Feel the Heat: A World Temperature Data Quilt – Nathalie Vladis & Julia Zaenker


Holding the increase in global average temperature to well
below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursure efforts
to limit temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial
levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the
risks and impacts of climate chang.

(Article 2, Paris Agreement, 2015)

feel-the-heat: world temperature data quilt

How much do we really want to feel the heat if the blanket is extended in
future? Can we prevent it from getting uncomfortable? No more than 2°C
– that is the target set by the United Nations in the Paris Climate Agreement.
What does this number mean and how close are we to the threshold? Climato
-logist are assembling huge data sets to describe global mean temperature
change over the last century. The HadCRUT4 global temperature data set com
-piles monthly temperature time series data from 4800 stations across the
world. The data is expressed in deviations from the average temperature between
1961 and 1990. As numbers are often hard to grasp visuliastion of the
data set can help us to literally “feel the heat”. Numer-ous representation have
been developed using computer code and plotting tools. They are the inspiration
behind the World Temperature Data Quilt which aims to bring the data to
life in the real world. Colorful tiles representing the temperature deviation in
each month over the last years form the building blocks of the blanket. Sewn
together the quilt enables us to see connections and better understand climate
history and possible future trends.

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