Here’s a photograph of one of the greatest, and longest-running tragedies of our time.
No, that’s not a stretch of water in the red circle. That’s North Korea, at night, blacked out by a lack of electrical lights.
It’s a photo from the International Space Station taken in January.
The KnowMore blog from the Post describes the tragedy, and points to even more disturbing stories:
North Korea appears as nothing more than a shadow in the above photograph, taken at night aboard the International Space Station last month. South Korea’s eastern coastline is indistinguishable from the demilitarized zone along the border with the North, as though the Sea of Japan flowed into the Yellow Sea and Pyongyang were an island in a strait separating South Korea from China.
North Korea’s interior is nearly invisible from orbit at night, just as what happens inside the country on a day-to-day basis is largely invisible to the outside world. U.N. investigators managed to shine a little light into North Korea’s darkest corners last month. [Click here to get to the U.N. report]
I’ve used similar photos in class. It’s a powerful exercise. North Korea is as dark as undeveloped and largely unpopulated areas of the Congo River Basin, the Australian Outback, the Arabian Peninsula’s “Empty Quarter,” and almost as dark as Antarctica.
No doubt stargazing is good in some of those dark spots in North Korea. This is one case where the absence of light pollution does NOT indicate good planning, but instead an amazing paucity of rational development.
Anything we can learn there?
What did we learn?
- CO² emissions from humans rose a lot after the start of the industrial revolution
- When nations industrialize, CO² output rises dramatically (But, what’s with Brunei? Flaring of oil wells?)
Yes, that famous Rosling guy with the bouncing bubble, animated charts from TEDS.
Why not panic? Rosling’s group, Gapminder, explains:
The world might not be as bad as you might believe!
Don’t Panic – is a one-hour long documentary produced by Wingspan Productions and broadcasted on BBC on the 7th of November 2013.
The visualizations are based on original graphics and stories by Gapminder and the underlaying data-sources are listed here.
Hans’s — “All time favorite graph”, is an animating bubble chart which you can interact with online here and download offline here.
Hans presents some results from our UK Ignorance Survey described here.
Director & Producer; Dan Hillman, Executive Producer: Archie Baron. ©Wingspan Productions for BBC, 2013. A DVD version of this film is available to order from Wingspan Productions.
Alas, we can’t embed the film. You must view the video — for free — at the Gapminder site, here.
Tweet from the Wall Street Journal shows, in very dramatic form, how photographs can be used to record history and current events, telling a story that words just cannot.
In Ukraine, there’s an enormous difference between 2009 and 2014. In five years, Kiev is a different city.
Do we attribute the differences to corrupt government, to the assault on democratic institutions, or to the movement to end the corruption and boost democracy?
It’s more impressive that I can show in a link here; at the WSJ site, the two photos are interactive — you can grab the middle line with your mouse and move it to see the damage in 2014. Check it out.
Are there similar photographic comparisons for Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Venezuela, Brazil, China, Britain, the United States? If you know of some, or if you have created some, will you share?
Last month was one of the warmest Januaries ever. No, really
And so it was.
Information from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of NOAA:
- The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for January was the warmest since 2007 and the fourth warmest on record at 12.7°C (54.8°F), or 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ± 0.08°C (± 0.14°F).
- The global land temperature was the highest since 2007 and the fourth highest on record for January, at 1.17°C (2.11°F) above the 20th century average of 2.8°C (37.0°F). The margin of error is ± 0.18°C (± 0.32°F).
- For the ocean, the January global sea surface temperature was 0.46°C (0.83°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.5°F), the highest since 2010 and seventh highest on record for January. The margin of error is ± 0.04°C (± 0.07°F).
Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below. The anomaly map on the left is a product of a merged land surface temperature (Global Historical Climatology Network, GHCN) and sea surface temperature (ERSST.v3b) anomaly analysis developed by Smith et al. (2008). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC’s Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. The January 2014 Global State of the Climate report includes percentile maps that complement the information provided by the anomaly maps. These maps on the right provide additional information by placing the temperature anomaly observed for a specific place and time period into historical perspective, showing how the most current month, season, or year-to-date compares with the past.
