Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Quiet Skies

As the current epidemic takes over Europe, one of the major effects has been the reduction of air traffic. Craig Taylor, a data visualization specialist has captured this well in a couple of tweets showing the differences across Europe over the past two weeks. The first one is a little harder to read but in the second one you can really see the dropoff in flights by the height and number of blue bars - as opposed to red ones.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Some Interesting Epidemic maps

Here is one interesting side effect of the shutdowns caused by a global pandemic; reduced emissions. The video below shows how northern Italy under lockdown has greatly reduced their Nitrogen Dioxide emissions.

To get an idea of how bad and long lasting the situation can get it can be useful to look at past deadly outbreaks.

There was a good article a few years ago on mapping the "Russian Flu" epidemic of 1889-90 from the National Library of Medicine. It includes this color coded map published in Germany a few years later. Each color represents a time period of the spread of the flu from its origins in Central Asia.
The legend gives a good idea of the time periods involved.
The article also includes an animation of the spread based on this map - it can be seen here.

Finally, here is a pretty awful map from today's online version of the New York Times.

All of western Europe is labeled as "Italy", the label placement for South Korea is confusingly poor, the bright orange is more alarmist than it needs to be and Japan is not even colored in the alarmist color.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Canada's Ecological Disaster

Take a minute out from worrying about infectious diseases to worry about how melting permafrost can kill you (tl;dr go to last sentence). Canadian Geographic cartographer Chris Brackley made a nice map showing permafrost overlaid with subsoil carbon content for a story from last year.

Melting permafrost releases more carbon into the atmosphere further accelerating the planet's warming process. The map clearly shows areas that where the most ecological damage may occur. In addition to carbon, thawing permafrost can also release toxins into the atmosphere. The article details how a child was killed in Siberia by an anthrax infection from a newly exposed reindeer carcass.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Australia's Ecological Disaster

Reuters Graphics has done a nice job of showing species habitat overlaid with areas that have recently burned.
For example here is the Eastern Ground Parrot and the parts of its habitat that have been affected by fires.
A detail of Kangaroo Island shows the extent of fire in the only known habitat of the Kangaroo Island Dunnart, a mouse sized marsupial.
According to the article Wallabies are affected more by loss of food supply than by the fires. National Park service staff have airdropped thousands of kilos of carrots and sweet potatoes from helicopters to help the species.
 From the article:
As fires become more frequent and more intense across Australia, even if the small exclusive areas where these animals live had escaped the recent fires, they would have been at higher risk of burning in coming decades, Lindenmayer said.
“The danger that we are now seeing in large parts of Australia that are burning so frequently is that animals simply don't have enough time to recover before there's another fire.”
 The full article is here