environment

35 posts
Surprise, the world was warmer again in 2017

According to NASA estimates, 2017 was the second warmest year on record since 1880. Henry Fountain, Jugal K. Patel, and Nadja Popovich reporting for The New York Times: What made the numbers unexpected was that last year had no El Niño, a shift in tropical Pacific weather patterns that is usually linked to record-setting heat and that contributed to record highs the previous two years. In fact, last year should...

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Mapping perceived canopy tree cover in major cities

Treepedia, from the MIT Senseable City Lab, estimates perceived tree cover at the street level. They used panorama views from Google Street View to form a “Green View Index”, which they then mapped for major cities. Treepedia measures the canopy cover in cities. Rather than count the individual number of trees, we’ve developed a scaleable and universally applicable method by analyzing the amount of green perceived while walking down the...

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Simulation shows swirling of smoke, sea salt, and dust around the world

NASA. Data. Good. Tracking the aerosols carried on the winds let scientists see the currents in our atmosphere. This visualization follows sea salt, dust, and smoke from July 31 to November 1, 2017, to reveal how these particles are transported across the map. The first thing that is noticeable is how far the particles can travel. Smoke from fires in the Pacific Northwest gets caught in a weather pattern and...

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Google maps street-level air quality using Street View cars with sensors

Google equipped their Street View cars with air quality sensors and sent them around several California areas. We’re just beginning to understand what’s possible with this hyper-local information and today, we’re starting to share some of our findings for the three California regions we’ve mapped: the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and California’s Central Valley (the Street View cars drove 100,000 miles, over the course of 4,000 hours to...

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Carbon emissions goals vs. current paths

Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich reporting for The New York Times: Under the Paris deal, each country put forward a proposal to curtail its greenhouse-gas emissions between now and 2030. But no major industrialized country is currently on track to fulfill its pledge, according to new data from the Climate Action Tracker. Not the European Union. Not Canada. Not Japan. And not the United States, which under President Trump is...

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Iceberg scale, as described in different countries

A giant iceberg broke off from Antartica. Like, really big. Quartz collected the comparisons made in various countries to make the numbers more relatable to readers. As news traveled around the world that one of the largest icebergs ever observed had finally broken off from Antarctica, reporters were faced with a question of scale. Few among us can visualize just how large a 2,200 square-mile (5,698 square-kilometer) hunk of ice...

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Moving ice

Ice in Antartica is in constant (very slow) motion, and as ocean waters warm, the flow of ice accelerates. The New York Times mapped the flows, showing where the ice is headed. And, if you’re interested in how they did this, NYT graphics editor Derek Watkins provides the rundown. Tags: environment, glaciers, New York Times

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Melting glaciers

Glaciers at Glacier National Park in Montana are melting. Using data from the United States Geological Survey and Portland State University, Nadja Popovich for The New York Times maps the shrinking glaciers with their 2015 footprint overlaid on their footprints from 50 years ago. Tags: environment, glaciers, New York Times

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Breathing Earth of vegetation

Using data from NOAA STAR, Nadieh Bremer creates a breathing Earth that shows the seasonal cycles of vegetation over the course of a year. The animation happening in the map above, through all 52 weeks of 2016, visualizes these seasonal cycles. The rise and fall of the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere is particularly visible. However, when focusing on different parts of the planet other cycles & different seasons...

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X-Ray of the oceans

Using satellite data and spatial models, researchers estimate human influence in the ocean. Darker means more impact. Two-thirds of the ocean shows increased strain from human-related factors, such as fishing and climate change. And more than three-quarters of coastal waters suffer from climate change and increases in the effects of harmful land-based activities, including pollution. In all, the researchers classified more than 40 percent of the ocean as “heavily impacted”...

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