Articles | Volume 25, issue 8
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 4549–4565, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-25-4549-2021
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 4549–4565, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-25-4549-2021

Education and communication 24 Aug 2021

Education and communication | 24 Aug 2021

Rainbow color map distorts and misleads research in hydrology – guidance for better visualizations and science communication

Michael Stoelzle and Lina Stein

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Interactive discussion

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-118', Fabio Crameri, 22 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1 (F. Crameri)', Michael Stoelzle, 22 Apr 2021
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-118', J.C. Refsgaard, 24 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Michael Stoelzle, 22 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-118', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Mar 2021
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC2', Michael Stoelzle, 06 May 2021
  • RC3: 'What role does human laziness play?', Thorsten Wagener, 29 Mar 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3 by T. Wagener', Michael Stoelzle, 29 Apr 2021

Peer review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
ED: Publish subject to minor revisions (further review by editor) (28 May 2021) by Jim Freer
AR by Michael Stoelzle on behalf of the Authors (21 Jun 2021)  Author's response    Author's tracked changes    Manuscript
ED: Publish subject to technical corrections (30 Jun 2021) by Jim Freer
AR by Michael Stoelzle on behalf of the Authors (07 Jul 2021)  Author's response    Manuscript

Post-review adjustments

AA: Author's adjustment | EA: Editor approval
AA by Michael Stoelzle on behalf of the Authors (03 Aug 2021)   Author's adjustment   Manuscript
EA: Adjustments approved (10 Aug 2021) by Jim Freer
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Short summary
We found with a scientific paper survey (~ 1000 papers) that 45 % of the papers used rainbow color maps or red–green visualizations. Those rainbow visualizations, although attracting the media's attention, will not be accessible for up to 10 % of people due to color vision deficiency. The rainbow color map distorts and misleads scientific communication. The study gives guidance on how to avoid, improve and trust color and how the flaws of the rainbow color map should be communicated in science.