It’s Melting! It’s Melting!

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.

Annual cycle of Arctic ice coverage
Annual cycle of Arctic ice coverage

Credit for the piece goes to Derek Watkins.

The Reforestation of Europe

We hear a lot about deforestation around the world. But, in this piece from the Washington Post, we see how over the last century, Europe has actually managed to reverse that trend and reforest parts of the continent.

A look at the western Mediterranean
A look at the western Mediterranean

Credit for the piece goes to Rock Noack.

Losing Ground

If you want a better understanding of the difficulties facing Louisiana in the coming years and decades, you should start with Losing Ground. It’s a very nice experience that integrates data and narrative along with maps and written word and spoken word to show how badly the wetlands have degraded.

A look at Leeville, LA
A look at Leeville, LA

Credit for the piece goes to Bob Marshall, Al Shaw, Brian Jacobs, Della Hasselle, Ellis Lucia. Edmund Fountain.

Drought Severity

Not here in Chicago at least. But across swaths of the Southwest, people are experiencing droughts. But the New York Times is on it, with a tracker updated weekly.

Nary a drop to spare in Southwest.
Nary a drop to spare in Southwest.

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Bostock and Kevin Quealy.

Coal vs. the Great Barrier Reef

Your humble author is away this week. But the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is still here. For now. The Guardian takes a look at the growing threat to the World Heritage site from the coal industry in Queensland, Australia. The author takes you through the narrative in a chapter format, using charts and maps to illustrate the points in the brief bit of text. A really nice job altogether.

Major ports and their volume
Major ports and their volume

Credit for the piece goes to Nick Evershed.

Impact of Climate Change

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.

Impact of climate change
Impact of climate change

Credit for the piece goes to the graphics team behind Risky Business.

What About the Bees?

Last week President Obama announced a task force to investigate the disappearance of honeybees. While that might sound like something out of a Doctor Who episode—it is—the problem is real since bees pollinate the flowers that become the fruit and vegetables we consume. The Washington Post took a look at what might be responsible for the decline in bees through this illustrated graphic.

Different reasons for honeybee population collapse
Different reasons for honeybee population collapse

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark.

Carbon Emissions

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.

Carbon emissions over time
Carbon emissions over time

Credit for the piece goes to Hannah Fairfield and Derek Watkins.

Allergens of DC

Good news and bad news, folks. The good news is that this chart does not apply to people living in Chicago, Philadelphia, or elsewhere. Unless—here’s the bad news—you live in Washington, D.C. In that case, well, prepare to die. You know, if you have allergies. The Washington Post has a nice graphic that outlines the arrival and peak seasons for different pollen allergens.

Allergens of DC
Allergens of DC

Credit for the piece goes to Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark.

Spilling the Oil

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.

Oil spills
Oil spills

Credit for the piece goes to Evan Applegate.