Tag Archives: QL

What is the Groundswell report?

From the world bank:

This sequel to the Groundswell report includes projections and analysis of internal climate migration for three new regions: East Asia and the Pacific, North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Qualitative analyses of climate-related mobility in countries of the Mashreq and in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are also provided. This new report builds on the scenario-based modeling approach of the previous Groundswell report from 2018, which covered Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. The two reports’ combined findings provide, for the first time, a global picture of the potential scale of internal climate migration across the six regions, allowing for a better understanding of how slow-onset climate change impacts, population dynamics, and development contexts shape mobility trends.

Key projection:

Over 216 million people could move within their countries by 2050 across six regions,

The report discusses their modeling (there is more than this) :

Both Groundswell reports use the same modeling approach, which allows for direct comparison of results and for aggregation to derive the global figure for internal climate migration. They take a scenario-based approach and implement a modified form of a gravity model to isolate the projected portion of future changes in spatial population distribution that can be attributed to slow-onset climate factors up to 2050. The Spotlight discusses the key innovations and scope of the modeling approach.

Quiz question for a class: Is the 216 million people a lot or a little?

 

 

What are the latest climate projections?

The IPCC sixth assessment report was just released. The graph here is from the summary for policymakers.  The 42 page summary could be used as part of a sustainability or QL type course as there are plenty of graphs.  Page 15 starts the discussion on the different scenarios, which is an opportunity to talk about modeling and assumptions. For a sense of the long term consequences:

In the longer term, sea level is committed to rise for centuries to millennia due to continuing deep ocean warming and ice sheet melt, and will remain elevated for thousands of years (high confidence). Over the next 2000 years, global mean sea level will rise by about 2 to 3 m if warming is limited to 1.5°C, 2 to 6 m if limited to 2°C and 19 to 22 m with 5°C of warming, and it will continue to rise over subsequent millennia (low confidence). Projections of multi-millennial global mean sea level rise are consistent with reconstructed levels during past warm climate periods: likely 5–10 m higher than today around 125,000 years ago, when global temperatures were very likely 0.5°C–1.5°C higher than 1850–1900; and very likely 5–25 m higher roughly 3 million years ago, when global temperatures were 2.5°C–4°C higher (medium confidence).

How dry is Arizona?

From the climate.gov article Western Drought 2021 Spotlight: Arizona by Tom Di Liberto (7/29/2021):

Looking back even farther by using a drought indicator known as the Standardized Precipitation Index, the current drought in Arizona is also the worst on record back to the late 1800s. Going back even farther than THAT by using tree rings across the Southwest as stand-ins for soil moisture, the current drought over the entire region is one of a handful of the worst droughts in the last 1200 years. Other especially bad droughts occurred in the late 1500s and late 1200s (known as the Great Drought). Basically, this is a long-winded way of saying the current drought in Arizona and the Southwest is bad no matter if you look back 10 years, 100 years, or 1,000 years.

The graph copied here shows that it has been 6 years since a wet year with 2020 precipitation the lowest since 1900. And, of course:

According to the Climate Science Special Report, temperatures across the Southwest have increased by 1.61 degrees Fahrenheit since the first half of the 20th century. These increases in temperature contribute to aridification in the Southwest by increasing evapotranspiration, lowering soil moisture, reducing snow cover and impacting snowmelt.

Looking to the future, temperatures in the Southwest are projected to increase by the end of the century by around 5 degrees Fahrenheit if carbon dioxide emissions follow a lower path and up to 9 degrees if emissions follow a much higher path. Increasing temperatures can make soils even drier, amplifying drought.

There are other graph in the article but no direct links to data. Still, there is good information and plenty of material for a QL course.

Who has access to a smartphone or broadband?

The Pew article Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021 by Andrew Perrin (6/3/2021) summarizes the results of their smartphone and home broadband survey.

Smartphone ownership (85%) and home broadband subscriptions (77%) have increased among American adults since 2019 – from 81% and 73% respectively. Though modest, both increases are statistically significant and come at a time when a majority of Americans say the internet has been important to them personally. And 91% of adults report having at least one of these technologies.

There are differences between various groups (see their graph copied here):

The share of Americans with home broadband subscriptions has similarly grown since 2019 – from 73% of adults saying they have one in the previous survey to 77% today. There are more pronounced variations across some demographic groups, particularly in differences by annual household income and educational attainment. For example, 92% of adults in households earning $75,000 or more per year say they have broadband internet at home. But that share falls to 57% among those whose annual household income is below $30,000.

There are other graphs in the article and Pew provides a methodology section with access to data.

How did the pandemic impact CO2 and CH4?

The NOAA Research News article Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and methane surged in 2020 (4/7/2021) notes

The economic recession was estimated to have reduced carbon emissions by about 7 percent during 2020. Without the economic slowdown, the 2020 increase would have been the highest on record, according to Pieter Tans, senior scientist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory. Since 2000, the global CO2 average has grown by 43.5 ppm, an increase of 12 percent.

And methane:

Analysis of samples from 2020 also showed a significant jump in the atmospheric burden of methane, which is far less abundant but 28 times more potent than CO2at trapping heat over a 100-year time frame. NOAA’s preliminary analysis showed the annual increase in atmospheric methane for 2020 was 14.7 parts per billion (ppb), which is the largest annual increase recorded since systematic measurements began in 1983.

There are two other graphs in the article and an abundance of quantitative information for a QL course.

What is the distribution of global income?

The Our World in Data article How much economic growth is necessary to reduce global poverty by Max Roser (2/15/2021) includes the graph copied here. Note that all countries incomes are adjusted for price differences so it is fair comparison from county to country. It is easy to forget how much wealthier the U.S. is compared to almost all other countries.

The reason why such substantial economic growth is necessary for reducing global poverty is that the average income in many countries in the world is very low: 82% of the world population live in countries where the mean income is less than $20 per day.

There are three other graphs in the article, which is suitable for a QL based course. There isn’t data associated with these particular graphs but there are links at the top of the article with related economic data.

What did the 116th Congress do more of?

From the Pew article, Though not especially productive in passing bills, the 116th Congress set new marks for social media use, by Aaron Smith and Sono Shah (1/25/2021):

Voting members of the 116th Congress collectively produced more than 2.2 million tweets and Facebook posts in 2019 and 2020. That means the median member of Congress produced more than 3,000 posts across their profiles on the two social media platforms during this span.

The 3000 sound like a lot but amounts to only about 8 posts a day and I have to imagine that some of it is done by aides.

There are two other charts in the article and a detailed methodology section. There is also a link to a related article which includes the number of laws passed from the 101st through 116th congress.

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 people are employed in manufacturing?

Elections seem to bring out various statements about manufacturing employment in the U.S. So, here is a review of manufacturing in the U.S. The graph here was created using FRED, which is a great resource for economic data. As a percent of all employees, manufacturing peaked in the early 1940s at 38% and has been declining ever since to now below 9%. As a total number of workers the peak was in 1979 at 19,428,00 people and bottomed out at the end of the great recession at 11,529,00 people. The numbers have recovered slightly to 12,839,00 people in 2019, but this is still shy of the 13,403,00 people in 2008 before the recession. Kevin Drum has a point on fact checking related to this in his post Fact of the Day: Manufacturing as a % of the Workforce, 1985-2020.