This graphic, by Boggis Makes Videos and put on YouTube just a few days ago, breaks all the rules of how to make effective, understandable graphs for the general public. However, if you follow all those rules, it is difficult or impossible to get certain message across. Therefore, this graphic is necessary if a bit difficult. I would like you to watch the graphic several times with a prompt before each watching so that you fully appreciate it. This will only take you six or seven minutes, I’m sure you weren’t doing anything else important.

Pass 1: How to read the graph

This graph’s basic data are temperature anomaly, not temperature, but difference in observed temperature averaged out over a month, using a baseline of 1961-1990. Global warming was already underway for this period, but it still works as a baseline. Anyway notice the scale shown at the beginning of the presentation.

The Graph shows the temperature anomaly across latitude, using a circle meant to represent the earth, so the north pole is on top, the south pole on the bottom, the equator half way between, etc.

The height of the graph’s bars, as well as their color, show the anomaly, but the beginning of the graphic shows you how far out, in standard deviations, the values are.

The Graphic display starts at 1900. The values are shown for each month, but they are 12 month moving average values, otherwise this graphic would give you a seizure.

So watch the first 20 seconds or so as many times as you need to, to fully understand these details.

Pass 2: It is getting warmer and weirder

On the first pass, just note that as the earth gets warmer, at sea and on land (see the two graphics at the bottom). Notice that the variation from year to year as well as the increase in temperature really takes off in the 1980s. Notice that the surface warmth values increase dramtically starting in the 1990s. Notice that things get really wild over just the last ten years or less.

Pass 3: Ends and middles

On your third pass, and this may take a few passes, notice the difference between the equatorial, temperate, and polar regions, as well as the difference between the two poles.

Consider that the increased warming in arctic regions compared to other regions affects many aspects of our weather.

Consider that the increases in temperate and tropical regions means that over some periods of time an increasingly lager area of the earth becomes uninhabitable without air conditioning.

Notice that the northern and southern hemisphere don’t have the same exact pattern.

What else did you see?

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