An animation released by NASA this week reveals the consequences of the climate crisis in images: our planet is getting warmer and warmer over the past few centuries.
The climate spiral shows monthly anomalies in global temperature between the years 1880 and 2021, in a visualization of circular lines around three circles that indicate an increase or decrease of 1ºC. The view is based on the index GISS surface temperature analysis (GISTEMP v4), which compiles comprehensive global surface temperature data.
Carlos Ritll, ecologist and public policy expert at the Rainforest Foundation in Norway, explains that the spiral is a way of showing the monthly change in earth temperature in regards to average temperature before the industrial revolution.
“It’s a way of representing global warming relative to pre-industrial levels, from when humanity begins to burn fossil fuels on a large scale and emit greenhouse gases on a large scale,” a- he declared.
Ritll points out that the colors have become stronger in recent decades, a period in which global warming is accelerating, approaching and exceeding, in recent years, 1ºC (compared to 1880).
The visualization is a project of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), a NASA laboratory, in partnership with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the New York School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Animation frame for the year 2021. The reddish lines show how the global temperature has increased over time. — Photo: NASA Science Visualization Studio
“As temperatures continue to rise, we expect an increase in extreme weather events. In general, we expect wet areas to get wetter and dry areas to get drier. fires and hurricanes. The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, which will lead to increased ice melt and subsequent sea level rise,” he said. g1 Mark SubbaRao, head of NASA’s Science Visualization Studio, who created the new version of the visualization.
The animation was originally designed by climatologist Ed Hawkins of the National Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Reading. A version of the spiral was even unveiled during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Science indicates that the safest limit for global warming, within the limit of what is still possible to limit it, is 1.5°C by the end of this century. We have already exceeded 1° C and the consequences are stronger and more frequent extreme weather events, like the rains in Petropoliswhich caused hundreds of deaths, the devastating hurricanes in Central America or the dramatic droughts in the very poor countries of the Horn of Africa, to name but a few examples,” adds Ritll.
The researcher believes that the spiral helps to show that the planet is about to cross a limit that should not be reached for nearly 80 years and that we must hurry to reverse this situation.
“We need to act much faster and more responsibly, phasing out fossil fuels, deforestation and sustainably producing food from food to avoid much worse consequences for ourselves,” he says. .
Global Warming Stripes for the world 1850-2018 — Photo: Disclosure/Show Your Stripes
Climatologist Ed Hawkins was also responsible for translating Earth’s temperature data into a sequence of stripes, a pattern that has gained immense popularity in recent years, even printing pants, sandals and even cars.
The visualization has blue stripes which represent the coldest years and red ones, the warmest. Each band represents the average temperature of a region over a year.
In an interview with g1 in 2019, the researcher said the simplicity of the model is a great advantage, as it is “a good conversation starter” about climate change that ends up getting lost in the complex charts and graphs of meteorologists.
“Scientists often speak with complicated graphics. This is how I found to be able to communicate with more people: we use colors to represent the changes, with blue for the colder years and red for the warmer, so there is no difficulty in understanding,” said the expert.