The pump handle

Every so often, a graphic comes along that does something so nicely, that it would seem churlish to criticise it. This is one of those times.

So, we take our hats off to the people at the Earth System Research Laboratory, for creating this rather wonderful video showing the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 800,000 years.

We particularly like:

  • The animated nature of the graph, showing off the annual cycle in the Northern hemisphere.
  • The way that the axes scale through time, giving the viewer a clear context for modern levels of CO2 compared to deep history.
  • The clean and clear labelling.

Make sure you have a look at the high def. version, to see all of the references for the data, and check out some of the other graphics at the ESRL page.

I’m sure we could think of something that could be improved, but perhaps we’ll save that for another day. Thanks to Kate Willett for pointing out the graphic.

UPDATE 2013/02/19

Thanks to the designer Andy Jacobson, who provided better figures with some information on the tools he used to create this graphic:

“I create each frame in R, outputting directly to a PDF file using vector graphics.  I then rasterize using ImageMagick to the target image size of 1280×720.  The PDF was of course created with this same 16:9 aspect ratio to avoid any unnecessary scaling.  Finally, it’s all stitched together into a movie using ffmpeg.  Notably, all the data and all the software used to do this are non-commercial and freely available.”

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One comment

  1. […] So, we take our hats off to the people at the Earth System Research Laboratory, for creating this rather wonderful video showing the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 800,000 years. Matéria Completa […]

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