The twitter storming temperature spiral animation created by University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkins that went viral on the internet has been updated and pushed into the future by the US Geological Survey.
The new temperature spiral animation takes the scariest of the emission scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and adds it to the original Hawkins spiral. Hawkins described his animated spiral as presenting “global temperature change in a visually appealing and straightforward way” and it was retweeted thousands of times on Twitter.
The original animation showed how global temperatures have risen since 1850 and put them in the context of the global target limit of a 2oC rise in global temperatures above those of the pre-industrial era. The data for the Hawkins spiral came from global monthly average temperatures from January 1850 to March 2016 is taken from the UK Meteorological Office’s HadCRUT4.4 temperature analysis. It is displayed as a variance, or anomaly, relative to the mean global temperature between 1850 and 1900.
The updated spiral from the US Geological Survey portrays the simulated changes in the global averaged monthly air temperature from 1850 through 2100 and also does it relative to the 1850 – 1900 average. The temperature data are from Community Climate System (CCSM4) global climate model maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The simulation is for the IPCC Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) emission scenario. RCP8.5 is the most aggressive scenario in which green house gases continue to rise unchecked through the end of the century, leading to an equivalent of about 1370 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, which is roughly four times the concentration at present, according to the US Geological Survey.
US Geological Survey website.
Our first story on the Hawkins spiral here.