Two new videos visualize how drastically global temperatures have changed since 1900 — and how much worse they will get by the end of this century. The data visualizations, created by Antti Lipponen, a research scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, depict 200 years of climate change in each of the world’s 191 countries in less than a minute.
“Rapid global warming really exists, has been global in the past, and has affected all the countries in the world,” Lipponen told Yale Environment 360. “Unfortunately, the future does not look different — temperatures will continue rising rapidly and all countries will be affected by climate change.”
The videos are updates of previous visualizations by Lipponen, now with future temperature projections from the latest climate model scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in which greenhouse gas emissions peak around 2040 and then start to decrease. Despite some climate change mitigation efforts since the Paris Agreement in 2015, global emissions are still rising, reaching a record high 37.1 billion tons of CO2 in 2018.
The visualizations make clear that despite year-to-year variations, countries across the globe have already experienced significant warming since the beginning of the 20th century, particularly from the 1980s onward. But they also powerfully put into perspective how extreme the temperature changes expected over the next 80 years will be. In Finland, for example, temperatures are projected to increase more than 4.5 degrees Celsius (8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 compared with the 1951-1980 average, Lipponen said. The United States is expected to see an increase of more than 3.5 degrees C (6.3 degrees F) by the end of the century.
“I find it scary that these numbers actually correspond to a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions are peaking in about 20 years and then… start to decrease,” he said.
Lipponen has shared his videos using Flickr’s Creative Commons, which encourages people to copy, adapt, and build on the material.