Google and the UN enlist designers to visualise climate change for Earth Day

The series of interactive data visualisation projects features work from Giorgia Lupi, Cristina Tarquini and Felicity Hammond.

Designers including Pentagram’s Giorgia Lupi have created a series of ‘climate experiments’ to visualise the challenges facing the environment for Earth Day.

The four projects are a collaboration between Google Arts & Culture and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The designers have used data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the interactive projects, which explore topics such as wildlife damage and the effects of rising sea levels.


Studio Crtq creative director Cristina Tarquini has used pointcloud visualisation to allow users to explore wildlife in the Mediterranean Ocean. Medusae asks the question, “What can jellyfish teach us about climate change?”

The project guides people through environmental changes including rising temperatures, oxygen reduction and acidification using the lens of ‘jellyfish blooms’ (an increased species population).

According to the project, jellyfish have adapted over 670 million years to be able to survive in the “most uninhabitable” conditions. Climate change therefore affects the species differently to other types of fish and their success “can serve as a clue” towards these changes.

Plastic Air

Pentagram’s Giorgia Lupi has focused on the problems of microplastics and how they impact the air we breathe. Her team has created Plastic Air to “explore the plastic particles that are ever-present in the atmosphere around you”.

Users can toggle between ‘don’t see’ which shows the objects as solid forms such as face masks and plastic cutlery and ‘see’ which shows them as particles.

Last year, Design Week also looked at how graphic design could help bring the plastics crisis to life.

The Lagoon

Artist Felicity Hammond has created an eight-minute video collage called The Lagoon which shows an imaginary coastal city submerging in water over a period of 80 years.

While the location is fictional, the landscape has been formed from photographs around the world of areas that are most at threat from flooding.

Multidisciplinary designer Sey Min has contributed the Climate Change Impact Filter which visualises the potential loss of wildlife species from climate change.

Impact Filter

The project allows people to apply filters of different animal groups such as insects, birds and reptiles. Once a particular species is chosen, you can toggle a temperature filter which shows the projected impact.

If temperatures rise by three degrees Celsius, it estimates that 88% of the world’s Bumblebee species will have disappeared, for example.

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