17. januar 2017

The Climate Change story in one image

The online climate change debate is an exhausting place to navigate: From doomsday-preppers to conservative-ostriches all fighting for a few seconds of attention. Here is my contribution to global warming today:

The climate change story in one image

UAH LT 1979 thru December 2016 v6

In this post I thought I'd just look at the power of data visualisation in telling the story about global warming, or trying to obfuscate that story with exactly the same data. I made the above chart using the same dataset as the below chart which is a visualisation of global temperature data often linked to by skeptics. These charts are created from the exact same published data set called UAH LT v6 (See bottom of post for additional details).

The noisy chart by Roy Spencer
Raw data: http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tlt/uahncdc_lt_6.0.txt  

In the context of the climate change skeptic viewpoint I have often seen this chart used to flag that 2016 is within statistical margin of error no warmer than 1998 and that December 2016 was cold and thus "There is no warming trend!"

While the chart shows the published data it uses at least these methods to obfuscate the Global Warming trend in the data:
  • Large visual weight on individual monthly averages as blue dots
    • Adds to the impression that there is a lot of noise in the data and confuses the picture as global warming is discussed in yearly averages over decades. 
  • Annotates a 13-month running average with red
    • Climate change is normally discussed as 30 year or longer trends.
  • Plots every gridline label
    • Adds to the noisy and detailed ("sciency") impression and hides the yearly average.
  • A wide aspect and long x-axis range
    • Reduces the visual impact of the temperature trend.
  • Annotates the month of December 2016
    • The average of December 2016 does not say anything about the average of 2016 nor the climate trend. It appears as a decoy to re-frame the discussion away from the trend and over to the peaks in '98 & '16 that are El Niño events. 
The author of the noisy chart is the co-author of the actual dataset, yet his University presents the very same data with a clear visual emphasis on the increasing trend using a different chart:

Global temperature trend

Climate change is the story of the year
For me the climate change theme provides an abundance of interesting and challenging topics to explore: How to use data visualisations to tell the climate story, citizen science projects contributing data, the challenge of linking global policy with everyones daily life, how to handle impossible So-Me discussions and much more ...

17. januar 2016

Deconstructed Piano - Or demolition by heat guns

A sort of sadistic deconstruction of a Piano. The patterns that are revealed while scorching the wood would be fantastic for an additional close up study!

Exploring Quora

Lately I've found myself using Quora more and more (https://www.quora.com/profile/Knut-Karlsen). Looks like an interesting place to be both to scratch professional itches as well as learn of interesting topics from knowledgeable people. It would be an even better place if we could get more traction from outside of the US.
Picture not related.

25. juni 2015

Download 60 fps cloud time-lapse (1080p60)

Trying out some time-lapse recording again: This clip was recorded on a Canon Legria HF200 (i.e. nothing fancy) and processed in After Effects CC 2015. The raw material was quite noisy, even for a bright summer day, but the de-graining in AFX wasn't too shabby.

Download the clip here

3. august 2013

Spectacular clouds over Oslo today

Panorama of ominous rain clouds over Oslo, Norway 3. August 2013 (Photo by Knut Karlsen)

A few minutes later and we are expecting the alien mother ship to break through. (Photo by Knut Karlsen)