What climate visualization changed your perspective?

I work in digital product design, so I'm always thinking about subtle ways to make complex interactions feel simple and intuitive. When I see a cool infographic or visualization, my heart beats a little faster. 

That's why I was so impressed to see the New York Times recent article, The Stakes in the Paris Climate Deal, showing the importance of the United States' role in reducing carbon emissions. This interactive visualization makes it plain and clear how the US is the world's second largest carbon polluter (behind China, who quite unlike the US under Trump, has pledged to become the global leader in carbon reductions). 

The data and scenarios for this powerful visualization were created using MIT's C-ROADS, a free, open source, award-winning computer simulator that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This software has been used extensively to help world leaders in government and industry rapidly test strategies for tackling climate change. It quite literally created consensus in Paris by helping everyone see the issues in the same way. It's a simple, straighforward tool to help make a complex problem more understandable. 

ClimateX had a chance to sit down and chat with Travis Franck, who helped develop the tool, a few months ago. He's a great guy, who had some very interesting things to say about C-ROADS. To me, its inspiring to hear about someone who creates software that uses visualizations to truly changes people's perceptions about something so abstract and complex as climate change.

We'll share this video interview with Travis in the next couple weeks -- keep a look out for it! 




Curt Newton's picture

I'm a fan of visualizations

I'm a fan of visualizations that give a visceral sense of time's passage, as time scales are so important to understanding many aspects of the climate challenge.

 For instance, this one of top 10 country CO2 emitters starting in 1850: https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/astonishingadmirablechinchilla

And living in a coastal area near Boston, I like (or more accurately, can't look away from) sea level rise maps, like Climate Central's Surging Seas tool. Nothing like imagining some of my favorite places underwater to keep me motivated :)