This captivating video created by Antti Lipponen visualizes more than 100 years of temperature change in 191 countries in just 35 seconds.
Lipponen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, used publicly available data from NASA to demonstrate the rising temperatures across the world.
This isn’t the first time the story of global warming has been told with the help of a mesmerizing graphic. Last year, Brad Plumer wrote for Vox about a viral GIF created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins, and David Roberts wrote about a set of clever climate GIFs inspired by the one Hawkins made.
Hawkins’s 2016 GIF showed the rise in global temperature from 1850 to 2016 but didn’t disaggregate by country like Lipponen’s does. Still, Plumer’s description of it is useful for understanding what Lipponen’s video shows:
Global warming isn't a smooth process, and there are fluctuations from year to year due to internal variability (e.g., changes in the sun's intensity, volcanic eruptions, or shifts in the amount of heat stored in deeper layers of the ocean). But as we keep adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and keep trapping extra heat on Earth, that effect eventually dominates, pushing overall temperatures higher and higher. The spiral moves outward.
In Lipponen’s graphic, the color and length of a bar represent the same thing: the average temperature anomaly of each country each year.
By using anomaly data (instead of absolute temperature data), Lipponen makes it easy to see how each country’s temperature at any given point differs from a baseline.
Admittedly, if you’re trying to get an idea of what this all means for global temperature rise, you can’t just average the bars. Some relatively smaller temperature rises in large countries contribute more to mean global temperature than do larger rises in smaller countries. And different regions are affected differently by climate change.
But a broad trend is startlingly clear, and Lipponen inserts a smaller graphic in the upper right-hand corner to show it: It’s getting hotter all around the world.