Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
The Earth is burning up. Polar bears are flocking to cities in hunt of food. The Amazon rainforest, which plays a pivotal role in maintaining our environment’s health, is on fire.
We’re unequivocally in a climate crisis. But it can be difficult to put such matters into perspective from the comfort of your home.
Therefore, if you’re still not convinced or you would like to understand how awful the situation is now, here are a bunch of websites to visualize the devastating effects of global warming and climate change.
NASA offers an exhaustive tool for exploring how global warming is transforming the planet.
The site hosts a treasure trove of real-time climatic data. It lets you easily visualize all that information through powerful and interactive graphics. On the home page, you’ll also find quick charts detailing the levels of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide, global temperature, sea levels, and more.
Climate Time Machine is one such app. As the name suggests, the visualization allows you to understand the differences between the amount of sea ice, carbon dioxide, sea level, and global temperatures today and years ago. You can manually adjust the slider and view the changes on the map.
Similarly, there’s Earth Now, a 3D interactive web app which puts the live data from every NASA satellite at your disposal. You can animate the information by moving a slider to a custom time period and watch variations in the ozone layer, carbon dioxide levels, and others change over time.
2. Shame Plane
We don’t think about an airplane’s carbon emissions when we board a flight. But we should as air travel is one of the most environmentally damaging activities. It consumes an incredibly high quantity of fossil fuels and releases harmful gases in the atmosphere.
A site called Shame Plane helps you grasp how destructive any flight will be to the environment. You can specify the origin and destination and Shame Plane will tell you the route’s impact in a meaningful format.
So a round trip from New York to Los Angeles will result in the loss of 12.3 metric square of Arctic Ice. On top of that, you can learn the number of lifestyle alterations you will have to implement in order to compensate for a flight’s carbon emissions.
For New York to Los Angeles, even if you recycle, go vegetarian, live car-free for a year, you will still fall short. In addition, you’ll find details on how a trip stacks up against your yearly carbon emission allowance as per the Paris Agreement.
If ocean levels continue to rise, cities situated on the banks of oceans and seas are at the risk of being flooded.
EarthTime animates these predictions and shows you what exactly will happen to them when the temperatures hit a certain threshold. On the map, you will be able to see which areas will be submerged underwater and their at-risk population.
EarthTime has several other stories you can browse and look into.
This handy website gets you up to speed with climate change’s consequences and the actions or initiatives taken to combat them so far.
Called The Point Of No Return, the project cleverly lays out the phenomenon’s timeline through charts, infographics, and interactive elements. It showcases information on contributions and funds allocated by various countries.
Plus, the site briefs you on the annual Conference of Parties (COP) reports. They provide a rundown of the themes, programs, and duties each nation has discussed and accepted.
ShowYourStripes can produce a striped pattern based on a country’s average temperature in the last two centuries. It assigns a color between blue and red to a specific year depending on the place’s climate at that time.
Once all the periods are evaluated, the app stitches them together and generates the picture. Instead of picking one country, you can also set the region to Global.
The image has a resolution close to 4K and there’s a direct Download Image button. Therefore, you can even set it as your device’s backdrop or print it as a poster.
If you still haven’t been able to grasp the realities of climate change, you need National Geographic’s starter guide.
It teaches you the foundational concepts through a straightforward visual interface. The online magazine comprises of seven decks, each accompanied by animations, and concise explanations.
The guide touches upon topics such as the surge in carbon emissions through the last few years, climate-related disasters, species extinctions, depressions in animal and plant populations, and more.
This is like the EarthTime tool we discussed earlier. It enables you to visualize the effects of rising sea levels for a location.
However, Mapping Choices goes a step further by letting you compare two scenarios and their potential impact on a location. For instance, you can pick Minor Carbon Cuts and Extreme Carbon Cuts and view their results side-by-side.
Other visualization choices here are Historic Carbon Pollution, Moderate Carbon Cuts, and Unchecked Pollution. In addition, you lock in a specific sea level rise and co-relate it to carbon emission levels to understand the extent of any havoc.
The University of Maryland’s tool allows you to imagine what the climate at a region will feel like in 60 years. Instead of directly putting up a number, it tells you where you can experience that climate today.
Let’s say you search for New York City. The site will take you to Jonesboro, Arkansas as that’s what NYC will potentially feel like in 2080.
There are a couple of filters you can take advantage of. You can set the emissions level and the level of detail to understand future forecasts.
Use Climate Change Tools to Understand Global Warming
Climate change is real, and these web apps illustrate the severity of the matter. But there’s still hope and even as individuals, we can do a lot. Here are a bunch of climate change tools to understand and fight global warming.