Graph or Video – Representations of Oklahoma (Induced?) Earthquakes

The graph here represents the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma per year. Another way to represent the same data is in the video below created by the USGS and worth a minute of your time.  You can decide which is a more powerful representation of the data. What is causing the increase of earthquakes?  Read what the USGS has to say about induced earthquakes.  From the myths and misconceptions page:

Fact 1: Fracking is NOT causing most of the induced earthquakes. Wastewater disposal is the primary cause of the recent increase in earthquakes in the central United States.

You can get earthquake data from the Earthquake Catalog. You can select regions and time periods. If you want Excel output then go to the Output Options at the bottom, although the maps are valuable too.

When Were Confederate Statues Built?

Kevin Drum’s post, The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues, provides the associated chart about the timing of confederate monument and statue building.

This illustrates something that even a lot of liberals don’t always get. Most of these monuments were not erected after the Civil War. In fact, all the way to 1890 there were very few statues or monuments dedicated to Confederate leaders. Most of them were built much later.

This is an excellent example of how data and a good graphic helps tell an important story.

Yes, these monuments were put up to honor Confederate leaders. But the timing of the monument building makes it pretty clear what the real motivation was: to physically symbolize white terror against blacks. They were mostly built during times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of subjugation against blacks, and during those campaigns the message sent by a statue of Robert E. Lee in front of a courthouse was loud and clear.

Drum’s post, worth a quick read, links to the Southern Poverty Law Center report that contains this and other data and excellent graphics for a QL course. It is worth recalling the first statement of sustainability on our Defining Sustainability Page:  The current state of people is not a morally acceptable endpoint of societal development.

CEOs Still Doing Fine

The EPI has detailed report on CEO pay, CEO pay remains high relative to the pay of typical workers and high-wage earners. The article includes data, such as the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay that was used to create the graph here. Although the ratio has decreased since its peak of 347.5 in 2007, it was still a healthy 270.5 in 2016, which is over 10 times the 20 it was in 1965.  From the report:

From 1978 to 2016, inflation-adjusted compensation, based on realized stock options, of the top CEOs increased 937 percent, a rise more than 70 percent greater than stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 11.2 percent growth in a typical worker’s annual compensation over the same period. CEO compensation, when measured using the value of stock options granted, grew more slowly from 1978 to 2016, rising 807 percent—a still-substantial increase relative to every benchmark available.

Over the last three decades, compensation, using realized stock options, for CEOs grew far faster than that of other highly paid workers, i.e., those earning more than 99.9 percent of wage earners. CEO compensation in 2015 (the latest year for data on top wage earners) was 5.33 times greater than wages of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, a ratio 2.15 points higher than the 3.18 ratio that prevailed over the 1947–1979 period. This wage gain alone is equivalent to the wages of more than two very-high-wage earners.

As noted, the report which is worth reading, has data that can be used in the classroom and ample quantitative information for QL based classes.

Greenland Ice, Changing Albedo, and a Feedback Loop

The BBC reports: Sea Level Fears as Greenland Darkens. The article discusses a possible feedback loop where as temperatures warm algae growth may flourish, which darkens the surface and changes the albedo to increase melting.

One concern now is that rising temperatures will allow algae to flourish not only on the slopes of the narrow margins of the ice-sheet but also on the flat areas in the far larger interior where melting could happen on a much bigger scale.

We joined the latest phase of research in which scientists set up camp on the ice-sheet to gather accurate measurements of the “albedo” or the amount of solar radiation reflected by the surface.

White snow reflects up to 90% of solar radiation while dark patches of algae will only reflect about 35% or even as little as 1% in the blackest spots.

Other highlights from the article include:

Currently the Greenland ice sheet is adding up to 1mm a year to the rise in the global average level of the oceans.

It is the largest mass of ice in the northern hemisphere covering an area about seven times the size of the United Kingdom and reaching up to 3km (2 miles) in thickness.

This means that the average sea level would rise around the world by about seven metres, more than 20ft, if it all melted.

You can get Greenland Ice Data from NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet page as noted in a past post.

How Big is the Pay Gap Between Black Women and White Men?

A recent article, Black women have to work 7 months into 2017 to be paid the same as white men in 2016, from the EPI answers this question. The article has pertinent comparisons.

Myth #2: Black women can educate themselves out of the pay gap.

The truth: Two-thirds of black women in the workforce have some postsecondary education, 29.4 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Black women are paid less than white men at every level of education.

