Seeing climate change: A framework for understanding visualizations for climate adaptation




Goudine, Alexei
Newell, Robert
Bone, Christopher

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International Journal of Geo-Information


Climate change has resulted in the need for adaptation tools to provide stakeholders with the ability to respond to a broad range of potential impacts. Geovisualizations serve as powerful engagement tools due to their capacity in communicating complex climate data to various audiences. Studies have also shown a preference towards conveying climate data through geo-visual representations, to quickly present ideas rooted in geographical challenges and solutions. However, a rapid pace of technological advancements has paved the way for an abundance of geovisualization products that have eclipsed the necessary theoretical inquiry and knowledge required to establish effective visualization principles. This study addresses this research gap through a two-step process of (1) conducting a thorough review of the geovisualization for climate change literature, and (2) creating a conceptual framework that classifies existing geovisualization products into themes relating to visualization features, audiences, and the intended outcome or purpose of the visualization medium. The result is the Climate Visualizations for Adaptation Products (CVAP) framework, a tool for researchers and practitioners to use as a decision support system to discern an appropriate type of geovisualization product to implement within a specific use case or audience. Visualizations with more interactivity were favoured among expert user groups, to act as tools for knowledge discovery. This is contrary to the visualizations intended for communicating a known message to a user group, as those products often had a low level of interactivity associated with their use.



geovisualization, climate visualization, climate adaptation, adaptation planning, public engagement, spatial decision support system (SDSS)


Goudine, A., Newell, R., & Bone, C. (2020). “Seeing climate change: A framework for understanding visualizations for climate adaptation.” International Journal of Geo-Information, 9(11), 644.