Global Temperature Change over the last 50 years showcased through a series of spikes on a geodesic polyhedron
Matthew Stewart, maker of data sculpture, designs and fabricates 50 Year difference of Global Temperature Change, comparing 2018 to 1968. Matthew, through the past few years of studying, has learnt the advantages of working with data and has tailored his work to create sculptures directly derived from data.
The sculpture uses NASA GISS open source temperature data to show the temperature change of the earth after 50 years. The data considered are the most recent complete data set at the time of manufacture in 2018 and compared it with the data from 50 years prior in 1968. This meant having the temperature change for each latitude and longitude point of the earth, and that change would be represented proportionally by a protruding rod: the longer the rod, the greater the change.
”It was great to work with data and get an understanding of how temperature change is affected by density of land and sea. The data was open source, but the file format was not one I could open with my more universal/generic software (excel). Thus, I coded some python to convert the netCDF file to a CSV. Once as a CSV, I could then import the data into Rhino 3D’s grasshopper to execute the design work and start visualising the data in 3D.”
In order to translate this into maths bit, Matthew created a geodesic polyhedron by taking the 5th platonic solid (Icosahedron – 20 sided geometry) and triangulated each face 3 times, projecting the new vertices back out onto the sphere to create a geometry with 642 vertices. The data set had 16200 lat/long points – all of which couldn’t be represented in physical, and therefore the nearest 26 data points per each vertex of the triangulated icosahedron have been calculated with an average of the temperature change out to get once temperature value per vertex.
This physical sculpture measures around 700mm in diameter, and was made out of 3,204 pieces, most of which were unique because the data values were obviously different. Part organisation was essential because not only would the data be inaccurate if the wrong part was assembled in the wrong place, but the lattice structure would not fit together correctly. Thus, every single piece had to be positioned perfectly.
All parts were first made in CAD (Rhino 3d) before giving a green light on manufacturing. The physical sculpture is made by hand cutting 1920 steel rods, laser cutting 642 acrylic square rods & 3D printing 642 Nylon balls on an EOS SLS 3D printer. The balls were then dyed green and blue for land and sea, again dictated by the data.