would probably continue to doubt whether climate protection and climate policy makes sense.

Annual stripes from all countries of the world since 1900

The fact that this has changed, that the ecological danger is now seen as a majority, as it must be civilized, namely as a frenzied threat to man and nature, is also due to the British climate researcher Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading with its iconographic color graphics , Hawkins visualizes annual average temperatures in stripe patterns. The data comes from weather services or the Berkeley measurement dataset. Shown in blue or red shades, the temperature deviations are from the long-term average, measured between 1970 and 2000. Data gaps are white.

The streak artwork of climate researcher Ed Hawkins shows the global warming by continents and countries.


This year, Hawkins has put together the annual stripes from all over the world since the year 1900 into a huge color mosaic. At first glance, and for everyone, the drama of the recent warming is apparent – more actually: the "emergency", the crisis, the climate activists and researchers alike complain today, immediately catches the eye: it is the unprecedented acceleration of climate change in the youngest Past. Many numbers are not needed, the colors speak a clear language here.

. (tagsToTranslate) Ed Hawkins (t) Albert Einstein

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