Web Design & Data Viz

Climate Change in Alberta? A Recent History of Climate Trends in Our Backyards

Created with Processing, Unfolding Maps Library, and Stamen's Toner map

Created with Processing, Unfolding Maps Library, and Stamen's Toner map

This interactive visualization shows yearly variability, climate trends, and total amount of change of 6 climate indices for all 6,834 grid locations across Alberta. The details to be discovered are as vast as the dataset. Every data point is made accessible through this interactive.

It was realized early on that the geospatial distribution of the climate data offered a unique opportunity to give all Albertans access to climate data specific to their local area. To expand on the idea of comprehensively representing the selected data set, the visualization was designed to provide the full details of the climate data for each 10km2 location. To manage the large scope of information, I used the organizational method from Ben Shniederman’s Information Seeking Mantra: overview first, zoom and filter, then details on demand. This breakdown formed a basic narrative through which to progressively introduce features of the data in increasing detail.

The visualization first steps the user through selecting a location to look at, and then providing one climate index for the chosen location. In this simple frame, the user can digest the basics of the visualization. First the trend and variability line, and to the right the amount of change. As the user becomes familiar with the interface, they begin to add other climate indices to the visualization, seeing how each one plots on the scale in comparison with the others.