Turning climate data into a digital common.

You can’t see it. You can’t touch it, but you know we’re heading for impending doom if we don’t stop it. In this project we wanted to go beyond traditional visualizations of global warming.

Inspired by T. Morton’s approach of framing global warming as a hyperobject that audiences can experience even if they cannot be necessarily touch it, we wanted to create a visual experience that really hits home. The Glocal Climate Change visualizes the climate change over the last 40 years in 100 000 + European municipalities. Find out what climate change looks like in your hometown…

What we did

  • Data storytelling
  • Data visualization
  • Web design
  • Front-end dev.
  • UX


European Data Journalism

The process
Straight to the (every single) point

Rather than clustering climate data over many regions and countries, we wanted to visualize every single data point in Europe. This approach allows you to zoom into your hometown, the city you studied in, the one you currently work in or the one you spent many happy holidays in. These granular details reveal thought-provoking patterns all over Europe that clustered data visualizations wouldn’t unveil.

The strategy
Shut up and scroll

We tapped into the power of scrollytelling to unravel the climate stories of each municipality in Europe. Through scrollytelling readers are guided through the significance of the charts. An automated narration contextualizes each municipality’s data, by using descriptive adjectives to describe the relevant data. The narration also positions each municipality’s climate story within the broader regional and national context to connect the hyperlocal level to the global-national level.

What is scrollytelling?

It's a neologism that describes projects where the story and its animation, visuals or interaction media unfolds as readers scrolls through the project.

Why rely on scrollytelling?

It arouses the reader's curiosity, facilitating their focus on the information in front of them. This often aids in improving the reader's understanding and information retention.

Being mobile first's never been so sexy!
The impact
Supporting concerned citizens

From the get-go, we framed this project as a digital common. A digital common is a tool that facilitates easy access to information; information that would otherwise only be easily accessible to insiders. Consequently, we designed an algorithm that generates customized social media thumbnails. This tool offers concerned citizens a tool to raise awareness about climate change in their municipalities among their communities. Once a link is shared on social media, the custom thumbnail continues to display the climate change of the selected municipality over the last 40 years. The goal is to offer citizens a personalized tool that can aid them in sharing location-relevant information about climate change.

The impact
Let’s open the debate

A week after the project’s publication, we noticed soooo many customized thumbnails across Europe. Individuals and activist groups were sharing the 40-year temperature increase of their beloved municipalities on their social networks to create awareness about the very tangible consequences of global warming within their communities. So, what does the effect of global warming look like in your town?

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Triggering civic awareness through truly interactive regional data.
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Sheldon.studio connects data technology and design to unfold the complex things through great projects.