There are three tables/charts, such as the one here, with the data so it can be used in a classroom.  The EPI maintains a data that was highlighted in this blog’s post Data Spotlight: Employment and Wages by Race and Gender.

NOTE: Sustainability Math now has a Twitter account. Consider following @SustMath

No El Nino, Yet 2017 on Track to be 2nd-Hottest

Climate Central reports, At Midway Point 2017 Is 2nd-Hottest Year on Record, and notes in the first line that this is a surprise given it is not an El Nino year (graph here is by and links to NASA).

“Personally, I wasn’t expecting it to be as warm as it has been,” Ahira Sanchez-Lugo, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist, said in an email. “After the decline of the strong El Niño I was expecting the values to drop a bit and rank among the top five warmest years. This year has been extremely remarkable.”

According to NOAA we just had the second hottest June with the hottest three Junes occurring in the last three years. You can get the data for June since 1880 from NOAA here and details about June  from their Global Climate Report  – June 2017.

Life Expectancy by Health Expenditure with Comments on Differences by Race

Our World in Data has an interactive graph of life expectancy by health expenditure for a number of countries, with downloadable data. The U.S. spends more money per person on health care, by far, than the other countries represented, without corresponding gains in life expectancy. At the same time, there are large differences in life expectancy by race in the U.S.  For example, the 2013 CDC National Vital Statistics Report life tables has life expectancy at birth for Non-Hispanic Black males of 71.9 years, which would be at the bottom of the chart.  Hispanic females are at the top in the U.S. with a life expectancy at birth of 84.2 years; a 12.3 year difference (data on page 3 here).  At the same time, the money spent on health care is also not likely to be equally distributed. The CDC is a source of life expectancy data and if you ask them they might have excel files. For an example of using life expectancy data, here is a 2012 paper Period Life Tables: A Resource for Quantitative Literacy published in Numeracy and freely available.

Where Do Carbon Emissions Go?

Where do carbon emissions go seems like an obvious question. Into the air of course. If so, then one would expect a near perfect linear relationship between emissions and atmospheric CO2.  The graph here has yearly carbon emissions in million tonnes per year (as reported by the Global Carbon Project)  vs atmospheric CO2 in ppm from Mauna Loa (see data in the calculus project page).  The graph may not be as linear as expected and, while maybe some of it is explained by issues of mixing in the atmosphere or the need for a lag, part of the answer is based on where the carbon goes after it has been emitted.  A recent NYT article, Carbon in the Atmosphere is Rising – Even as Emissions Stabilize, sheds some light on the issue:

Scientists have spent decades measuring what was happening to all of the carbon dioxide that was produced when people burned coal, oil and natural gas. They established that less than half of the gas was remaining in the atmosphere and warming the planet. The rest was being absorbed by the ocean and the land surface, in roughly equal amounts.

In essence, these natural sponges were doing humanity a huge service by disposing of much of its gaseous waste. But as emissions have risen higher and higher, it has been unclear how much longer the natural sponges will be able to keep up.

In fact, much of the carbon is absorbed in the ocean and land surface, and that will add variability to the relationship. The Global Carbon Project has this data available and it can be used by teachers. Go to their page and click on the global budget link for the data, which includes ocean and land sinks of carbon.  If you want the data that created the graph on this page go here.

Oceans as a Heat Sink: Possible Feedback Loop

Ocean currents are a complex mechanism that contribute to absorbing CO2 and heat. The NASA article, NASA-MIT study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink – atmospheric gases sponge, discusses the role of ocean currents as part of climate change. The possible feedback loop is suggested by this:

In addition, they found that in scenarios where the ocean current slows down due to the addition of heat, the ocean absorbs less of both atmospheric gases and heat, though its ability to absorb heat is more greatly reduced.

The article includes this must see 40 seconds animation of ocean currents and a engaging 3D graph with the depth of the ocean as the z-axis:

Life Expectancy vs Income Per Person

With health care in the news, let’s take a look at the knowledge that can be gained by using Gapminder. For example, the graph here is life expectancy vs income per person for 2015, with the bubbles representing population size of the country. Can you guess the bubble for the U.S.? Go to the graph on Gapminder to find out.  As a bonus their is a play button so that the graph will scroll from 1800 to 2015. You will also find a number of tools to change the graph and create others. All the data used by the Gapminder graphs is located on their data page.