Temperature is a critical environmental parameter that has profound relevance in describing where coral reefs do and do not occur, and growing direct and indirect threats to their existence.
Here are some powerful visualizations of global temperature data you may find useful or want to replicate for local or global temperature datasets, or use for education and outreach about climate change.
The climate spirals page of Hawkins’ Climate Lab Book features global temperature change updates, as well as atmospheric CO2 and arctic sea ice volume animations. His small multiples assembly of global temperatures by decade is very useful, and could be used to describe sequential environmental changes on regional map scales as well.
NASA’s temperature graphs and charts are varied and useful, and have pages for downloading different temperature products for specific date ranges, including global maps, surface temperature animations, and this 135-year time chart of zonal temperature anomalies:
See NASA’s Global Climate Change – Global Temperature site for rich multimedia resources and apps, including global temperature anomaly maps with year sliders and an embeddable 3-min video which graphs different potential factors with global temperature changes (surprise: the correlation is with anthropogenic CO2). High global temperatures and low Arctic sea ice cover both broke records in the first half of 2016.
NOAA has its own further derivations of very useful temperature representations, particularly for coral reef work, including global and regional sea surface temperature contour maps, a suite of coral bleaching data products with predictive bleaching alerts derived from virtual stations, and their degree heating weeks maps, which some NOAA scientists prefer as their most accurate post-event indicator of peak bleaching intensity.
Thanks for inspiration to Andrew Freedman’s excellent article on Mashable featuring compelling temperature visualizations.
If there’s a temperature visualization you love – including simple – simple is good – please share it with us by leaving a comment. Thanks.
Update: (1) fresh updated graphs and more at Ed Hawkins’ Climate Lab Book (or follow on Twitter: @ed_hawkins), and (2) check out Antti Lipponen’s temperature anomalies by country since 1900 – as animation or small multiples – showing variation and warming trends, with visual insight into continents.