How hot was March 2020?

From the NOAA Global Climate Report – March 2020:

Averaged as a whole, the global land and ocean surface temperature for March 2020 was 1.16°C (2.09°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F) and the second highest in the 141-year record. Only March 2016 was warmer at 1.31°C (2.36°F). The 10 warmest Marches have all occurred since 1990, with Marches of 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020 having a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average above 1.0°C (1.8°F). The March 2020 global land and ocean surface temperature departure tied with February 2020 and December 2015 as the third highest monthly temperature departure from average in the 1,683-month record. Only February and March 2016, when a strong El Niño was present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, had higher temperature departures.

Data for the graph here.

How does C-19 deaths compare to other causes of deaths in the U.S.?

Here is an excellent animated visualization of daily deaths of C-19 as compared to other leading causes of deaths in the U.S. This chart stops at April 14. According to Worldometers here are the number of daily deaths from April 15 through April 22: 2618, 2176, 2538, 1867, 1561, 1939, 2804, 2341. Note that C-19 maintains the top spot except for one day, which was April 19. On April 21 the 2804 deaths represent nearly 60% more deaths than the second leading cause, heart disease.

How do we know 12,000 years of climate?

The article Nature’s archives: piecing together 12,000 years of Earth’s climate story by Alison Stevens (4/15/2020) provides an overview of paleoclimate proxies and links to a new database of these records.

Paleoclimate proxies indirectly record climate and atmospheric conditions present when they formed or grew; air bubbles in ice cores sample past carbon dioxide levels, pollen and undecayed plant matter reveal growing conditions, and the ratio of oxygen isotopes in marine fossils indicate ocean temperatures. Proxies can come from all over the world — from glaciers in Antarctica to the tropical oceans — and compiling them into datasets can help place today’s warming climate into the context of a longer history.

The article links to the Nature post A global database of Holocene paleotemperature records with the data source at NOAA’s Temperature 12k Database.


Urban/Rural Red/Blue?

FiveThirtyEight has the interesting graph copied here from their article How Urban or Rural is Your State? And What Does That Mean For The 2020 Election? by Nathaniel Rakich (4/14/2020). How did they measure urbanization?

Essentially, we calculated the average number of people living within a five-mile radius of every census tract and took the natural logarithm to create an “urbanization index,” or a calculation of how urban or rural a given area is.

The article has a table of data that goes with the graph and they look at the 2020 election if urbanization dictated the outcome.

How have wages grown since 1979?

The EPI article State of Working America Wages 2019 by Elise Gould (2/20/2020) provides a detailed summary of wage growth. For example, copied here is the third of over 20 charts. Note that he bottom 10 percent is barely above 0 and only recently got there. A related fact from their previous  chart:

 As shown in Figure B, the top 1% of earners saw cumulative gains in annual wages of 157.8% between 1979 and 2018—far in excess of economywide productivity growth and over six times as fast as average growth for the bottom 90% (23.9%). Over the same period, top 0.1% earnings grew 340.7%.

Each chart has avaialbe data.


What is a gigatonne of ice?

The picture here is a snapshot from an animation by NASA in the article Visualizing the Quantities of Climate Change – Ice Sheet Loss in Greenland and Antarctica by Matt Conlen (3/9/2020) that shows a gigatonne of ice. A gigatonne isn’t much since

Satellite data show that Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass at a rate of 283 gigatonnes per year and 145 gigatonnes per year, respectively.

There are three animations one for 1 gigatonne, 5,000 gigatonnes (about the amount lost from the polar ice caps from 2002-2017), and 49,000 gigatones (estimate of the amount lost in the 20th century). Each animation also has an associated math box for the related calculation.

Who has the highest Gini of G7 countries?

The Pew article 6 facts about economic inequality in the U.S. by Katherine Schaeffer (2/7/2020) provides the chart copied here (2017 data). One of the other facts mentioned in the article:

In 1989, the richest 5% of families had 114 times as much wealth as families in the second quintile (one tier above the lowest), at the median $2.3 million compared with $20,300. By 2016, the top 5% held 248 times as much wealth at the median. (The median wealth of the poorest 20% is either zero or negative in most years we examined.)

There are 6 (surprise) charts and the data is cited. Great QL article.

A heatwave where?

From the article The 2019/2020 summer of Antarctic heatwave by Sharon A. Robinson et. e. (3/30/2020) in Global Change Biology:

Heatwaves are rarely reported in Antarctica, but elsewhere are often classified as three consecutive days with both extreme maximum and minimum temperatures. Using this classification, Casey experienced a heatwave between 23 and 26 January with minimum temperatures above zero and maximum temperatures above 7.5°C. Casey also recorded its highest maximum temperature ever (9.2°C) on 24 January followed by its highest minimum (2.5°C) the following morning.


In the past, much of East Antarctica has been spared from rapid climate warming due in part to ozone depletion, which cools surface temperatures slightly and enhances the strength of the westerly wind jets which shield Antarctica from more northerly warming air (Bornman et al., 2019; Robinson & Erickson, 2015).


 In late 2019, stratospheric warming led to an early breakup of the ozone hole (Lewis, 2019) and Antarctic temperature records started to break (Figure 1a). In what we believe is a first, we report a heatwave event at Casey Station, East Antarctica (Figure 1b) in January, to add to the record high temperatures reported for Antarctica in February.


Although it is too early for full reports, this warm summer will have impacted Antarctic biology in numerous ways, probably leading to long‐term disruptions at ecosystem, community and population scales.


What are people’s view of C-19?

The Pew article Worries About Coronavirus Surge, as Most Americans Expect a Recession – or Worse (3/26/2020) reports the results from a survey related to COVID-19. Most of it is not too surprising:

There is broad public agreement that the nation is confronting a crisis. Two-thirds of Americans – including majorities in all major demographic and partisan groups – say COVID-19 is a “significant crisis.”

But, then there is the graphic copied here. Ok, the partisan split on the news media and the President aren’t that surprising, while still quit stark. Interestingly, Dem/Lean Dem rank the top four categories consistently lower than Rep/Lean Rep. The CDC gets 10 percentage points lower and ordinary people 8 percentage points lower.

There are numerous charts of survey responses and the article has a methodology section with data.