What contributes to sea level rise?

The Climage.gov article Climate Change: Global Sea Level by Rebecca Lindsey (1/25/2021) provides a nice overview of rising sea levels. It is easy to forget that thermal expansion of water is a significant contributor to sea level rise.

Global mean sea level has risen about 8–9 inches (21–24 centimeters) since 1880, with about a third of that coming in just the last two and a half decades. The rising water level is mostly due to a combination of meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets and thermal expansion of seawater as it warms.

To estimate how much of the observed sea level rise is due to thermal expansion, scientists measure sea surface temperature using moored and drifting buoys, satellites, and water samples collected by ships. Temperatures in the upper half of the ocean are measured by a global fleet of aquatic robots. Deeper temperatures are measured by instruments lowered from oceanographic research ships.

To estimate how much of the increase in sea level is due to actual mass transfer—the movement of water from land to ocean—scientists rely on a combination of direct measurements of melt rate and glacier elevation made during field surveys, and satellite-based measurements of tiny shifts in Earth’s gravity field. When water shifts from land to ocean, the increase in mass increases the strength of gravity over oceans by a small amount. From these gravity shifts, scientists estimate the amount of added water.

The are other graphs in the article and links to data (note the link at the end of the article).

Which 6 states together use more than half the jet fuel?

The eia article Six states accounted for more than half of U.S. jet fuel consumption in 2019 by Mickey Francis (1/27/2021) provides the graph here. Now, this isn’t surprising as CA, TX, FL, and NY are the four most populous states in that order. IL comes in 6 and GA 8. The article essentially notes this in the last line here:

In 2019, more than half of the jet fuel consumed in the United States was consumed in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, and Georgia, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) State Energy Data System. These states are home to many of the nation’s busiest airports and headquarters for many of the largest U.S. airlines. The six states are also among the most populous, accounting for about 40% of the U.S. population in 2019.

These six states represent 40% of the population but use 53% of the jet fuel and so there is a discrepancy. What accounts for the difference? For example, these 6 states account for about 44% of the GDP in the U.S. (BEA page 6), which closes the gap some. A stats project in the making. The eia page has links to their data.

Is this chart misleading?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics posts the chart (partially) copied here and last updated Sept 2020. An initial look at the graph and we see that the top 5 each have a median pay higher than the median pay in the U.S. (about $35k), but this is based on growth rate. On the other hand, if we look at the number of jobs the top 5 here are predicted to create, Table 1.3 from the BLS, we get 152.2 thousand jobs.  The sixth job on this list, home health and personal care aides, has a below median pay but is predicted to create 1,159.5 thousand jobs. There are 30 jobs listed in table 1.3 and home health and personal care aides represents about 45% of predicted new jobs created on this table. One can download the data in table 1.3 in an xlsx file.

How many women are in the 117th U.S. congress?

The Pew article, A record number of women are serving in the 117th Congress by Carrie Elizabeth Blanzina and Drew Desilver (1/15/2021) reports:

Counting both the House of Representatives and the Senate, 144 of 539 seats – or 27% – are held by women. That represents a 50% increase from the 96 women who were serving in the 112th Congress a decade ago, though it remains far below the female share of the overall U.S. population.

The stacked bar chart copied here may be nice to look at but it is really hard to compare the changes in Republican women. A downside of the stacked bar chart.

How well are we vaccinating?

Our World in Data now has a vaccinations as part of their Coronavirus Pandemic Data Explorer. As you can see the U.S. is doing relatively well. Now, Israel is doing much better than anyone and they aren’t on the graph because it makes it hard to see the rest of the countries selected here. Kevin Drum noted this is his post today The US is Doing OK on COVID-19 Vaccinations. He notes (referencing roughly the same graph here):

Why do I keep posting charts like this? Because we’ve spent way too much time on doom and gloom about how incompetently we’ve rolled out the COVID-19 vaccine. With the well-known exception of Israel, we’re doing as well or better than anyone else. If we’re incompetent, then the entire world is incompetent.

You can download the data from the Our World in Data page.

How hot was 2020?

In my last post we saw that December 2020 was only the eighth warmest December. So, how did 2020 fair overall?  From NOAA’s Global Climate Report – Annual 2020:

With a slightly cooler end to the year, the year 2020 secured the rank of second warmest year in the 141-year record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of +0.98°C (+1.76°F). This value is only 0.02°C (0.04°F) shy of tying the record high value of +1.00°C (+1.80°F) set in 2016 and only 0.03°C (0.05°F) above the now third warmest year on record set in 2019. The seven warmest years in the 1880–2020 record have all occurred since 2014, while the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. The year 1998 is no longer among the 10 warmest years on record, currently ranking as the 11th warmest year in the 141-year record.

