climatespiral

This Animation Lets You Watch Global Warming Heat Up Over 166 Years

When it comes to climate change, it’s often difficult to convey an appropriate sense of urgency. After all, this is a problem that been building for decades, and will take decades of coordinated effort to solve.

Still, something especially troubling is happening at a planetary scale this year. The first three months of 2016 have been so ridiculously warm that our planet is already a shoo-in to record the warmest calendar year since records began. El Niño is a big factor in why this global step-change is happening right now, but it’s not the whole story. Most of the current warming, at least when compared to pre-Industrial Revolution levels, is the direct result of greenhouse gas emissions.

Using data from the U.K. Met Office’s Hadley Centre, Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, constructed an affecting animation:

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