Forecasting Change: Show your stripes 2022

Stripes represent warming since 1850

Tom Sorrells

ORLANDO, Fla. – Did you see me “Showing My Stripes” this week? I posted the picture above on Facebook and other social media sites Tuesday afternoon.

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I posted it on the first day of summer to draw attention to the warming our planet has undergone in the Industrial Age. Other TV meteorologists across the country did the same thing. These stripes indicate the warming each year since the 1850s. The last few years are among the hottest ever recorded. The graphic below shows a better view of the pin I am holding. The year 2021 has been added at the end. Last year was not as hot as 2016.

Warming Stripes

A blue stripe represents a below-average temperature year, and a red stripe represents an above-average year. Notice that the stripe for 2021 is dark red. The departure from average is impressive and scary.

Below is a bar graph that shows the warming trend in numbers from 1880 to 2021.

Global Temperature

The stripes for Orlando trend in the same direction. They are not as stark as the numbers for the globe, but still impressive.

Warming stripes for Orlando

The bottom line: 2021 was the sixth hottest year on record. The top ten hottest years on record have all occurred in the last 12 years.

Globally, 2021 was 1.98 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than the baseline of 1881-1910, meaning we are getting closer to the internationally agreed point of limiting the warming to 2.7 degrees over pre-industrial levels.

Awareness is growing, steps are being taken to change this situation. But we need everyone to understand what is happening and what we are facing. When you see me “showing my stripes,” that is what is happening.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.