What is the graph on the “Global Average Temperature” page depicting?

The Global Climate Dashboard is an application provided via NOAA that graphically tracks trends in climate metrics through time. Take the following steps to navigate the website and answer the following questions below:

A.    Open a new tab in your browser and navigate to the website http://www.climate.gov. 

B.    Scroll down on that page until you come to the Global Climate Dashboard and click on the “learn more” option for “Global Average Temperature”.

C.    Explore the interactive graph for global average temperature, note any trends you see, and answer the related questions below.

D.   Repeat steps B-C for two additional dashboard options from those provided. **The available options are:

a.Carbon Dioxide b.Snow c.Sea Level d. Arctic Sea Ice e.Ocean Heat f.Sun’s Energy g.Glaciers h.    Heat-Trapping Gases

1.   What is the graph on the “Global Average Temperature” page depicting? Describe the past and current trends shown on the graph. Assuming current atmospheric situations remain, what appears to be the trend for temperature into the future?

2.    Dashboard Option #1 – Your choice! 

What is the graph you chose depicting? Describe the past and current trends shown on the graph. What appears to be the trend into the future?

3.    Dashboard Option #2 – Your choice!

What is the graph you chose depicting? Describe the past and current trends shown on the graph. What appears to be the trend into the future?

4.    Relate the dashboard options you described above to each other. Any similarities? Any that appear to trend together (e.g. increased temperatures and increased ice loss)? Make some general conclusions on what you observed in the data.

5.    Now click on the tab near the top of the application box called “Climate Projections” and play around with the scales of the graph. Describe what you see as you shorten and lengthen the time scales of the x axis. How does this change the “message” of the graph? Note the power of data visualization!

Geovisualizations and Science Communication – #ShowYourStripes

Speaking of data visualizations, you will now get to plot “climate stripes” for your hometown! But first a bit for context, I’m sure you’re wondering…what are climate stripes? Glad you asked! Let’s explore…!

A few years ago the climate scientist Ed Hawkins (via Twitter here: @ed_hawkins) came up with a spiral visualization for climate change that rocked the climate world at the time – check it out here: https://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/spirals/ This visualization put over a hundred years of climate data into one graphic that changed through time to show how rapidly global warming has occurred since the 1980s onward. This 2data graphic, called a visualization, represented an average, and was meant to include the entire Earth. A few years later, he created a new visualization, a geovisualization, that was specific to a coordinate location or general local (e.g. town or city), rather than a large, global average. It too brought a new age of climate change visualization and communication with the public.

 Here is the link to #ShowYourStripes: https://showyourstripes.info/ Notice that the default climate stripe is for the Globe from 1850-2019 – select a region or city of your choice. It’s fun and personal to look at how your hometown climate has changed, which as we have seen, always adds extra weight when impacting our perspectives on risk. However, feel free to pick wherever you wish.

6.    Provide a screenshot or paste the image of the GLOBE climate stripes – what patterns do you notice? How does it strike you? Is this visualization more effective than a line or scatter plot at communicating climate change information? Why or why not?

7.    Provide a screenshot or paste the image of climate stripes a location of your choice – are the patterns similar to the global trends? Why did you pick this location? Do you think this visualization would be effective at communicating the reality and severity of climate change in that location? Why or why not?

Geovisualizations and Science Communication – Your Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is essentially the bits of carbon dioxide that end up in the atmosphere that directly result from your lifestyle choices. For example, if you drive an all-electric vehicle and use public transportation, while your neighbor drives a Hummer that gets about 10 mpg, your carbon footprint for transportation would be smaller than theirs. It’s smaller because your lifestyle choice related to transportation releases less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than driving the Hummer. As you may already know, or may have guessed, we can track our carbon consumption for many lifestyle metrics, thereby acquiring a general footprint for our lives.

 Please follow the steps on the Carbon Calculator found here: https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx The first page focuses on your home, and each page after that focuses on a different metric (e.g. flights, car, etc).

 8.    Provide a paragraph (max) on the results of your carbon calculator test. Are you surprised? Or was this more or less what you expected? Given the results, can you isolate areas in your life where you might be able to lessen that footprint? 

9.    Connect this to the community level – how might you or a group of people focused on climate change activism use these data, and the visualizations you explore above, to hold a public forum on climate change discourse. How would you use what you’ve learned to personalize the discussion to the audience, so that you may most effectively convey your message?