“Climate spiral” – Plotting GISS Surface Temperature

[This article was first published on R – TomazTsql, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

NASA has been collecting surface temperature for more than over 100 years, and the GISS Surface Temperature analysis from 1888 onward. It is an estimate of global surface temperature change.

The temperature analysis schema was defined in the late 1970s by James Hansen and the complete analysis and method are documented in Hansen and Lebedeff (1987). To put it simply is a method of global temperature change that is used for comparison with one-dimensional global climate models.


The website (https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ ) offers loads of data and I am using the Global-mean monthly, seasonal, and annual means, 1880-present, updated through most recent month: TXTCSV

It need some prior data preparation, namely min and max values, as it is required by radarchart function.


#data txt and preparation
df <-read.csv("Documents/GLB.Ts+dSST.csv",header = TRUE, sep = ",", skip = 1, dec="." )[1:13]
df <- as.data.frame(sapply(df[1:143,], as.numeric))
df_months <- names(df)[2:13]
df_years <- df$Year
rownames(df) <- df_years
df <- df[,2:13]

# adding max min
max_min <- data.frame(
  Jan = c(1.4, -0.85), Feb = c(1.4, -0.85), Mar = c(1.4, -0.85),
  Apr = c(1.4, -0.85), May = c(1.4, -0.85), Jun = c(1.4, -0.85),
  Jul = c(1.4, -0.85), Aug = c(1.4, -0.85), Sep = c(1.4, -0.85),
  Oct = c(1.4, -0.85), Nov = c(1.4, -0.85), Dec = c(1.4, -0.85)
rownames(max_min) <- c("Max", "Min")
df <- rbind(max_min, df)

# Set graphic colors
nb.cols <- length(df_years)
mycolors <- colorRampPalette(brewer.pal(8, "Set2"))(nb.cols)
colors_border <- mycolors  
colors_in <- alpha(mycolors, 0.3) 

Data visualisation

Adding the radarchart and looping through the years:

for (i in 1:length(df_years)){
  y <- df_years[1:i]
  df_tmp <- df[rownames(df)%in%y,1:12]
  df_tmp <- rbind(max_min, df_tmp)
  radarchart( df_tmp, maxmin=TRUE, axistype=1,seg=3,vlabels = df_months,
              plwd=0.5 , plty=1,centerzero=FALSE,caxislabels = c(-1, 0, 1, 1.4),
              cglcol="grey", cglty=2, axislabcol="black",  
              title= paste0("GISS Surface temperature for years until ", tail(y,1)) )  
  legend(x=-0.35, y=0.15, legend = tail(y,1), bty = "n", pch=30 , col=colors_in , text.col ="black", cex=1.3, pt.cex=3)

Changes through time stretch from 1888 until 2023. The scale of this radar charts go from -1ºC to 1.4ºC (with 0 and 1 as reference lines).

Year 1900

Year 1950

Year 2000

Year 2022

The spikes and bursts in temperature over the past 30 years are mind-boggling 😦

As always, code is available on Github in  Useless_R_function repository. The sample file in this repository is here (filename: Climate_spiral.R) Check the repository for future updates.

Happy R-coding and stay healthy!

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: R – TomazTsql.

R-bloggers.com offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)