A knitting movement of weather data to document climate change
A knitting movement called ‘The Tempestry Project’ in the US has captured how climate change is impacting the planet, bringing the crisis up close even as the Trump administration has played down the issue at various fora, besides threatening to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Marissa Connelly, co-founder of the project, wove three tapestries with weather data from the US government-run National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to show how winters were becoming warmer for Utqiagvik in northern Alaska.
She knitted scarves with weather data for 1925, 2010 and 2016 for Utqiagvik. In 1925, the city recorded the lowest temperature of the year at -46 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2010, the lowest temperature recorded was -30 degrees F while in 2016, it was only -14 degrees F.
This is how it works: the Tempestry founders choose the yarn and their colours besides developing datasets for their knitting kits. These kits are made for every state in the US besides 20 other countries, which have shown interest in the project. The idea is: one could choose to knit the colours for any year dating back to 1900s and knit another for a recent year to see how weather patterns have changed in a century. Another option is that people can choose a certain year [the birth year of the loved one] and compare their scarves to see how climate change is affecting temperature patterns over years.
Two such tapestries have been knitted for India’s Leh, capturing the weather data for 2009 and 2017. In 2009, Leh in Jammu and Kashmir recorded the hottest day at 51.8 degrees F and the coldest day saw the mercury plummet to -4 degrees F. In 2017, the highest and lowest temperatures were 53.6 and -7.6 degrees F, respectively.
“We started working on the project as a direct result of the Trump administration’s refusal to act on climate change..,” Justin Connelly, one of the co-founders, told HT over an email.
In 2017, Marissa along with Justin, a data enthusiast, and Emily McNeil, who came from a fibre arts background launched the visual project.
Scientists in India are, however, of the opinion that such data should be archived by specialists only. “... Individual efforts are okay, but in climate science everything should be in network mode and government funded,” said Sagnik Dey, associate professor, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IIT Delhi.