environment

39 posts
Choosing between individuals and aggregates

Friend/reader Thomas B. alerted me to this paper that describes some of the key chart forms used by cancer researchers. It strikes me that many of the "new" charts plot granular data at the individual level. This heatmap showing gene expressions show one column per patient: This so-called swimmer plot shows one bar per patient: This spider plot shows the progression of individual patients over time. Key events are marked...

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As Dorian confounds meteorologists, we keep our minds clear on hurricane graphics, and discover correlation as our friend

As Hurricane Dorian threatens the southeastern coast of the U.S., forecasters are fretting about the lack of consensus among various predictive models used to predict the storm’s trajectory. The uncertainty of these models, as reflected in graphical displays, has been a controversial issue in the visualization community for some time. Let’s start by reviewing a visual design that has captured meteorologists in recent years, something known as the cone map....

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Water stress served two ways

Via Alberto Cairo (whose new book How Charts Lie can be pre-ordered!), I found the Water Stress data visualization by the Washington Post. (link) The main interest here is how they visualized the different levels of water stress across the U.S. Water stress is some metric defined by the Water Resources Institute that, to my mind, measures the demand versus supply of water. The higher the water stress, the higher...

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It’s hot even in Alaska

A twitter user pointed to the following chart, which shows that Alaska has experienced extreme heat this summer, with the July statewide average temperature shattering the previous record; This column chart is clear in its primary message: the red column shows that the average temperature this year is quite a bit higher than the next highest temperature, recorded in July 2004. The error bar is useful for statistically-literate people -...

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Amount of fish to raise a big fish

Raising living things requires resources. In the case of fish, it requires more fish so that another can grow larger. Artists Chow and Lin calculated how much. The surrounding small fish are required to grow the three yellow carp in the middle. [via kottke] Tags: environment, fish, sustainability

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Years of life lost due to breathing bad air

Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute estimated the number of years lost and the number of people affected due to particulate matter in the air. They estimated per country. The Washington Post used a mosaic plot, aka a Marimekko chart, to show the differences. The width of each column represents total population for a country. The sections in each columns represent the number of people who will...

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Two views of earthquake occurrence in the Bay Area

This article has a nice description of earthquake occurrence in the San Francisco Bay Area. A few quantities are of interest: when the next quake occurs, the size of the quake, the epicenter of the quake, etc. The data graphic included in the article fails the self-sufficiency test: the only way to read this chart is to read out the entire data set - in other words, the graphical details...

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World map shows aerosol billowing in the wind

Using a mathematical model based on satellite data, NASA shows an estimate of aerosol in the atmosphere on August 23, 2018: The visualization above highlights GEOS FP model output for aerosols on August 23, 2018. On that day, huge plumes of smoke drifted over North America and Africa, three different tropical cyclones churned in the Pacific Ocean, and large clouds of dust blew over deserts in Africa and Asia. The...

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Environmental science can use better graphics

Mike A. pointed me to two animated maps made by Caltech researchers published in LiveScience (here). The first map animation shows the rise and fall of water levels in a part of California over time. It's an impressive feat of stitching together satellite images. Click here to play the video. The animation grabs your attention. I'm not convinced by the right side of the color scale in which the white...

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A transforming river seen from above

The Padma River in Bangladesh is constantly shifting its 75-mile path. Joshua Stevens for the NASA Earth Observatory shows what the shifting looked like through satellite imagery, over a 30-year span. Kasha Patel: The upper section of the Padma—the Harirampur region— has experienced the most erosion and shows the most notable changes. The river has become wider at this section by eroding along both banks, although most activity occurred on...

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