Four Degrees Warmer: An Interactive Map

[A more complete riff on the interactive Hadley Climate Change Map (see below) has just gone up over at I've reposted some excerpts below. See the full piece here.]

Unless we act now, our children will live in a significantly warmer world. To get an idea of what the cost of inaction means for future generations, the climate research team at the United Kingdom's Met Office Hadley Centre released an impressive interactive map of what a warmer world will look like. The dollar-store summary is that a world at +4°C/7°F isn't pretty.

Where the map hits hardest is its ability to show multiple threats at the same time, many intersecting simultaneously on the same regions. For example, Sub Saharan Africa will be hit by droughts, crop failures, forest fires and suffer from a decrease in overall water availability. (1.5 billion people will live there by 2050.) North America will experience heatwaves, drought, crop failures, cyclone related damages, and fisheries collapse. The world's production of staple grains will decrease by 40 percent, thawing permafrost will destabilize settlements in the far north, and heatwaves (some 10°C hotter than usual) will scorch North American and European cities.

Imagining a world (or your particular city or country) under these conditions is a frightening thought experiment.

As these types of high-tech, global maps become an increasingly common part of all of our lives, what types of imagined communities are they going to allow us to create? What world changing types of political action will they make possible? And will they come soon enough?


3 Responses to "Four Degrees Warmer: An Interactive Map"

Anonymous said... 27 October 2009 at 09:58

Hegemony of status quo developed countries' lifestyles (ie. totally equipped independent single adult or single family homes) combined with municipal building codes [designed to carry = encourage use of highest levels of resources] & ever mounting excessive levels of materials choice has created bubbles of gigantic "Goff" spaces (suburbs) wherein privileged class take pride in having achieved such comfort levels piously patting themselves on the back for their success, teaching & learning from each other cleverly rehearsed "pat" dismissive replies to protect their spaces which have become hypnotically circular & closed, a class of "professionals" "educated" & "cultured" [with their targeted population being constantly stimulated & carefully desensitized.] What will it take to open the eyes & hearts of comfortably materially hypnotized young adults who see their parents reading or receiving on their Blackberries, listening to, or watching: only financially pertinent information for their brokers, or the news that reflects their life choices--remotes, wireless controls everywhere switching channels: neutralizing outward looking curiosity, withering immediately any momentary willingness to believe that personal engagement could help their own personal future.

Alex Aylett said... 28 October 2009 at 14:24

Wow, what a long sentence!
But I really like the mention of Goff space. It's a good way to describe the way in which we all start to take certain levels of consumption for granted. They become part of our almost subconscious perception of what is 'normal' and we then feel very uncomfortable when those norms are intruded on or changed.

Anonymous said... 31 October 2009 at 09:17

astonishing technical achievement:
this interactive map needs to be installed on giant screens around the world on skyscraper multi-screen boards like in Tokyo,& popular destinations such as London's "Millenium Dome" that can be seen from a distance projected through from the inside to the outside; drawing people from afar [where, then, inside, at smaller screens their curiosity will be engaged for that magically short period of time needed to keep their imagination participating]. truly sustained interaction alone at home on a personal computer cannot provide that experiential lasting "hormonal rush" of belonging to a crowd (read:community) discovering, experiencing willingly a binding recognition, a bond with humanity (not strangers but all the people just like us) in communion there beside each other in shock, awe, belief: followed by head nodding, eyes connecting, discussion, exchanging names & numbers and handshaking commitment [perhaps seeded by behavioural examples shown in orchestrated publicity in the media over sustained periods]


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