Today’s a little piece for those of you who follow me from the Chicago area. It turns out that in the last 30 months, the water level of Lake Michigan has risen three feet. Despite what some people think, Lake Michigan is not an ocean—I have overheard conversations in my neighbourhood about people who went “swimming in the ocean today” and want to show them a map that points out the Atlantic is almost a thousand miles away—and is not under the same threat as the coast via melting icecaps. The Great Lakes are instead impacted by other regional and cyclical patterns, e.g. El Niño. This article by the Chicago Tribune makes use of this small but clear line chart in its discussion of those very factors.
Credit for the piece goes to the Chicago Tribune’s graphics department.
Spring has finally arrived. And that means that far to your humble author’s north, the sea ice in the Arctic is beginning to recede from its annual maximum coverage. However, this year’s coverage was the smallest since satellite records began in 1979. The New York Times covers the story in a nice article with two big data pieces. The first is a really nice map—not shown—that looks at this year’s coverage compared to average extents.
The really nice part, however, is a line chart of historical ice coverage from 1979 through to the current date. While the piece is not interactive, the annotations in the graphic do a nice job explaining the different lines and outliers. Overall, a solid piece.
Climate change has more of an impact than just extreme weather. For one, not all weather will necessarily be warmer. Two, animals and plants will be affected in terms of their natural habitat. The New York Times recently put together a piece about the impact of climate change upon birds. And it turns out that in less than a century, it is projected that the Baltimore Oriole will no longer find its preferred climate in Baltimore, but rather further north.
Credit for the piece goes to K.K. Rebecca Lai, Larry Buchanan, and Derek Watkins.
As someone who likes cooler weather, climate change sucks. Because that generally means warmer weather. Yes, yes, I know it means equally good chances for extreme cold temperatures and in general more extreme weather, but mostly I hate hot weather. So a new report by Risky Business Project, a group led by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, looks to quantify some of the impact.
But in short, nothing good is going to happen. And basically, I will never move to the South.
Credit for the piece goes to the graphics team behind Risky Business.
President Obama announced new regulations to be enforced by the EPA that aim to reduce carbon emissions. Principally, the expected reduction will come through state-by-state measures to meet new federally mandated targets. Each state will have the ability to find different means of achieving the cuts, e.g. building more solar plants or nuclear plants or implementing cap-and-trade schemes.
Consequently, the New York Times published this interactive graphic that examines the carbon emissions and energy prices of states. The charts default to a highlight of several Northeast states already participating in a cap-and-trade scheme. The top component charts emissions on a per unit of energy over time while the bottom charts the price of energy.
Credit for the piece goes to Hannah Fairfield and Derek Watkins.
A few weeks ago, Bloomberg Businessweek published a nice graphic that summarised the last 25 years of oil spills. I’m finally getting around to posting it. But what it does really well is show just how bad the Deepwater Horizon spill was compared to the other big name disaster: Exxon Valdez. Of particular note is the bar chart at the bottom right comparing the millions of gallons of oil spilled.
I have spent this past week in Lithuania for work. And it was cold. But it was colder still in Chicago. Thankfully on a Friday we have xkcd to put all this cold into a bit more perspective. Although his example uses St. Louis, I presume it holds for most cities.