Hadley Centre Global Climate Change Visualizations
The Hadley Centre for Climate Research is a specialist group of the UK Met Office involved with ongoing research into global climate prediction. They have produced several climate models including HadCM1, HadCM2, HadCM3 and HadGEM.
The goal of our work is to show their data in an easily understandable manner with enough visual impact to grab the attention of their audience at conferences such as the United Nations Conference of the Parties. The full model and simulation generates many variables including temperature, precipitation, river flow, wind, ocean flow, soil moisture and sea levels.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has previously issued the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios" (SRES) which examines future greenhouse gas emissions with scenarios derived from consistent sets of assumptions about:
- Energy Use
- Population Growth
- Economic Development
- A variety of possible world-views
- Does not include any global policy to reduce emissions
A1 Scenario - Rapid Convergent Growth
- Rapid Economic Growth
- Global Population that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter
- Rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies.
There are variants of this scenario: A1FI, A1B and A1T. The differences between A1FI, A1B and A1T and scenarios mainly cover the source of energy used to drive expanding economy:
- A1FI is Fossil-fuel Intensive - Coal, Oil and Gas - dominate the energy supply.
- A1B is Balance between fossil fuels and other energy sources
- A1T has emphasis on new Technology using renewable energy rather than fossil fuel.
A2 Scenario - Fragmented World
The A2 scenario describes a very heterogeneous world:
- Theme is self-reliance and preservation of local identities
- Fertility patterns across regions converge very slowly.
- Continuously increasing global population.
- Economic development is regionally oriented
- Per capita economic growth and technological change are more fragmented
Goal of Visualizations
Our goal was to produce simple, effective and easily understandable animations and deliver the message with impact. The Hadley Centre then present the animations to research colleagues, UN affiliates and other politicians. For example they have been shown to the UK Government which helped persuade them to make policy changes.
Interactive and then batch visualization processing is used to perfect and then create the large number of output frames. The final step composites and compiles them into common video formats e.g., DivX.
The latest work has produced animations for the following datasets:
- Global Temperature for 1860 - 2099
- Global Precipitation for 1860 - 2099
- Global Broadleaf Coverage for 1900 - 2099
- Global Sea-Ice Coverage for 1860 - 2099
- Global River Flow for 1860 - 2099
Global Sea-Ice Coverage A1B and A2
These animations show March v September ice coverage. March is end of winter, when the Arctic Ice sheet is at its maximum and September is end of summer, when the Arctic ice sheet is at its minimum. It can be clearly seen that there is a dramatic reduction in size of ice sheets in both scenarios.
Global Temperature A1B and A2
These animations show temperature change up to 2099. The data peaks at around +15°C. For each scenario there are three rotating views focusing on a) the equator, b) the Arctic and c) the Antarctic.
The data and visualizations are printed with the kind permission of the Hadley Centre for Climate Research and the UK Met Office.