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How to Create a Climate Graph in Google Sheets

Learn how to create a Climate Graph in Google Sheets.

Google for Education tools makes it easy to create charts with your students. Should students learn this skill, and how might it be used in the real world? In this blog post, I’ll show you how to create a climate graph in Google Sheets.

What Are Climate Graphs? 

Climate graphs are graphs that study climate. They include a bar graph and a line graph and measure two different items, typically rainfall and temperature. These graphs are measured in months and usually encompass an entire year (although they can go longer or shorter than that). So, the graph would start in January and measure the temperature and rainfall/precipitation that occurred that month and continue in that manner through to December. 

While they look complicated, climate graphs are quite simple to read: one edge will have the measurements for precipitation (such as millimetres), and the other edge will have the measurements for temperature (in either Celsius or Fahrenheit). Precipitation is documented using a line graph, and temperature is documented using a bar graph. When all of the information is put into the graph, you can then see how the temperature and precipitation correlate. 

Why Are Climate Graphs Used? 

As the name suggests, a climate graph is used to study climate. It shows the average monthly rainfall and the average monthly temperature of a specific place. Using this kind of graph will help you understand climate trends and examine a location’s seasonal climate. 

Climate graphs are a great way to study weather around the world, whether over a few months or an entire year. 

Why Are Climate Graphs Important To Teach, And Why Should Students Learn Them?

Graphs are a great way to represent data. While numbers written down do provide information, seeing them documented in a graph is more visually appealing and can help readers understand the information more clearly. Teaching graphs is also important as it shows students how graphs are used in different scenarios – not all graphs work well for certain things. 

Graphing is a way to teach your students how to gather data, organize data, and find the best way to represent that data. Then, students will learn how to analyze the data in that graph. Using graphs in Google Slides can be a life skill useful for future studies or careers. 

Teaching students how to use climate graphs is a great way to show them how to organize data within one graph and find other scenarios where a climate graph may be appropriate. Plus, learning to assemble a climate graph by hand can be confusing and messy, so learning to build one in Google Sheets can be very helpful.

Even if you don’t plan to use climate graphs in the real world, they still show students how they can use various Google resources in unique and fun ways. Students will love being able to brainstorm what data they can use in a climate graph and learning how to build these unique graphs.

How To Create A Climate Graph In Google Sheets

  • To start creating your climate graph in Google Sheets, you will want to input your data. You will need a table with three columns: one for the month, one for temperature (in either °C or °F), and one for precipitation (in mm). 

Hint: To add the degree sign, type Alt+0176.

For example: 

  • To turn your data into a chart, highlight the entire table and select the ‘Insert Chart’ symbol:
  • If your chart did not come up as a climate chart, you can go to the Chart Editor by double-clicking your chart. Under the Chart Type dropdown menu, choose Combo Chart. Your chart will look something like this:
  • To change how the temperature and precipitation are represented on the graph, you can do the following: 
TemperaturePrecipitation
  • Select the Series menu in the chart editor.
  • Where it says Apply to All Series, choose Temperature from the dropdown menu.
  • Under Fill Color, change the colour to red and in the Type dropdown, change the type to line.
  • Select the Series menu in the chart editor.
  • Where it says Apply to All Series, choose Temperature from the dropdown menu.
  • Under Fill Color, change the colour to blue and in the Type dropdown, change the type to columns.
  • To add in the numbers for temperature on the right side of your graph, select the line graph, and from the Axis dropdown menu, select Right axis. Now, your graph should look like this:
  • To label your vertical and right vertical axis scales, go to the Chart & axis titles in the Chart editor. 
  • To label the precipitation on the left side of your chart, where it says Chart title, select the Vertical axis title from the dropdown. Under Title text, you can now write Precipitation (mm) as the title. 
  • To label the temperature on the right side of your chart, select the Right vertical axis title from the dropdown. You can now write Temperature (°C) as the title (To add in the degree symbol, type Alt+0176) under the Title text.

From here, you can also adjust the minimum and maximum values for each vertical axis. 

  • To change your chart title, select Chart title from the dropdown. Under Title text, you can change the title. Under the Title format, you can put your text in bold and centre.
  • Lastly, to move your legend from the top of your chart, select the legend on the chart and change the position to the Bottom.

  • From here, if you want your chart on a separate slide or Google Doc, click the three vertical dots at the top right of your graph and select ‘copy chart’ from the menu. Then paste (ctrl-v) your chart into a Google Slide or Doc.

You can paste it linked, which means that anyone viewing that slide or document will be able to select the link and go to the raw data. Or, you could paste it unlinked, like putting an image in a document. However, if you plan to add more data to your chart when you paste it linked if you add more data to the Google sheet, you can then update your chart to reflect that data.  

Using climate graphs in the classroom can be fun for students. They might seem challenging to make, but once your students learn how easy it is, they will surely want to make more of these visually appealing graphs. 

Learning different ways to represent data is a fantastic way to help your students strengthen their data-analyzing skills. It will help them appreciate numbers and how those numbers can be collected and represented. 

I hope this tutorial on creating a climate graph in Google Sheets is helpful and encourages you to teach them in your classroom.

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