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New climate ‘stripes’ reveal how much hotter your hometown has gotten in the past century

A social media campaign called #ShowYourStripes is flooding the climate science community with beautiful blue and red striped barcodelike images, each of which represents more than a century of temperature data for virtually all countries and all 50 U.S. states. (The stripes visualizing global warming since 1850 are above.)

Inspired to create visually elegant and shareable climate data, climate scientist Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom created the “warming stripes,” which use bands of color to indicate warming or cooling temperatures from 1901 to 2018, last year. Just last week, Hawkins unveiled, allowing anyone to download and post their region’s stripy climate data.

The site has logged more than 1 million downloads, from more than 180 countries. Offline, the stripes have decorated ties, cufflinks, a Tesla in Minnesota, and a German music festival’s stage. Through a campaign led by nonprofit ClimateCentral, more than 100 TV meteorologists in the United States and abroad have featured the stripes, which have been retweeted thousands of times.

The campaign hasn’t been without its detractors, however. Some have worried that warming stripes of individual countries or states, taken out of context, could advance the idea that global temperatures aren’t rising. Others say the charts should include axes or a legend. But J. Marshall Shepherd, former president of the American Meteorological Society in Boston, has commended Hawkins for his “innovative” approach and “outstanding science communication” effort.