Environment/weather Archive:

Amazing video of the wave as it moves across the Pacific.

Want to understand some of the technical aspects of the disaster?

Here’s a NYT interactive explanation of the quake itself:

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A Washington Post explanation of what’s been happening at the nuclear plants:

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Interactive graphs of the last 7 days of Japanese earthquakes on the left, historical comparison on the right:

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And one that really brings home how much bigger this quake was than previous ones:

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Weatherspark allows you to explore the entire historical record of more than 4,000 weather stations around the globe, using a variety of beautifully interactive graphs. Sites like this make me so click-happy – everything is so smooth and well-executed I can’t stop playing with all the options just to see what happens. Try drilling down from annual to daily data, for example, and watch how everything dynamically rescales. (via)

Here is Washington, DC 2009-11:

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I have no idea why this wasn’t done as a proper sankey diagram. It might as well just be a table.

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Charts of carbon dioxide levels evidence

The New York Times has an excellent article and accompanying charts about the scientist who first discovered rising CO2 levels. I came across the article via Barry Ritholtz’s blog, where he delivered this lovely bit of snark:

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, lack of scientific knowledge, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for empirical data. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are anonymous after all.

 

Kelly O’Day runs a fantastic blog where he takes publicly available datasets and walks you through how to visualize them in excel and R. If you just want to view his personal conclusions on climate change, check out ProcessTrends.

Heat map of world temperature anomolies in 2010

Artic ice levels by type over the long-term

I post a lot of charts establishing that industrialization is causing global warming — it’s only fair to share one that gives an alternative explanation. Of course, it would be more convincing if it included a scale. (here’s a big discussion of it)

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Some seasonal interactive toys: Why the seasons happen? Why the leaves change color and fall? How to make maple syrup? and a couple of foilage peak maps.

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A nice sankey diagram. Americans used less energy overall due to the combined effects of the economic slowdown and increased efficiency. News release. Thanks to Terrance Kean for pointing it out.

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Recent blog posts on Russia’s summer of fire (Wired; Jotman) led me to the University of Maryland’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) which provides online or Google Earth Based maps of fires from all over the world based on satellite data.

Fires in Russia and the USA in the past 24 hours:
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FIRMs online map of the past 7 days:
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Also, apparently the fires are emitting dangerous amount of CO2 and may be radioactive:
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A well designed and simple interactive of the 10 “great” whale species. It conveys images, scale, history, endangered status, and region all on one screen.

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I think this project has been cursed by the data visualization gods. First, take a look at the Guardian’s interactive map below. There’s no legend to explain the colors, and the popups show a picture of just one animal (which they apparently included only because they happen to have a nice picture of it). The only information conveyed here at all is in the small bubbles at the bottom  — which aren’t labeled and are presumably in percent of all marine life, but you can’t be sure because they don’t add up to 100%.

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So I tracked down the original study, and their project map is actually worse! In addition to being quite possibly the most butt-ugly acronym ridden map I’ve ever seen, it has a bizarre infinity scrolling feature that allows you to view five earths at once.

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But wait, there’s more: a huge interactive rotating globe that takes up 3/4s of the screen. See the tiny red dots on the map? – those are how you call up the related info that is squeezed into the small box on the left.  There are other critiques, but I think I’ve picked on this poor project enough.

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All of this is a shame, of course, because it looks like a very worthwhile project that has accomplished a lot of valuable work. Here is the Guardian’s related article, and the project’s press release.


What is Chart Porn?

An addictive collection of beautiful charts, graphs, maps, and interactive data visualization toys -- on topics from around the world.

  • acne studios: Very good blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own website soon [...]
  • Steven Zalesch: Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I have bookmarked the National Weather Service's (http://forecast.wea [...]
  • Krista: Less data, but I really love forecast.io - the graphics are by far the best... [...]
  • chillinmilan: It is definitely clean and good looking. WeatherSpark, a site you mentioned a few years ago, does i [...]
  • steffan: Billy Bob hits on it, I think. It looks like collusion to me. [...]