Climate visualizations

Making data experiential

Authored by: Heather Houser

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138786745
eBook ISBN: 9781315766355
Adobe ISBN: 9781317660194


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In environmental discourse, information visualizations can relay data and create critical flashpoints for establishing public opinion, corporate agendas, and policy positions. 1 Arctic ice melt and rebound, the rate of ocean acidification, correlations between temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations: these phenomena rarely move out of their localities into a discursive space unless they are quantified and visualized. These visualizations have become staples of environmental discourse, especially on climate change. However, in Johanna Drucker’s assessment, “we seem ready and eager to suspend critical judgment in a rush to visualization” (126). There is no doubt that this rush is on. Visualization consulting firms and in-house visualizers abound, and their information graphics now make up a significant portion of Internet users’ media consumption.

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