4 October 2019
Ed Hawkins “Climate Stripes” May be the Most Important Science Image so Far in This Century
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Dr. Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading produced an image last year that made my jaw drop.
It now has a name.
Hawkins assigned colours to the Earth’s temperature since 1850, and it powerfully shows how the planet is warming. It’s rapidly becoming as well known as what may be the most important science image of the last century, Dr. Michael Mann’s famous hockey stick. The hockey stick was published in 1999 and it ranks with Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Ander’s Earthrise as the most powerful science images of the 20th century.
Climate Stripes is on the cover of the Sept. 19th issue of The Economist, and it got the attention of Bill Gates.
One thing I have learned after 40 years explaining science on TV: When the eye and the ear compete, the eye always wins.
Images are powerful.
The last paragraph of The Economist story is worth putting in large type.
I just don’t get the excitement about this graph. I’d far rather see a line graph, such as your first figure. For me it’s much easier to get details from.
5 past 12 for a living planet? See: https://bit.ly/2Gw5saO
I have been watching climate science since the 1960s, and for me this is a rather boring figure. However, if you can hold a climate change deniers attention for long enough to explain the diagram then it is a very dramatic picture that might work. The trouble is that many will doubt that the figures are genuine.