West Palm Beach broadcast meteorologist Jeff Berardelli (CBS12) with the warming-stripes graphic being used in the Meteorologists United on Climate Change campaign on 21 June 2018. Photo: Jeff Berardelli

By Bob Henson
20 June 2018

(Weather Underground) – Close to 100 broadcast meteorologists will don blue and red stripes for their on-air segments Thursday as part of an international effort to raise awareness of the reality of human-produced climate change. The campaign, Meteorologists United on Climate Change, is scheduled for June 21, the Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice, when sizzling temperatures and the risks of extreme heat are already on people’s minds. The project’s Twitter hashtag is #MetsUnite.

The visual centerpiece of the campaign is the instantly iconic “warming stripes” graphic. It was created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins, a professor at the University of Reading and a principal researcher at the U.K.’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science. Perhaps his best-known graphic is the “warming spiral” animation (see embedded tweet below), which has been viewed millions of times since its debut in 2016.

The warming-stripes graphic includes one colored stripe for each year of global temperature from 1850 to 2017, as calculated by the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, with the colors changing from blue to red as temperatures rise. Another version of the graphic includes each year of temperature data from 1772 to 2017 from the Central England Temperature dataset, the longest instrumental temperature record on Earth.

“I wanted to communicate temperature changes in a way that was simple and intuitive, removing all the distractions of standard climate graphics so that the long-term trends and variations in temperature are crystal clear,” said Hawkins in an email. “Our visual system will do the interpretation of the stripes without us even thinking about it.”

Meteorologists United on Climate Change is the brainchild of Jeff Berardelli, a weathercaster at CBS12 (WPEC) in West Palm Beach, Florida. To help his colleagues spread the word graphically, Berardelli arranged for a variety of items, from ties and pins to coffee mugs and mouse pads, to be made available through the online marketer Zazzle.com.

“Traditionally [broadcasts] meteorologists have shied away from climate change communication,” said Berardelli in an email. “Some don’t want to turn away unreceptive viewers, while others may feel that they don’t have a firm enough grasp on all the particulars. But the time has come for meteorologists to step up to the plate. This is our day job, and our reach as a group is vast. If we do not take the helm, who will do it?” [more]

Stripes for the Solstice: Meteorologists United on Climate Change

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