Thursday is the third annual #MetsUnite to #ShowYourStripes. Created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins using annual temperature anomalies (the difference from long-term average), this simple blue-to-red visual has inspired communities around the world. Warming stripes have appeared on cars, murals, light shows, Economist magazines, and much more—not to mention their use by hundreds of meteorologists and climate communicators.
This year, Climate Central has updated these “stripes” graphics for the U.S. states and 160 of our 244 cities (those with 100+ years of data)–adding a stripe for 2019, the world’s second-hottest year on record. Most places show a clear warming trend, especially in fast-warming areas like the Southwest, Northeast, and Alaska. And while recent temperatures were mixed in the U.S., the world had its warmest May on record—virtually guaranteeing another top-5 year for heat. NOAA and NASA’s global temperature data is in, naming 2019 the 2nd hottest year on Earth since records began and making the 2010s the hottest decade on record.
Warming temperatures hit hardest in disadvantaged communities—with health dangers, food and water stress, coastal flooding, economic damage, and threatened ways of life. Curbing these impacts may be the greatest challenge of our time, but solutions exist from renewable energy to cleaner transportation and agriculture. Reducing emissions would limit the warming that drives those impacts—as illustrated by Alexander Radtke’s “stripes of the future”.