Climate Orb by Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra

The Climate Orb project is an awareness campaign that aims to use data aesthetics to spread awareness about Climate Change and its causes and consequences.
This project explores data aesthetics as an alternative to data visualization in the belief that the art connection provokes a more humane and emotional reaction to the data presented, creating a stronger attachment than climate change data would tipically to the general audience, who don’t have the scientific background necessary to fully understand. In the same line of reasoning, the project focuses on indirect causes and consequences of climate change, which helps the viewer better understand how they factor and translate into the real world.

The project divides into two different datasets, one for the causes of climate change and the other for the consequences, with seven different attributes each. The causes dataset consolidates CO2 Emissions, Fossil Fuels consumption, Fertilizer consumption, Forest area, Meat production, Population and Renewable Energy %. The consequences dataset consolidates Surface temperature anomaly, Precipitation, Agricultural land, Deaths by Air Pollution, Red List Index, Poverty and GDP. More information about each attribute can be found by clicking on its name on the label. The data can be found for a total of 52 countries and a timespan of 1993 - 2017.

For each pair of Country & Year, two data artefacts are created — one for the causes dataset, and other for the consequences dataset. Each artefact is created by comparing the values of each attribute at the given country & year and calculating the relative weights. The weights are then used to generate a Voronoi Spherical Diagram called the Climate Orb. Since each pair generates two climate orbs, there are a total of 2496 climate orbs, which can be explored in this platform as well as the data that generates them.

The Climate Orb project strives to use the climate orbs generated to create an awareness campaign and spread the word about climate change. Hence it is also present through physical and digital divulgation, with posters and billboards seen at select locations and an Instagram social media profile.

The Climate Orb project was developed as the practical project of the dissertation “Creating climate awareness through data-driven graphic design and visualization” in the context of the Master in Design and Multimedia, advised by Professor Evgheni Polisciuc and Professor Sérgio Rebelo, and presented to the Faculty of Sciences and Technology / Department of Informatics Engineering.