In the atmosphere, 500-millibar height pressure anomalies correlate well with temperatures at the Earth’s surface. The average position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure—depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the January 2014 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.
The combined global land and ocean average temperature during January 2014 was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average. This was the warmest January since 2007 and the fourth highest since records began in 1880. This marks the ninth consecutive month (since May 2013) with a global monthly temperature among the 10 highest for its respective month. The Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature during January 2014 was also the warmest since 2007 and the fourth warmest since records began in 1880 at 0.75°C (1.35°F) above average. The Southern Hemisphere January 2014 temperature departure of +0.55°C (+0.99°F) was the warmest since 2010 and the fourth warmest January on record.
During January 2014, most of the world’s land areas experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, with the most notable departures from the 1981–2010 average across Alaska, western Canada, Greenland, Mongolia, southern Russia, and northern China, where the departure from average was +3°C (+5.4°F) or greater. Meanwhile, parts of southeastern Brazil and central and southern Africa experienced record warmth with temperature departures between 0.5°C to 1.5°C above the 1981–2010 average, contributing to the highest January Southern Hemisphere land temperature departure on record at 1.13°C (2.03°F) above the 20th century average. This was also the warmest month for the Southern Hemisphere land since September 2013 when temperatures were 1.23°C (2.21°F) above the 20th century average. Some locations across the globe experienced departures that were below the 1981–2010 average. These areas include the eastern half of the contiguous U.S., central Canada, and most of Scandinavia and Russia. The most notable cold anomalies were in Russia, where in some areas the departure from average was 5°C (9°F) below average. Overall, the Northern Hemisphere land surface temperature was 1.17°C (2.11°F) above average—the warmest January since 2007 and the fourth warmest since records began in 1880.
Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):
- France’s nationally-averaged January 2014 temperature was 2.7°C (4.9°F) above the 1981–2010 average, tying with 1988 and 1936 as the warmest January on record.
- Spain experienced its warmest January since 1996 and the third warmest since national records began in 1961, with a temperature of 9°C (48.2°F) or 2°C (3.6°F) above the 1971–2000 average.
- The January temperature in Switzerland was 2.4°C (4.3°F) above the 1981–2010 average—the fifth warmest January since national records began 150 years ago.
- Austria experienced its fifth warmest January since national records began in 1768. The nationally-averaged temperature was 3.3°C (5.9°F) above the 1981–2010 average. However, in some regions across the southern parts of the country, the temperatures were the highest on record. In Klagenfurt, the temperature departure was 5°C (9°F)—the highest since January 1813.
- China, as a whole, recorded an average temperature of -3.4°C (25.9°F) or 1.6°C (2.9°F) above average during January 2014. This was the second highest January value, behind 2002, since national records began in 1961.
- In Argentina, persistence of extremely high temperatures across central and northern parts of the country resulted in several locations setting new maximum, minimum, and mean temperature records for the month of January.
- Warm temperatures engulfed much of Australia during January 2014. Overall, the national average mean temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 1961–1990 average. This was the 12th highest January temperature since national records began in 1910. Regionally, the January 2014 temperature ranked among the top 10 warmest in Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia.
Across the oceans, temperature departures tend to be smaller than across the land surfaces. According to the percentiles map, much-warmer-than-average conditions were present across parts of the Atlantic Ocean, the northeastern and western Pacific Ocean, and parts of the Indian Ocean. Record warmth was observed across parts of the northern Pacific Ocean (south of Alaska), parts of the western Pacific Ocean, south of South Africa, and across parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Overall, the global ocean surface temperature in January was +0.46°C (+0.83°F)—the warmest since 2010 and the seventh warmest on record.
Warming denialists will scream about these data.
- 2013 4th Warmest Year on Record, Dan’s Wild, Wild Science Journal
Lightning strike in Monument Valley, photo by Carolyn Slay of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Smithsonian Magazine Tumblr Photo of the Day, February 20, 2014.
Rocks on the right can also be seen in this photo; can you help pinpoint the location of the photographer, and names of any of the other formations?