Paper/Poster/Presentation Title

A Blue or a Black Slope? Non-Expert Perceptions of the Graphs that Visualize Ensembles of Climate Change Mitigation Scenarios

Keywords

usability, visualization, deep uncertainty, scenarios, climate change mitigation

Start Date

17-9-2020 10:00 AM

End Date

17-9-2020 10:20 AM

Abstract

Environmental decision-making often relies on using graphs that depict large ensembles of scenarios from modeling. Deep uncertainties in such scenarios are challenging to visualize, whereas little is known on the effects of user characteristics such as demographics or the country context of the user on the interpretation of scenario visualizations. We conducted a cross-country evaluation of scenario visualizations for climate change mitigation using online surveys with non-experts in Germany (N=379), Poland (N=223), and France (N=225). Each participant received visualizations on the required changes in CO2 emissions and key electricity supply sources for scenarios limiting global warming to 1.5°C. We also included an experimental design on the visualization format, where four groups received the information in different graph formats while a control group received the information in a table format. We measured the participants’ perception of the information in the graph or table, their affective responses, and changes in beliefs about the required level of mitigation. Results showed that higher education level, numeracy, graph literacy, belief in global warming, and knowledge of the visualization’s content statistically significantly increased reading accuracy across all countries, while age reduced it. Furthermore, participants were less accurate in reading maxima and minima values from the graphs than from the tables, due to the increased interpretation effort required in the graphs. Our results emphasize the importance of designing visualizations taking into account different user characteristics and supporting inference-making and could be used to inform the visuals of upcoming reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change and of other environmental assessments.

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Sep 17th, 10:00 AM Sep 17th, 10:20 AM

A Blue or a Black Slope? Non-Expert Perceptions of the Graphs that Visualize Ensembles of Climate Change Mitigation Scenarios

Environmental decision-making often relies on using graphs that depict large ensembles of scenarios from modeling. Deep uncertainties in such scenarios are challenging to visualize, whereas little is known on the effects of user characteristics such as demographics or the country context of the user on the interpretation of scenario visualizations. We conducted a cross-country evaluation of scenario visualizations for climate change mitigation using online surveys with non-experts in Germany (N=379), Poland (N=223), and France (N=225). Each participant received visualizations on the required changes in CO2 emissions and key electricity supply sources for scenarios limiting global warming to 1.5°C. We also included an experimental design on the visualization format, where four groups received the information in different graph formats while a control group received the information in a table format. We measured the participants’ perception of the information in the graph or table, their affective responses, and changes in beliefs about the required level of mitigation. Results showed that higher education level, numeracy, graph literacy, belief in global warming, and knowledge of the visualization’s content statistically significantly increased reading accuracy across all countries, while age reduced it. Furthermore, participants were less accurate in reading maxima and minima values from the graphs than from the tables, due to the increased interpretation effort required in the graphs. Our results emphasize the importance of designing visualizations taking into account different user characteristics and supporting inference-making and could be used to inform the visuals of upcoming reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change and of other environmental assessments.