Climate Change Infographic – Observations and Origins

The climate is shifting. Iceburgs at Grey Glacier, Patagonia, Chile. (Photo, Dimitry B)

The climate is shifting. Icebergs at Grey Glacier, Patagonia, Chile. (Photo, Dimitry B)

Climate change comes up in frequently in discussion. I’ve noticed that the same sort of unanswered questions and queries often seem to come up.

Most people are happy to accept that the climate is indeed changing, but for many they struggle to come to terms with the fact that human beings are the main drivers.

“Surely we can’t be having such a big impact all on our own?”. “Climate change is a natural process anyway isn’t it?”. “I’ll be happy to have a bit more warm weather anyway!!!”

There’s a lot of confusion, but hopefully with the help of an infographic, we’ll be able to clear things up a little.

CLIMATE CHANGE INFOGRAPHIC

Back in May/June of this year, I spent a couple of weeks working in the computer room with a good friend, completing my final year dissertation at Imperial College.

For the project, we had to act as environmental consultants for a company with a large carbon footprint, producing a report aimed at convincing the board that climate change is in fact happening, and the recent changes are a direct consequence of human (anthropogenic) activities.

Along with the report, we had to produce an A3 graphic, summarising the key findings. I love this type of stuff, so spent quite a while collating the latest information and messing about on Inkscape.

The graphic highlights the evidence of the recent changing climate, and contrasts the impacts of human actions against natural processes. I thought I would share the finished product:

Climate change infographic - observations and origins: Infographic

Climate change infographic – observations and origins

TO SUMMARISE

The above data is a couple of months out of date now, as the executive summary of the next IPCC report has recently been released, but it is still relevant.

I hope you can see that the graphic shows that the climate problem is not going away. We have observed significant changes in the atmosphere and all other parts of the climate system, as it attempts to bring itself back to equilibrium.

Although climate change happens naturally over longer time frames, humans actions are by far the biggest drivers of the recent change, accounting for the largest portion of the radiative forcing. Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming evidence that we are the main culprits, our impact seems to be worsening.

At the end of the day, the climate will be fine. It will make the necessary adjustments to eventually bring itself back to normal, and the natural cycles will resume. However, when making these adjustments, the planet will not be concerned with the fate of us, its inhabitants – not for one second.

If we want to carry on co-existing with the planet we live on, we had better start co-operating. The Earth is starting to become pretty inhospitable, and it’s our responsibility to make a change.


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INFOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

  1. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
  2. Stevenson, D. S., Young, P. J., Naik, V., Lamarque, J. F., Shindell, D. T., Voulgarakis, A., & Wild, O. 2012. Tropospheric ozone changes, radiative forcing and attribution to emissions in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model Inter-comparison Project (ACCMIP). Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss12, 26047-26097.
  3. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NASA). 2013. Annual Mean Land-Ocean Temperature Index. World Wide Web Address: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/ZonAnn.Ts+dSST.txt. Accessed June 2013.
  4. Goudie, A. S. 2009. The human impact on the natural environment: past, present, and future. Wiley-Blackwell
  5. Holgate, S. J., & Woodworth, P. L. 2004. Evidence for enhanced coastal sea level rise during the 1990s. Geophysical Research Letters31(7).
  6. Church, J. A., & White, N. J. 2011. Sea-level rise from the late 19th to the early 21st century. Surveys in Geophysics32(4-5), 585-602.
  7. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2012. Extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST.v3b). National Climatic Data Center. World Wide Web Address: www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ersst. Accessed June 2013.
  8. Brown, R. and D. Robinson. 2011 Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover variability and change over 1922-2010 including an assessment of uncertainty. The Cryosphere, 5, 219-229.
  9. Derksen. C. & Brown. R. 2012. Snow [in Arctic Report Card 2012], World Wide Web Address: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/snow.html. Accessed June 2013.
  10. Sharp M., Wolken, G., Geai, M. L., Burgess, D. 2012. Mountain Glaciers and Ice Caps [in Arctic Report Card 2012], World Wide Web Address: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/glaciers_ice_caps.html. Accessed June 2013.
  11. Glynn, P. W. 2012. Book Chapter: Global Warming and Widespread Coral Mortality: Evidence of First Coral Reef Extinctions. In: Hannah, L. Saving a Million Species .Island Press/Center for Resource Economics. pp103
  12. Parmesan, C., & Yohe, G. 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature421(6918), 37-42.
  13. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). 2012.  The National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021
  14. Fraser, P., Krummel, P., & Steele, P. 2011. 8.1 Radiative forcing and the long-lived greenhouse gases. Climate Science Update: A Report to the 2011 Garnaut Review, 61.
Luke Jones

Luke Jones is a mover, blogger and wellness enthusiast. He spends his time exploring and sharing ideas in mindful movement, healthy living and adventure.

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