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.

C-19, counts or per capita?

The media tends to focus on the number C-19 deaths in a country, but per capita provides a better understanding of the impact in a country.  The Our World in Data page Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research page has interactive graphs for per capita deaths. For example, currently Italy is over 7,500 deaths, but I didn’t put Italy on the chart because they are at 113 deaths per million and that made it hard to see the other countries I selected. In fact, Spain is at 3,650 deaths and 58 deaths per million was also left off.

Italy, currently the worst case scenario, broke 1 death per million on March 4. The U.S. is nearly 3 weeks behind breaking 1 death per million on March 22. China, despite over 3,000 deaths has kept the per capita deaths to 2.25 per million. I’d also argue that deaths are more accurate confirmed cases, since confirmed cases depend on the testing regime.

The data is available for download on the Our World in Data page.

How hot was February 2020?

From NOAA’s Global Climate Report  – February 2020:

Averaged as a whole, February 2020 was near-record warm with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of 1.17°C (2.11°F) above the 20th century average. Only February 2016 was warmer.

The February 2020 temperature departure from average was also the third highest monthly temperature departure from average for any month in the 1,682-month record. Only March 2016 (+1.31°C / +2.36°F) and February 2016 (+1.26°C / +2.27°F) had a higher temperature departure.

This means that the February 2020 global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average was the highest monthly temperature departure without an El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, surpassing the previous record set only last month (January 2020).

The data is available for the graph copied here. Click on Temperature Anomalies Time Series for February.


Who posts C-19 data?

If you are looking for COVID-19 data there are two good resources. The first is the Our World in Data Cornonavirus page by Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie, and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina. They have a number of interactive graphs, such as the one copied here where you can select countries to view, that are updated daily.

The second source is the GitHub page CSSEGISandData maintained at Johns Hopkins. They have three csv files that are updated daily which are confirmed, deaths, and recovered. The data is maintained down to the county level is some places.

What does it mean to “flatten the curve”?

The New York Times article How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts by Nicholas Kristof and  Stuart A. Thompson (3/13/2020) has a great interactive set of graphs that illustrate the importance of flattening the curve. The graphs start with the one copied here.

What’s at stake in this coronavirus pandemic? How many Americans can become infected? How many might die?

The answers depend on the actions we take — and, crucially, on when we take them. Working with infectious disease epidemiologists, we developed this interactive tool that lets you see what may lie ahead in the United States and how much of a difference it could make if officials act quickly.

One of the interesting features is that the user can drag a bar which is the date interventions begin and see how the curve changes.

How is spring changing?

Climate Central has put together their 2020 Spring Package (2/2/2020) with information and a selection of city graphs. For example

Analyzing average spring temperatures since 1970, the top increases occurred in the Southwestwhere spring is the fastest warming season. Reno, Nev. topped the list with an increase of 7.2°F, followed by Las Vegas, Nev. (6.4°F), El Paso, Texas (5.8°F), and Tucson (5.8°F). In general, 81% (197) of the 242 cities analyzed warmed by at least 1°F over the past fifty years. 

There are four different graph selections for spring: Average Temperature, Days Above Normal, Last Freeze, and a National Map. For the first three you can select from various cities. For example, I chose the graph for last freeze for Duluth, MN, which shows that on average the last freeze is occurring almost two weeks sooner.

The graphs are set up for easy download but there isn’t corresponding data. A previous post How much have fall nighttime temperatures risen? provides details on how to obtain this type of data.

How have counties grown since the great recession?

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth article New measure of county-level GDP gives insight into local-level U.S. economic growth by Raksha Kopparam (12/16/2019) provides the map copied here.

Making GDP a more useful metric may require peeling it apart and looking at the data more closely. On December 12, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released a new measure of economic growth that does just this—Local Area Gross Domestic Product. LAGDP is an estimate of GDP at the county level between the years of 2001—2018. This measure allows policymakers and economists alike to examine local-level economic conditions and responses to economic shocks and recovery.

The new data measurement shows that private-sector industries across the nation have experienced growth since the end of the Great Recession in mid-2009, yet most of this growth is concentrated in the West Coast states and parts of the Midwest.

The article has three other maps two of which are growth based on the tech sectors and manufacturing. Each graph has a url citation for the data.