Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Visualizing climate change

In the heart of winter with all the snow around, it can be hard to accept that the globe is getting warmer. It is easy to confuse short term localized weather with the much longer term global changes that a climate change researcher must monitor. I've put together a couple charts that show global temperatures over the longer term to see how stark a difference the change over the past fifty years has been. All of the data is available at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

This chart shows the average global temperature per decade since 1860. The more red a bar is, the hotter it is compared to the year before. To highlight these decade changes further see below:

What I find most disturbing is that there has been only one decade in the past century cooler than the preceding one.

This is something that has to be stopped. An strong snow storm in Washington DC during winter doesn't change that fact.