The news that 2017 was either the second or third-warmest year on record, depending on the agency doing the official tallying, is not shocking. The past three years were each among the top three warmest on record, with 2016 coming out as the clear winner.
To climate scientists, individual years and where they rank are not particularly significant. Instead, it is the long-term trend that matters, and that’s what has climate scientists so concerned about our future.
SEE ALSO: 2017 was one of Earth’s top 3 hottest years on record, which should come as no surprise
But how do you bring those long-term trends down to Earth for the average person? It’s one thing to say that our world is warming, but it’s another to truly drive that home for people who may not have a master’s degree in climate science, or be obsessively following this field online.
Climate researcher Ed Hawkins has become well-known throughout the atmospheric science community for his visualizations of temperature, sea ice, and other data describing our warming world. On Thursday, as news broke of the 2017 rankings, he released updated graphics.