‘Show your stripes’ day on 21 June, is a global climate change campaign that highlights the ‘warming stripes’ created by Professor Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading in 2018.
The concept was to create a clear visual that represents how the average temperatures have risen over almost two centuries. The design is updated each year with the latest colour data to highlight the dramatic increase in the global temperature on a year-on-year basis.
The design includes data from as far back as 1850, towards the end of the industrial revolution, through to 2022. The first 50% of the design is almost exclusively darker shades of blue, which quickly transforms into paler shades from around 1930 through to the 70s. The first red stripe appears at around 1980, with only five more blue stripes in the following decades – none after 2000.
Global vs regional stripes
The #ShowYourStripes website (https://showyourstripes.info/) offers the option to generate the warming stripe design by region. You can select each continent/region or more specifically search by country/s.
When comparing the continents available you can see that even though the variety in reds and blues differ across the globe, the overall pattern of transitioning from the blue stripes to dark red ones is identical across each region.
Many scientists are attributing the warming of our globe to biodiversity loss. The biodiversity stripes, created in 2022, reflect the same story as the warming stripes and confirm what scientists have been warning; as the world warms, we are losing biodiversity.
The biodiversity stripes cover a shorter time period, from 1970 to 2018/19 (dependant on chosen focus area) but still show a clear picture – biodiversity is quickly falling.
The data for these designs was taken from the Living Planet Index, which also highlights that the population of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles has seen an average decline of 69% globally since 1970.
Similarly to the warming stripes, the biodiversity stripes use colours to represent levels – darker greens being the highest levels and darker greys showing the most decline. Gradually the greens have reduced, and the graph has been almost entirely grey or dark yellow for around two decades.
On the website, you are again able to define the stripes based on different parameters, including individual regions, and UK specific data such as farmland birds, moths, and priority species.
Credit: LPI 2022. Living Planet Index database. 2022. (www.livingplanetindex.org)