World Meteorological Organization: Climate Indicators

This website provides a trustworthy source for climate data. The data presented is assessed, catalogued and verified by an International Expert Group on Climate Data Modernization (IEG-GDM) assembled by the World Meteorological Organization from various disciplines. This section of the website contains a list of seven (7) main indicators scientists use to evaluate the state of the climate. These indicators are: surface temperature, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, ocean heat content, sea level, ocean acidification, sea ice, ice sheet extent, glacier mass balance, precipitation, and extreme indices for temperature and precipitation. These statistics all provide up to date information, most of the graphs showing data from 1950 forward to 2020. Additionally each of the 7 indicators feature data visualizations from a variety of sources. Pros of the website are that it is easy to navigate and the information is visually presented in a readable and straightforward format. Since there isn’t an overwhelming number of graphs for most of the indicators, I think it would be better however, to include a small description of the information being presented for each graph rather than requiring the user to open a link to another page for more information.

Atmosphere Design Lab

This website is an atmosphere design lab from the Smithsonian Institute. You can adjust the levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen or ozone in the atmosphere. Once you choose a gas, there are statistics about the levels of that gas in the atmosphere and what would happen if you changed the levels. There are also helpful examples from other points in history when different levels of these gases were present. For example, if you have more oxygen than the average amounts found on earth today, there would be a chance of things spontaneously combusting. This interactive site is helpful for people who want to learn more about the composition of the earth’s atmosphere but don’t know where to start.

URL: http://forces.si.edu/atmosphere/interactive/html/index.htm

A picture of the site is below.

Interactive Atmospheres: Jet Stream and Weather Maps from netweather.tv

netweather.tv is a site that provides a wide variety of interactive maps for current and predicted atmospheric patterns, including jet stream, storm risk, lightening detection, and weather radar maps. This site provides weather-related information for travel such as snow reports, predicted temperatures in high-volume travel destinations, and holiday weather. Live reports from meteorologists are also available. While this is a U.K.-based site which focuses on nations in and surrounding the U.K., there are numerous tools for monitoring atmospheric conditions in the U.S. and non-U.K. European nations.

https://www.netweather.tv/charts-and-data/jetstream

 

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) showcases a wide variety of NASA programs using striking images, animations, videos, and other visuals. By synthesizing complex scientific research and data with visual elements, the Scientific Visualization Studio creates a largely accessible platform to promote education and a broader scientific understanding of earth and space processes. The website has curated various galleries tied to specific NASA projects. These collections range from Air Quality to Astrophysics to Carbon and Climate projects. One of the featured collections is of ICESat-2, or the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2, which launched on September 15th, 2018. ICESat-2 is NASA’s most advanced laser satellite instrument (ATLAS) and will be used to monitor changes in height, depth, and mass of ice sheets and glaciers with extreme levels of precision to better understand and predict sea-level rise. ICESat-2 will also provide essential information about forest vegetation, ocean surfaces, and urbanization, among other applications. To explain what the ICESat-2 project is hoping to accomplish and how they have gotten to this point, the SVS with Goddard Media Studios has produced many videos that explore the importance of ice sheets, how the laster altimeter technology works, and even documenting the 470-mile research expedition in Antarctica that accompanied this project. This website, with its galleries of scientific information and mapping related to climate change, glacial melt and sea level rise, hurricane and storm impacts, stratospheric ozone depletion, and forest fire intensity and prevalence are all topics we have discussed in our class. Additionally, projects like ICESat-2 demonstrate how different remote sensing technologies are being implemented for environmental and geographic research purposes.

“Up in Smoke: The pros and cons of burning rubbish” : Madison Sweitzer

Photo from The Geographical 

An article from The Geographical, the official magazine of the Royal Geographical Society. In London, they are currently burning 53% of trash, which is an amount that has almost doubled in the last decade. The British government is looking to cut down on the amount of burned trash, and the Treasury has announced that it now is considering imposing a tax on the incineration of waste, creating an active opposition to what was originally thought of as a favorable alternative to adding waste to landfills. One positive of the burning trash is that it can be used to generate steam energy, and it lowers the physical amount of trash in landfills. However, opposition to this process critiques that incinerating plants have never been required to report particulate emissions in enough detail to moderate the potential health impacts. The plants are also contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, with approximately each ton of waste burned adding one ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The last critique is that increasing incineration may decrease motives to recycle. Although the negatives appear to outweigh the positives, this situation does demonstrate the importance of trying to best consider all components of the Earth when making environmentally-conscious decisions. By this I mean that in this instance it appears that the damage to the atmosphere would outweigh any benefit to the biosphere of less physical trash, but it is important to assess both. This article relates to our discussion of climate change in class, and specifically how humans may be contributing to it, through greenhouse gas emissions such as this. It also introduces the political component of addressing climate change, such as the tax considered in this article, and how that may help to combat the further damage.

