What is the status of the Great Salt Lake?

You may be seeing articles about the Great Salt Lake in the news and how it drying up is an environmental problem.  NASA Earth Observatory had a great article last summer, The Great Shrinking Lake, with maps and data about the loss of water.

Though water levels in the Great Salt Lake can fluctuate by year, they have generally been declining for decades. At the lake’s highest recorded level in 1986, mean water elevation reached as high as 4,211.6 feet (1,283.7 meters). Since 1986, the lake has dropped about 22 feet, hitting a new record low on July 3, 2022. By August 10, 2022, water levels had dropped slightly more—to 4,189.6 feet (1,276.9 meters).

Now 20 feet may not seem like a lot, but click the NASA link and take a look at the then and now map with the slider. The surface area of the lake had decreased dramatically. The NASA post also has a well-done animated graph. If you want data about the Great Salt Like go to Hydroshare page Collection of Great Salt Lake Data. Daily updated lake elevation and drought maps can be found at the Great Salt Lake Water Level page.

Has Lake Mead improved?

If you have been following my Lake Mead post you might be  curious if the rain in the west has improved the situation. Well, you probably looked at the graph by now and realized that the levels haven’t risen much. Based on the graph it seems that Dec to Jan is typically the biggest jump in levels with the max occurring each year between Jan and March. I’ll check back once the March data is in, but this certainly seems like a problem that is only getting worse.

The graph here is from the data on the Lake Mead at Hoover Dam, End of Month Elevation (feet) page by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Sept Lake Mead post.

How have commodity prices changes in the last month?

The World Bank has a monthly report that monitors commodity price movements, the pink sheet, highlighted in the post Energy prices dropped in January; non-energy inched up – Pink Sheet  by John Bafffes and Maria Hazel Macadangdang (2/8/2023).

Energy prices dropped 8.9% in January, led by natural gas in Europe (-44%) and coal (-16.1%), the World Bank’s Pink sheet reported. Non-energy prices gained 1.7%, led by metals.

The pink sheet linked to in the article has plenty of data. Quiz question: Which commodity had the largest percent change? See the third graph for the answer.

By party, what are the biggest difference in top concerns?

The pew article Economy Remains the Public’s Top Policy Priority; COVID-19 Concerns Decline Again (2/6/23)  provides the graph here.  The three biggest gaps:

The largest gaps between Republicans and Democrats are on protecting the environment and dealing with global climate change. Two-thirds of Democrats say environmental protection should be a top priority, compared with 20% of Republicans. Similarly, 59% of Democrats say this about climate change versus just 13% of Republicans.

Democrats also are much more likely than Republicans to prioritize addressing issues around race (49% top priority among Democrats vs. 13% among Republicans)

One might expect that the biggest gaps would come in categories where one group is very positive and the other not and it does for the top category of protecting the environment (67-20). Interesting though the third biggest gap on issues around race does not even get a majority on the top group (Dems at 49%). What about the smallest gap where the low group is still above 50%?  Reducing the influence of money in politics (55-63).

There are other breakdowns in the article including by race and by age. Great quantitative literacy article. There is also a methodology

How have incarceration rates changed?

Rick Nevin has an excellent post, Update: Continuing trend toward zero youth incarceration (1/18/2023), that summarizes trends in incarceration rates.  There are five interesting graphs, but the one here might surprise folks the most.  There has been steady decrease in the gap between Black male incarceration rates and the overall male incarceration rates. Some quotes:

It is remarkable – and exasperating – that the debate over crime and incarceration almost entirely ignores divergent trends by age. Youth crime and incarceration are vanishing as arrest and incarceration rates are still increasing for adults over 50. The only crime theory that explains this divergence is the impact of birth year trends in preschool lead exposure.

The steeper decline in Black incarceration rates since 2001 reflects the fact that Black children recorded steeper blood lead declines associated with slum clearance over the 1960s and city air lead declines since the early-1970s (explained here).

I don’t think it is widely known that youth incarceration rates have been decreasing while over 50 have been increasing.

It is especially exasperating that criminal justice reform advocates ignore incarceration trends by age. Those trends should inform incarceration reduction strategies, to have the greatest impact and to generate the least resistance from “tough-on-crime” advocates.

We do not have a “mass incarceration” problem for youths. Not anymore. Reductions in preschool lead exposure have caused massive declines in youth crime and incarceration. We do still have mass incarceration for adults over 50, and it’s getting worse.

There are links to the data in the first sentence. Check out my lead crime project in the Statistics Projects section.

How much crude oil will the U.S. produce?

According to the eia article U.S. crude oil production will increase to new records in 2023 and 2024 by  Matthew French, Alexander DeKeyserling, Naser Ameen (1/25/2023):

…we forecast that crude oil production in the United States will average 12.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2023 and 12.8 million b/d in 2024, surpassing the previous record of 12.3 million b/d set in 2019.

What about prices?

We forecast the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price will average $77 per barrel (b) in 2023 and $72/b in 2024, down from $95/b in 2022. Despite declining crude oil prices, we expect the WTI price will remain high enough to support crude oil production growth, especially in the Permian, where data from the Dallas Fed Energy Survey indicate that average breakeven prices range from $50/b to $54/b.

There are links to the data at the bottom of the page.

How hot was Dec 2022?

From NOAA’s December 2022 Global Climate Report:

December 2022 ranked as the eighth-warmest December in NOAA’s 143-year record. The December global surface temperature was 1.44°F (0.80°C) above the 20th-century average of 54.0°F (12.2°C). December 2022 marked the 46th consecutive December and the 456th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

Highlights:

December in Africa tied 2016 to rank as second warmest on record.

December in Italy ranked second-warmest on record.

The United Kingdom had a cooler-than-average December—the only month of 2022 to have a below-average monthly temperature.

Links for the time series data at the top of the page.

Which state grew the fastest in 2022?

You probably looked at the graph already and know the answer, Florida. The graph is from the Census Bureau article New Florida Estimates Show Nation’s Third-Largest State Reaching Historic Milestone by Marc Perry, Luke Rogers and Kristie Wilder (12/22/2022). This leaves us with more questions than answers, which we’ll get to. First,

After decades of rapid population increase, Florida now is the nation’s fastest-growing state for the first time since 1957, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 population estimates released today.

Florida’s population increased by 1.9% to 22,244,823 between 2021 and 2022, surpassing Idaho, the previous year’s fastest-growing state.

Florida wins by percent but did Florida add the most population?

Increasing by 470,708 people since July 2021, Texas was the largest-gaining state in the nation, reaching a total population of 30,029,572. By crossing the 30-million-population threshold this past year, Texas joins California as the only states with a resident population above 30 million. Growth in Texas last year was fueled by gains from all three components: net domestic migration (230,961), net international migration (118,614), and natural increase (118,159).

Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022, with an annual population increase of 1.9%, resulting in a total resident population of 22,244,823.

If Florida grew by 1.9% and was the fastest, what was the U.S. growth?

After a historically low rate of change between 2020 and 2021, the U.S. resident population increased by 0.4%, or 1,256,003, to 333,287,557 in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 national and state population estimates and components of change released today.

The last two quotes are from the Census Bureau press release Growth in U.S. Population Shows Early Indication of Recovery Amid COVID-19 Pandemic (12/22/2022). Plenty of QL uses for these articles and you can follow the link in the last quote for data.