Welcome to better figures, an occasional blog devoted to excellence in the graphics of climate science.

I’m Doug, a climate scientist and statistician at the Met Office Hadley Centre* in Exeter, UK.

This blog was born out of a conversation on twitter, between me, Paul Matthews (@etzpcm, an applied mathematician at Nottingham University) and Robert Simmon (@rsimmon a data vizualizer at NASA Earth Observatory).

It seems to me that we would all really like to see better figures in climate science, and so this is a place to discuss how to make them.

Making a good figure is always about choices: there is usually more information in a data set than you can fit in a single graphic. Choosing what to leave in, and what to leave out is crucial.

Sometimes the wrong choices get made, stuff gets hidden, obscured or lost. Sometimes the colour scheme is distracting, the legend too small, or the crucial bit of context is missing.

I’ll be pointing these things out, and suggesting different choices. I’m hoping that other will join me, either in the comments, or perhaps in guest posts. I’ll also be putting up some of my own work, so that I get my fair share of a kicking.

Ideally, I’ll be pointing out some really lovely figures too.


You can email me: betterfigures at the google. Your best bet is probably to find me on twitter: @dougmcneall

If you’d like to read a little more about about climate science, you can have a look at my other occasional blog.

*I should point out that all opinions are my own, and don’t represent those of my employer.

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