Show your stripes

Can you guess what this colourful image illustrates?

Yes, that's right, the image illustrates how global temperatures have changed over the past 170 years.  During this period, the post industrial revolution period, global temperatures have increased by 1.2 ºC and the worrying news is that they're still climbing.

In June a heatwave caused temperatures across Europe to climb to over 40º C. The most extreme temperatures were registered in France, where monthly and even all-time records were broken - and officially summer hadn't even started. The consequences included forest fires, outdoor events being cancelled, and doubtless a huge increase in the use of fans and air-conditioning units which, in all likelihood, will generate yet more greenhouse gases and more global warming. 

The graphic image we've posted, along with similar graphs for almost all countries and and regions, is the work of Professor Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading (UK). The graphs can be accessed at the website and because of their visual impact, we think they would make a wonderful resource for a lesson that focuses on global warming and what we can all do to help reverse the trend.

What's more, this sort of image can be used with language students at all levels. So let's do it!