The report is lengthy and worth reading. I’ll not this in particular:

Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is essential for understanding and modeling global climate since > 90% of excess heat in the Earth’s system is absorbed by the ocean. Further, expansion due to increased ocean heat contributes to sea level rise. Change in OHC is calculated from the difference of observed temperature profiles from the long-term mean.

The annual global ocean heat content (OHC) for 2020 is relatively unchanged from 2019, previously the highest annual OHC on record: while the 0–700m OHC is slightly lower, the 0–2000m annual global OHC is slightly higher than in 2019. The six highest OHC have all occurred in the last six years (2015–20). During 2020, the heating was distributed throughout the world’s oceans, with higher rates of warming in the northern and southern Atlantic and in localized zones of the Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans.

The ocean heating is irrefutable and a key measure of the Earth’s energy imbalance: the excess greenhouse gases in the air trap more heat inside the climate system and drives global warming. More than 90% of the heat accumulates in the ocean because of its large heat capacity, and the other heating is manifested in warming the atmosphere, warming and drying land, and melting land and sea ice. There are no reasonable alternatives aside from the human emissions of heat-trapping gases (IPCC 2001, 2007, 2013, 2020; USGCRP 2017).

The time series data is available in the box on the top center of the page under Temperature Anomalies Time Series.

How hot was December 2020?

From NOAA’s Global Climate Report – December 2020:

The global land and ocean surface temperature for December 2020 was 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average and the eighth highest departure from average for December in the 1880–2020 record. Compared to recent months, this value was the smallest monthly temperature departure during 2020 and the smallest monthly temperature departure since February 2018.

However, compared to all Decembers, this was the seventh highest December percentage since records began in 1951. Meanwhile, the most notable cooler-than-average conditions were present across parts of southern Asia, where temperatures were at least 2.0°C (3.6°F) below average. Other notable cooler-than-average conditions were present across the tropical Pacific Ocean, where La Niña was present during December 2020. However, no land or ocean areas had record-cold December temperatures.

The time series data is available in the box on the top center of the page under Temperature Anomalies Time Series.

How big are new single family homes?

The Census Bureau report New Single-Family Homes Sold Not as Large as They Used to Be by Philip Thompson (12/21/2020) notes:

The average square footage of new homes sold in the United States increased from 2,457 in 2010 to 2,724 in 2015 but dropped in 2019 to 2,518, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Characteristics of New Housing.

Note that the title is bit misleading based on the first sentence of the article. Homes are smaller than in 2015 but still larger than in 2010. Interestingly (also see graph)

Despite the decline in average square footage, the share of homes with four bedrooms or more that were sold increased from 41% in 2010 to 49% in 2019.

Now, note the switch to comparing to 2010 as the number of 4+ bedroom homes is down from 2015. Plenty to explore here for stats/QL class, for instance what is the relationship between home size and the number of bedrooms?

The link in the first quote brings you to a page with numerous xls files of data about homes. The article has four other graphs.

What book do I Recommend?

I’ve never done a book recommendation before and that changes today. If you are looking for a book that has about 75 excellent graphs and uses paleoclimatology data to connect changing climate as it impacts society during the time period of roughly 1200 to 1500, then I recommend Bruce M. S. Campbell’s book The Great Transition – Climate, Disease and Society in the Late-Medieval WorldThe book connects modern science along with data and graphs to tell the story of medieval Europe. I can certainly see this book being used in some form of interdisciplinary seminar or a data science course where student work to reproduce the graphs (of course, you can just read the book for fun). The book pointed me toward the Paleoclimatology Datasets posted at NOAA. The is a lot of data here and it takes some work to get what you might want, but it is a valuable resource.

What ten things should we know?

Kevin Drum provides an answer is his post the Top Ten Things You Might Not Know But Probably Should (12/31/2020) and each one has a graph. I copied the graph from 3, The Federal Judiciary Is About the Same As It’s Always Been:

The Supreme Court gets all the attention, but the vast majority of judicial decisions that make a difference in our lives either start or end in circuit courts. Here’s what that looks like:

It’s true that Donald Trump has appointed a lot of circuit court judges, but many of them simply replaced other conservative judges. The upshot of all this is that far from being unusually dominated by Republicans, the circuit courts today are less Republican than the 40-year average of 54 percent.

His sources are cited so you can likely track down the data.