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Why ‘warming stripes’ become the new global warming sign

Why 'warming stripes' became the new global warming sign | Envirocote

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Why ‘warming stripes’ became the new global warming sign | Envirocote

You’ve undoubtedly seen them on a climate march poster, on a US senator’s badge, during Fashion Week, or even on a football player’s shirt.

These ‘warming stripes,’ as they are now known, have become a new emblem to depict global warming. So, where are they from, and what do they mean?

These stripes resemble a barcode, with lines that get progressively red from left to right. The so-called “warming stripes” have grown in popularity and are now one of the most widely used emblems of global warming. And because it was built by British climatologist Ed Hawkins, a professor at the University of Reading, this graphic portrayal is based on real material.

The scientist, who also co-authored the previous two IPCC assessments, created these ‘climate stripes’ in 2018, omitting out words and statistics on purpose. “Just a series of vertical coloured bars demonstrating the gradual heating of our globe in a single, dramatic graphic,” Ed Hawkins says on the University of Reading website.

The goal of these ‘climate stripes’ is to show how average global temperatures have risen over nearly two centuries in a straightforward and stunning fashion. It begins in the 1850s, with blue stripes on the far left of the image, and lasts until the 2010s.

Each band reflects the average temperature of a certain year in relation to the average temperature of the whole period. Blue hues suggest colder years, whereas red hues indicate warmer years. According to Ed Hawkins, “the striking band of deep red stripes on the right-hand side of the illustration reflect the accelerated heating of our globe in recent decades.”

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The warming stripes image has gone viral since its debut in 2018. It is now visible everywhere, whether on the cover of Greta Thunberg’s new book, on the jerseys of Reading’s football club, during London Fashion Week, or elsewhere.

Brands were likewise keen to capitalise on the image. Warming stripes are now extensively used on merchandise such as mugs, T-shirts, pin badges… and even masks! While some may see this marketing use as greenwashing, it can equally be claimed that the democratisation of this symbol is aiding in the mental anchoring of the climate catastrophe.

According to Ed Hawkins, “Stripes graphics for more than 200 nations, states, and towns are available to download for free from the #ShowYourStripes website.”

People from all over the world can watch how their homes heat up and share the photographs, which helps to spark talks about climate change. Within a week of the site’s introduction in 2019, more than a million individuals downloaded visuals. ” And this isn’t the first time the researcher has done something like this.

Why 'warming stripes' became the new global warming sign | Envirocote
Why ‘warming stripes’ became the new global warming sign | Envirocote

He devised an animated ‘climate spiral’ portraying global warming a few years ago, which was shown in 2016 at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio.

Although it is a beautiful and emotive design, it has not achieved the same degree of success as its stripey predecessor.

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