 

Article Source

Tracking Lightning

LightningMaps.org is a map that shows lightning strokes around the globe in real time. The site gathers data from radio frequency signals that collect information on where lightning strokes occur. This is a community driven website so the information is crowdsourced and does not come from one specific governmental agency. Operators at radio frequency stations submit their information and the website then creates digital markers at the locations where lightning is being recorded. Due to a large network of operators sending information, the accuracy of the strokes is about one mile. This system covers specific areas in Europe, America, and Oceania. The website also stores strokes for up to 24 hours.

This website is especially interesting because amateur weather scientists can get involved recording lightning and adding to a global database. Also, this website acts as a good supplement to people who are looking to follow storms in real time. The website is easy to use with just a few buttons and four different overlays.

https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en

National Geographic Encyclopedic Entries

The National Geographic encyclopedic entries page is a really useful tool for our Physical geography class since it provides various entries on class related concepts like hot spots, El Nino, earth’s crusts, continental drift, etc. It’s really easy to use, you can either enter the topic you are interested in looking for or just scroll down the pages looking for it. Each entry provides a set of images, definitions, animations, videos, background information, related material and even useful sources that connect to other articles about the subject.  There’s even a complete vocabulary tap that expands on explaining each key term’s definition and use. This would be a really useful tool to study for our final exam since you can search in a more interactive way concepts that you feel you need to look up more information about.

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/

Climate Initiatives Program

The UN Environment and Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment-partnered Climate Initiatives Program (CIP) is a platform dedicated to sharing information on current initiatives combating climate change across the world. The number of initiatives is currently 224 and counting. Initiatives are grouped under Themes that range from Finance to Waste to Energy. You can search for specific terms or events or simply browse the data base and sort by Theme. Creating an account helps you stay up to date on all the latest developments in the climate change topics you are passionate about. You can keep initiatives up to date without having to request approval from the administrators.

Perhaps the most interesting parts of this website are its Success Stories and Impacts sections. The former gives the impression that this is not a losing battle and that contributions to this cause do have real, positive effects on the environments around us. You can even opt to create your own success story if you have been active in a certain project in your community. The impacts of international climate initiatives (ICIs) section also offers external information and sources that offer more information on pending and current initiatives covering cities and regions throughout the world.

Storm Prediction Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service’s (NWS) Storm Prediction Center contains numerous maps of the United States that show if any severe weather is present or if there will be any in the future.  Their “Forecast Products” include Current Convective Watches and Outlooks, which show the potential for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms from today to eight days away; Current Mesoscale Discussions, which show all current severe weather; Fire Weather Outlooks, which show the potential for wildfires today and up to eight days away; and the Watch, Warning, and Advisory Display (WWA) which shows all types of WWAs.  All of these maps are easy to understand and allow the user to easily see which type of hazardous weather is in their area.  The user can also read a detailed statement released by the NWS that explains what could happen.

It is pretty impressive that the NWS can predict severe weather up to eight days in advance.  People can use this site to see if any storms are heading their way and how bad they will be.  However, the thing about weather is that it is always changing and the NWS constantly needs to update their maps and descriptions.

NWS Watch, Warning Advisory Display 12/02/17 1:16pm EST

 

 

The Office of Federal Sustainability

The Office of Federal Sustainability website is a great resource to learn about the energy use of the US government, which is the largest energy consumer in the country. The Office of Federal Sustainability is a sub-department of The Council on Environmental Quality, an executive office of the White House which advises the President on environmental issues and policy.

The site explains the initiatives undertaken by the government to reduce energy use across its 360,000 buildings and 660,000 vehicles. Graphs and charts showing the energy usage of various government agencies are available. There is also a ranking of all federal departments in terms of energy use and sustainability initiatives. The scorecards rate each agency on a green, yellow, red scale in terms of whether or not the agency is compliant with environmental goals in areas such as water use reduction, renewable energy usage, green building development, and emissions reduction. Another section of the site is dedicated to policies, executive orders, and statutes concerning environmental issues. Furthermore, the website provides an array of other resources about energy conservation in the federal government and beyond. It is helpful to understand the US government’s policies regarding the energy use of its own agencies since the federal government serves as an example of sustainability to both citizens and corporations.

Link: https://www.sustainability.gov/index.html