Drought Footprint

A lot of people’s minds may be on the Olympics that open up today in London. However, a very important story that was covered a little while ago deserves a post.

The United States has been suffering from a severe drought across much of the country. Droughts are nothing new, though climate change is likely to increase their intensity in the coming decades. This means more than lawns with dead grass; it means crop failures. Crop failures mean lack of food for humans and cattle. That means lower supply while demand holds steady. That means increasing prices. That means increasing pressure on already straining household budgets. Ergo, severe droughts can be a big deal.

The New York Times charted the geographic spread of droughts over the past century as small multiples. The print version was different, alas I have no photo, but the online version neatly groups maps by decade. Of some interest is how similar the scale of the 2012 coverage is in relation to that of 1934, the year of the Dust Bowl.

Drought
Drought

Credit for the piece goes to Haeyoun Park and Kevin Quealy

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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