97 Hours of Consensus reaches millions

On 9/7, Skeptical Science launched 97 Hours of Consensus. Every hour for 97 consecutive hours, we published a quote from a climate scientist, as well as a hand-drawn caricature of the scientist. We had a simple goal: communicate in a playful fashion the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.

Now that the dust has settled, we've had a chance to analyse how the campaign went. The result exceeded our expectations. Millions of people were exposed to the 97 quotes and caricatures of climate scientists!

Tweets from our twitter account @skepticscience were retweeted by many, being seen potentially 1.1 million times. The graph below shows the number of "impressions" of our tweets, meaning the potential number of times that our followers or followers of retweeters were exposed to our tweets.

However, that was only tweets from @skepticscience. A number of scientists and others tweeted with the #97Hours hashtag with their tweets potentially seen 3,165,386 times.

The most significant tweet was from President Obama's Twitter account, reaching 43 million followers:

I was particularly happy with the enthusiastic engagement from the scientific community. John Bruno wrote a wonderful article on why he took part in 97 Hours of Consensus. He also tweeted this hilarious tweet:

An Australian climate scientist, Ailie Gallant, updated her Twitter avatar with her caricature (an action I'm hoping other climate scientists emulate):

Our reach extended beyond Twitter, of course. We shared the 97 quotes on our Facebook page, which has 60,000+ followers. Climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh posted about 97 Hours on his Google+ page to 650,000 followers (which is a mind-boggling amount of followers for a climate scientist):

So 97 Hours of Consensus reached many people. Hopefully, it will play some part in closing the consensus gap, which is one of the more significant roadblocks to climate action. To add to the momentum closing the consensus gap, you're all welcome to republish all our 97 Hours quotes/caricatures, which are creative commons licensed and free to be republished.

I must thank again everyone who contributed to this campaign. Dana, Things Break, Rob Painting, Bob Lacatena, Sarah, John Hartz, Baerbel and Kevin C helped track down quotes. Doug Bostrom automated the hourly publication of the cartoons (saving us much sleep). Baerbel was tireless in collecting and organizing information as well as persistent cat herding. And not to be overlooked is the 97 climate scientists who provided wonderful feedback either refining their quote or comments on how to improve their caricature.

And lastly, Bob Lacatena made two vital contributions. He programmed the brilliantly interactive 97 Hours webpage (be sure to click on the "lazy susan" buttons in the top corners of the webpage). And he had the inspired idea of launching this on September 7, aka 9/7. That idea opened the possibility of making 97 Hours of Consensus an annual event, every September. The overwhelming success of our inaugural attempt has made that a certainty.

What's next?

But second time around, we'll do things a little differently. Firstly, I'd like to add more personal elements to the caricatures such as Richard Alley's guitar and John Bruno's flip flops. My hope is to include some more humour like Jennifer Francis' chills and Peter Cox's Intergovernmental Panel of Cat Control. Plus rather than scouring the web for quotes, we'll soon be adding a web form for climate scientists who'd like to be caricatured in 2015/9/7 to submit quotes themselves. So climate scientists, start sharpening up your pithy, witty quotes about climate change and think about how you'd like to be drawn!

Posted by John Cook on Wednesday, 24 September, 2014

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