Read the full story from the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg.
Colorful maps and figures with rainbow-colored gradients from scientific papers often serve as eye-catchers in journals and are readily shared in social media. Hydrologist Dr. Michael Stölzle from the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Freiburg and Dr. Lina Stein from the University of Bristol in England have investigated the frequency and properties of so-called “rainbow color maps.” In their study, the researchers note that using a rainbow color map in scientific visualizations distorts the data representation. In addition, people with color vision deficiencies cannot interpret such images correctly. Stölzle and Stein published their findings in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences.