In Brief
2016 was a year of record-breaking temperatures all across the globe. To help visualize the state of climate change, Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist, compiled compelling graphics of global temperature spikes and its effects.

Last year was certainly a hot one. Month after month, 2016 continually saw spiking record temperatures across the globe. Perhaps these clear consequences of global climate change can be attributed to public opinion shifting in favor of recognizing that the planet is warming and we humans are at fault.

Still, part of the reason that climate change denialism continues to hang on is that global warming is often difficult to visualize, especially if its direct effects are not personally experienced. It’s easy for skeptics to cling to images of lawmakers standing on Capital Hill with a snowball, claiming to disprove climate change or spreading the message that the EPA is “brainwashing” people.

Ed Hawkins is a climate scientist at the University of Reading and appreciates the power of a good visualization. He compiled his favorite graphics and visualizations from last year into a series of tweets. Here are some of the highlights.

NASA also appreciates and understands the power of visualization. They recently compiled a collection of before and after photos to show the devastating effects that human activity is having on the environment.

2017 will no doubt bring with it a new crop of graphics, but a lot of work must be done to ensure that these extreme patterns change.