Tag Archives: charts and graphs

How do we model ocean plastic flow?

The Ocean Cleanup article Forecasting Ocean Plastic Around The GLOBE: A Deep Dive Into Modeling The Garbage Patches by Axel Peytavin (2/12/2021) provides an excellent overview of modeling the movement of plastic to the main garbage patches in the oceans.

We are now ready to delve into the core of the dispersion model: . It revolves around a central differential equation that integrates all phenomena at stake to give an estimate of a particle velocity, or the plastic’s speed through water. Basically, our methods calculate the particle’s velocity at a given time with a formula and use it to estimate where the particle will be a few minutes later. We repeat this process over a long period of time to get a series of positions, i.e., a trajectory of where the plastic goes.

Interesting data storage needs:

As this process has to be repeated over years, the datasets containing wind and speeds all around the globe can take up a lot of space. For instance, the LLC4320 global circulation model uses no less than 5 petabytes of data to be stored. At The Ocean Cleanup, we often use HYCOM data for currents (illustrated below), and GFS for the wind; and our datasets require at least 1.5 terabytes to be stored.

There is an equation and animated graphs.

As an aside here is a page with interesting marine mammal facts: Expert Guide to the Most Interesting Marine Mammals on the Planet.



What are U.S. predicted energy CO2 emissions?

The eia article EIA’s AEO2021 shows U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions rising after the mid-2030s by Perry Lindstrom and Kevin Nakolan (2/11/2021) provides the graph copied here.

EIA projects that U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions will increase in the latter years of the projection as a result of increasing economic growth that leads to growing industrial energy requirements. EIA projects energy use in transportation will increase as vehicle fuel efficiency plateaus in the mid-2020s and becomes outweighed by increases in vehicle travel demand.

There are links to data in the article.

What percent of Americans say they will get the vaccine?

The USC Center for Economic and Social Research has a page Understanding America Study with results of survey questions related to COVID-19. For example, here is a time series of the percent of individuals very or somewhat likely to get a vaccine by race (not exactly encouraging). There are numerous choices from their dropdown menu regarding perceptions, behaviors, and impacts of COVID-19. Some details about the site:

The USC Center for Economic and Social Research’s Understanding Coronavirus in America tracking survey is updated daily with the responses of members of our population-representative Understanding America Study. Each panel member is invited to respond on a pre-assigned day of the week every other week. Each data point represents a full sample of responses from the previous seven days*. The graphs are updated just after 3am PDT every day of the week.

Each graph has a link to download the data.

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).

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 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.