Gregory Johnson, a lead author on a chapter of the report about marine measurements, said he was home with a cold for a weekend, leading him to spend time translating the complex report into haiku -- a form of 17-syllable poetry with its origins in Japan -- and he illustrated his short poems with watercolors, the Seattle Times reported Monday.
"Glaciers and ice sheets/melt worldwide, speed increasing/sea ice, snow retreat," Johnson wrote, summarizing 100 pages of the report in 17 syllables.
Johnson said he was surprised when his project spread quickly online.
"I was surprised that as many people responded as positively as they did," Johnson said. "It's been tweeted 1,000 times, or something."
Johnson said he chose Sightline, an environmental think tank in Seattle, to publish his work online, as the group agreed with him that the project should not be for profit.
"We're excited about providing it as an open-source, educational resource," Sightline senior communications strategist Anna Fahey said. "But it's the way of viral content that we don't have complete control over what people do with it."