Global warming in one unmistakably compelling chart

If you have any doubt the balance of the globe has warmed over the last century, view this chart:

Produced by NASA, the chart illustrates how temperatures have compared to “normal” (or the 1951-1980 average) from 1880 to present, from pole to pole (-90 latitude to 90 latitude).

From the 1880 to the 1920s, blue and green shades dominate the chart, signaling cooler than normal temperatures in that era.  Then, from the 1930s to the 1970s, warmer yellow, oranges, and reds shades ooze in, balancing the cooler shades.

But since the 1970s, the blue and green shades rapidly erode and oranges and reds take over, dramatically.

The rapid warming at the northern high latitudes especially jumps out in recent decades, reflecting “Arctic amplification” or more intense warming in the Arctic.  Although the warming is most pronounced up north, it is apparent at almost every latitude.

(And yes, you can even sense the much discussed slow-down in the rate of warming over the last 10-20 years as the coverage of oranges and reds has remained pretty static)

Of course, it is widely accepted the Earth has warmed in the last century.  Or, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put it in 2007, the warming of the climate system is “unequivocal.”

But even as the debate has moved on from whether warming has occurred to the effects, there remain some doubters.  Show them this this chart – it packs an incredible amount of data into one tidy, irrefutable visual.

Chart hat tip: Michael Tobis

Related: You can’t deny global warming after seeing this graph (Ezra Klein, Wonk Blog)

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