With the Copenhagen climate talks starting this week, we felt it was fitting to examine some data on climate change at home. With data downloaded from the Met Office, we have constructed a viz that allows you to see climate change over the past century at over 50 locations nationwide. The data tells an interesting story: mousing over the trend line will show you that temperatures have risen an average of .15 degrees every decade since 1900.

The first thing that struck me about this visualization was the difference in temperature change between regions. In my native Northwest, temperatures have been rising at a rate of .06 degrees a decade - less than half the national average. However, those in New England have experienced temperature rises of .3 degrees a decade which is more than twice the national average.


Although it's usually not a good idea, this might be one of those times when it makes sense to truncate the y-axis; when all the data for every city are displayed, it's really impossible to tell what's going on.

No matter how cogent the visualization, it is really only as good as its underlying data, and this viz begs the question of where the temperature sensors are located--after all, there's been quite a scandal recently about agencies truncating the number of sensors, which fudges the outcome. Also, as cities have grown, what do you expect the temperature to do in and near them, drop?