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Visually Communicating Climate Science: The process of creating visuals in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

April 13, 2023 @ 8:30 am - 10:00 am


The reports produced by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are collaboratively authored by hundreds of climate scientists around the world, who assess thousands of scientific publications about climate change. These reports are reviewed, collaboratively edited, and adopted by 195 governments before they are published. This may be one of the most intensive examples of collaboration that exists at the global level.

This presentation is a case study on visually communicating complex science through an international, consensus-based process: outlining the role of the co-design process in bringing consensus – in particular as societies formulate their own adaption to the impacts of climate change. To build cooperation to adapt to climate change, we communicators need to adopt processes that allow for significant community engagement and dialogue. Building upon co-design techniques established within this Assessment cycle (AR6), this presentation describes the challenges and opportunities of designing visuals in the IPCC global collaborative space: In an environment where the ‘messiness’ of the creative design process flexes to accommodate multiple rounds of iteration, collaboration, and the mandated timelines of global IPCC procedures.

As Graphics Officer with IPCC, Arlene Birt collaborated with 30+ climate scientists around the world to develop figures for the Synthesis Report of the 6th Assessment Report cycle (AR6) – launched March 2023.

Sponsored by Speaking Science, The Institute on the Environment, and MnDRIVE Environment


Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Location: In person at the Institute on the Environment, R-380.


April 13, 2023
8:30 am - 10:00 am


Institute on the Environment
1954 Buford Ave
St Paul, MN 55108 United States
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