The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a tropical storm and hurricane data archive that stretches back to 1851. But looking at each storm individually doesn’t have nearly as much impact as seeing them all projected onto a map at once. Data visualization expert John Nelson combined data on historical storms’ paths and intensities to create this stunning image, where the color of a dot represents that storm’s intensity.
The photo links to a larger version, but for a resolution high enough to see each individual point, click here.
Image courtesy of IDVsolutions / flickr
A snow crab
If you’ve ever read up on the environmental impact of your eating habits, you know that eating fish can be a dicey prospect. Having been overfished for decades, many wild fish populations are on the brink of disappearing.
A new report from NOAA shows that one attempt to deal with this problem of severely depleted fisheries, the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006, seems to be helping, at least a little bit. The act states that each year, NOAA must give status updates on all fish populations within 200 miles of the US Coast. If the fisheries are hurting, fishermen must stop catching those fish until their numbers recover. Over the last 11 years, 27 previously precarious fish populations have been announced recovered; this year, the six lucky winners were the haddock in the Gulf of Maine, the Chinook salmon along the coast of Northern California, the snow crab of the Bering Sea, the summer flounder on the mid-Atlantic coast, the coho salmon on the coast of Washington, and the widow rockfish in the Pacific.
Overall, NOAA takes these recoveries as a sign that the law is doing its job; according to a metric called the fish stock sustainability index (FSSI), things have been steadily improving for US fish stocks since 2000. But it’s not necessarily a sign to order snow crab tonight. To be declared recovered, a Pew Environmental Group employee told the NYT’s Green Blog, a fish population only has to reach 40% of the numbers it had historically. That seems pretty far from true recovery.
Image courtesy of nelgdev / flickr
The 2000s, the “aughts”—whatever you want to call the first decade of the 21st century, you can also call it the warmest 10 years on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just released its annual “State of the Climate” report, and after sampling 37 climate indicators including the biggies like sea surface temperature, glacier cover, and sea level, they came to that conclusion.
The NOAA report—published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society—is different from other climate publications, because it’s based on observed data, not computer models, making it the “climate system’s annual scorecard,” the authors wrote… “It’s telling us what’s going on in the real world, rather than the imaginary world,” said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research [National Geographic].
While one climate group trumpets its mountain of climate data, the scientists at the University of East Anglia are just climbing out from the scandal that broke out over theirs. This month another investigation cleared the Climate Research Unit of scientific misconduct or dishonesty, without condoning the emails’ tone or the unit’s handling of the controversy.