Take Your Mind Off Global Catastrophe. Try Climate Change Crochet

May 23, 2018

climatecrochet3

My wife says I need to back away from obsessive concerns about climate change.
Think I’ll take up knitting.

EllieHighwood:

Q. What do you get when you cross crochet and climate science?

A. A lot of attention on Twitter.

At the weekend I like to crochet. Last weekend I finished my latest project and posted the picture on Twitter. And then had to turn the notifications off because it all went a bit noisy. The picture of my “global warming blanket” rapidly became my top tweet ever, with more retweets and likes than anything else. Apparently I had found a creative way to visualise trends in global mean temperature. I particularly liked the “this is the most frightening knitwear I have seen all year” comment. Given the interest on Twitter I thought I had better answer a few of the questions in this blog. Also, it would be great if global warming blankets appeared all over the world.

supportdarksnow

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA?

The global warming blanket was based on “temperature” blankets made by crocheters around the world. Their blankets consist of one row, or square, of crochet each day, coloured according to the temperature at their location  . They look amazing and show both the annual cycle and day-to-day variability. Other people make “sky” blankets where the colours are based on the sky colour of the day – this results in a more muted grey-blue-white colour palette.

I wondered what the global temperature series would look like as a blanket. Also, global warming is often explained as greenhouse gases acting like a blanket, trapping infrared radiation and keeping the Earth warm. So that seemed like an interesting link. I also had done several rainbow themed blankets in the past and had a lot of yarn left that needed using.

WHERE DID THE DATA COME FROM?

I used the annual and global mean temperature anomaly compared to 1900-2000 mean as a reference period as available from NOAA https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/global/globe/land_ocean/ytd/12/1880-2016. This is what the data looks like shown more conventionally.

globalwarmingblanketgraph

I then devised a colour scale using 15 different colours each representing a 0.1 °C data bin. So everything between 0 and 0.099 was in one colour for example. Making a code for these colours, the time series can be rewritten as in the table below. It is up to the creator to then choose the colours to match this scale, and indeed which years to include. I was making a baby sized blanket so chose the last 100 years, 1916-2016.

climatecrochet2

If you look closely you can see the 1997-1998 El Nino (relatively warm yellow stripe), 1991/92 Pinatubo eruption (relatively cool pink year) as well as cool periods 1929, and 1954-56 and the relatively warm 1940-46. Remember that these are global temperature anomalies and may not match your own personal experience at a given location!

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4 Responses to “Take Your Mind Off Global Catastrophe. Try Climate Change Crochet”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Outstanding find, Peter! Someone should start making and selling global warming blankets, t-shirts, and flags, A good fund-raiser for some environmental group? Celebrities making the rounds of the late night TV shows wearing or waving them and talking about it might get some attention. I’d sell my Solar Roadway stock in a heartbeat and invest in Global Warming Apparel LTD.

  2. pendantry Says:

    This is cool… errr… warm.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    It’s May in Austin. I won’t be using a blanket here for the next 5 months.


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