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The Eric Factor: “Showing your stripes” helps others visualize warming climate

Today is the Summer Solstice which is the official beginning of the new season. With it, the second year of #MetsUnite. It's a day when Meteorologists from around the world send a united message on climate change. In 2018, more than 100 Meteorologists participated. This year, the number is expected to be much higher.Jeff Berardelli, a Meteorologist with CBS News, began organizing it last year and continues to be the unifier in the communication.

This year, new visualizations allow people around the world to select the "stripes" for their country. In the United States, we have stripes for each of the 50 states. More often than not, you can see the dramatic warming that has taken place at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.

Climate Stripes were developed by Ed Hawkins who first thought of the blue-to-red visual. Each stripe represents a yearly temperature anomaly, trending red-hot toward the data's end in 2018. As the climate warms, there is an increasing frequency of extreme weather which harms health, stresses food and water supplies, shifts seasons, affects ecosystems, elevates sea levels, and has a negative impact on infrastructure and local economies.

There are two ways of dealing with a warming climate. We can either curb these hazards by switching to renewable energy and developing cleaner and more efficient transportation and agriculture. If we don't do that effectively, we will have to use future technology to adapt to climate change...and everything in the future will be more expensive than it is today.

Talking about climate change today will help. According to Climate Central, two out of three Americans want to learn more about climate change. Why Meteorologists need to encourage the discussion? Fewer than half of Americans think climate change will harm them personally.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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