Global temperature change visualised using climate stripes (1850-2023) © Ed Hawkins, University of Reading

Show your stripes 2024: a darker shade of red

by Kirsty McCabe, FRMetS


Since their creation in 2018, the 'warming stripes' created by Climate Scientist and Society Fellow, Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading) have become an iconic and brilliant way to communicate climate change. 


Global temperature change (1850-2023)
Global temperature change (1850-2023) © Ed Hawkins, University of Reading


Ed's simple striking visualisation doesn’t need words or numbers, it is simply a series of vertical coloured bars that shows the change in average annual temperatures since 1850. Each bar, or stripe, represents the temperature in a city, country or continent averaged over a year. Red stripes indicate hotter years, and the blue stripes show cooler years, against the average of the period 1961-2010.


For virtually every country, region or city, the stripes turn from mainly blue to mainly red in recent decades, illustrating the rapid rise in average temperatures.



But after 2023’s extreme heat, the global climate stripes for 2023 were so red-hot they were off the scale, requiring a new darker shade of red. While Ed was aware that this was likely to happen in the future, he wasn’t expecting it quite so soon. 


“This was always going to happen at some point, given the continued increase in global greenhouse gases, and is in line with what scientists have been predicting for decades. But the margin of record breaking in 2023 has still been a surprise.” 
— Prof Ed Hawkins


Temperature change in United Kingdom since 1884
© Ed Hawkins, University of Reading


Each year, 21 June marks #ShowYourStripes day. Meteorologists and scientists around the world share the warming stripes to start conversations about climate change, promote awareness of the climate crisis, and stress the urgent need to take action now.



So look out for the stripes on landmarks, buildings and monuments around the world, or download the images (all updated using 2023 data) and use #ShowYourStripes on social media to share the stripes for your city or country on 21 June.


Categories: Climate In the Spotlight Weather
Tags: Climate Climate Change Extreme Weather Heatwaves News Temperature WorldWeather

Our other Climate articles