Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Much of the US Southwest Still in Drought Conditions

October 6, 2014


Much of the US has been in a serious drought for the past few years. Although it is indeed severe in California, the intensity of this drought is not yet as serious as the famed dust bowl of the 1930’s. Click through for interactive maps and an extensive history of American droughts.

–from The New York Times


Commercial Weather Forecasts Most Accurate Within One Week’s Time

July 4, 2014

Commercial weather forecasts are most accurate within one week’s time. After nine days, climatology models, or predicting the temperature based on previous year’s temperatures, is the most accurate. Within three days, predictions are accurate to within four degrees Fahrenheit.


Female-Named Hurricanes Kill More People, Are Not Perceived as Threatening

June 3, 2014

The perceived masculinity of a hurricane’s name, where a 1 is most masculine, greatly influences the number of people killed by the storm. As feminine-named hurricanes are perceived as less threatening, people do not prepare as seriously. Fewer than ten people die from high-damage storms with the butch-est name, while five times as many die from the most feminine-named storms.

–from The Economist

California’s Troubled Water Supply

March 21, 2014

California’s water supply issues are not new. As the population continues increasing, the water supply has been receding since the late 1990’s, with a recent and dramatic decline in the past few years.

Hours of Daylight Across the Year

March 20, 2014

This chart shows the amount of sunlight by latitude and time of year. Today’s equinox runs along the left-most blue line at 80 days. For American latitude reference, the Canadian-US border runs along the 49th Parallel and the California-Mexico border is at the 28th Parallel

–from Wikipedia

California’s Winter Snow Pack at Dangerous Low; Droughts Ahead

January 16, 2014



California’s winter snow pack is dangerously low this January, leading to series concerns of droughts this year. The water from this snow pack creates 65% of the state’s water and some hydroelectric power.

–from The Atlantic and the USDA

Largest Land Owners in the US

January 15, 2014

The largest land owners in the US own 33 million acres, or 1.5% of all the land in the country. Most of these families are in forestry or ranching. The largest land owner, John Malone, has holdings the size of Puerto Rico.

–from Visual-statistix

Arctic Sea Ice Continues Summer Shrinking

September 23, 2013

Summer arctic sea ice cover has shrunk by 40% since 1980. This incredible decline has increased over the past decade and the Arctic is expected to be ice-free by next summer. This summer, the first cargo vessel sailed north from China through the recently navigable sea.

–from The Guardian

Number of Chickens on Earth up 262% since 1970

September 4, 2013

The the global chicken population has exploded since 1970, with over 20 billion chickens living in 2010. Their numbers have increased 262% since 1970.

–from Mother Jones

North American Oil Production Is Radically Shifting Global Supply

May 14, 2013

North American oil production, dark green in the chart, has been undergoing explosive supply growth since 2010. Between the new extraction methods used in the US and continued expansion of the Alberta tar sands in Canada, the supply and extraction technology coming from North America will change the global oil market radically over the next five years. Consider the following quote from the International Energy Agency’s press release accompanying this graph:

“The supply shock created by a surge in North American oil production will be as transformative to the market over the next five years as was the rise of Chinese demand over the last 15, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its annual Medium-Term Oil Market Report (MTOMR) released today.”

–from Business Insider and the International Energy Agency