20 June 2018

You are About to See This Image Everywhere

Posted by Dan Satterfield

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, people will notice it. When you make one about science, I can assure you that meteorologists who work in TV will definitely notice because there are few things we value more than an image that can tell a story well.  Enter Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading in the UK. Ed has made some cool visuals before, but when he posted the image below, it went viral in the earth science community.

What are you looking at?

It’s the Earth’s temperature from the 1850’s until today. Ed has been making them for different cities as well. The image for Toronto is below:

This image spread quickly and then my fellow broadcast meteorologist Jeff Beradelli in West Palm Beach had the idea to use Zazzle to put that image on a tie, and a coffee cup and a pin…

Then, another idea. What if meteorologists around the world all picked one day to wear that tie/pin etc. The day to choose was fairly obvious: The summer solstice which happens at 10:04 GMT, Thursday, June 21.

Meteorologists/Earth Scientists around the world will be wearing that pin Thursday. It’s a statement that exemplifies the words of Richard Feynman that “science is what we do to keep from lying to ourselves.”  This image is not opinion. It’s based on a careful reconstruction of temperatures that has been peer reviewed and published. In addition, multiple independent reconstructions have been made and all are very close.

It’s truly a picture worth a thousand words.

I have the pin:

One last thing. There is something you really should understand about that image.

There are only three things that affect Earth’s temperature:

1.Incoming radiation from the Sun. (Virtually unchanged)
2. The albedo (reflectivity) of the planet (How much of the incoming energy gets immediately reflected back into space. Volcanoes/ice sheets/air pollution can change this and cool us from time to time).
3. Greenhouse gas levels. (Rising rapidly).

This is why anyone who claims this warming is part of a natural cycle, is simply wrong.