Paint By Numbers

This artist incorporates climate data into her pieces.

February 16, 2016

Illustrated by: Jill PeltoNorthern Cascade glaciers losing mass

Scientists are notorious for struggling to communicate the importance of their work in compelling ways. But as both a researcher and an artist, Jill Pelto is in a unique position to reach a broad audience. While double majoring in earth science and studio art at the University of Maine, she honed her “environmental art,” which combines stunning imagery of the natural world with actual data points measuring the effects of climate change.

This mashup of painted scenes and statistics amplifies the impact of both: Endangered species, raging wildfires, and melting glaciers drawn by Pelto’s practiced hand immediately connect the data to their source, and the trend lines lend the imagery a sense of urgency. Check out some of Pelto’s pieces below.

Illustrated by: Jill PeltoClownfish and the decline in ocean pH

Illustrated by: Jill PeltoForest fire activity increasing with global temperature rise

Illustrated by: Jill PeltoArctic foxes and the decreasing area of sea ice

Illustrated by: Jill PeltoCoho salmon in decline

Illustrated by: Jill PeltoEndangered tiger and rainforest habitat decline

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Us

When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports.