Note: I followed my wife, a foreign correspondent for NPR News, to Seoul last year. This is one of a series of posts exploring our adopted country’s demographics, politics and other nerdy data stuff. Let me know if you have ideas for future posts.
I’ve been in Seoul just over a year, and I can’t stay here forever, so I’m starting to think seriously about the next city. For me, a key consideration is weather (and, you know, work and kids’ schools and such).
Seoul’s been pretty great, especially the relatively mild summers. But what can I expect from the next town? Here are the average monthly temperatures for the likely contenders. Some are warmer than others:
Or maybe one of these 269 places?
Data source: NOAA Comparative Climate Data
As I noted yesterday, we can expect similar weather here in Seoul as we experienced in Washington, D.C., where we lived until earlier this month. The two capital cities are located about the same distance from the Equator, along the 38th parallel north.
We’ll be in for something different this summer, however. That’s when the rains come. On average, Seoul gets about 35 inches of rain during July and August alone. To put that in perspective, our former home city, Austin, receives about the same amount annually. Seoul gets more rain in these months than most major cities in the American West, in fact.
Compare Austin, Seoul and Washington, D.C., in this chart:
The number of days with some rain also spikes a bit during the Seoul summer. Again, compare the cities:
New Scientist has published a fascinating interactive map related to increasing global temperatures over time:
The graphs and maps all show changes relative to average temperatures for the three decades from 1951 to 1980, the earliest period for which there was sufficiently good coverage for comparison. This gives a consistent view of climate change across the globe. To put these numbers in context, the NASA team estimates that the global average temperature for the 1951-1980 baseline period was about 14 °C.
Users can change the map, made by Chris Amico and Peter Aldhous, by time period and see an interactive chart with time series data. Here’s the global view for the last two decades:
And users can also zoom to their location (and the time series chart changes):
With summer winding down, I wondered: How much does the amount of sunshine and humidity vary among U.S. cities?
First, this map shows the average percentage of possible sunshine by city. (Yuma, AZ, has sun about 90% of the year; Juneau, AK, gets it about 30%). Larger bubbles represent higher percentages of sunshine (click the images for larger, interactive versions):
This map shows (a slightly different) list of cities and their annual average relative humidity in the afternoon:
I’m not sure whether these maps are effective — or whether they should be maps at all. But I wanted to try another quick experiment with CartoDB.
Data source: NOAA | Download: Sunshine, Humidity
Our latest work project transforms the static federal wildfire danger forecast into an interactive map. We released it today:
Users can view the full country map or find their location to see burning conditions in their area, in this case Carthage, Missouri:
And it works on a smart phone or tablet:
Escaping the heat to visit Montreal this weekend. See you Monday.
Today’s my birthday, and the weather is great. What’s it been like for past birthdays, I wondered.
The answer: All over the place (sort of like my parents’ moving choices). This quick heat map shows how the weather varied over the years, with the minimum and maximum more than 40 degrees apart. The average is a balmy 80 degrees, a bit warmer than today:
Data sources: Weather Underground, Weatherbase
USA Today reports that the country hasn’t been this “dry” in five years:
Still reeling from devastating drought that led to at least $10 billion in agricultural losses across Texas and the South in 2011, the nation is enduring more unusually parched weather.
The map uses the same data we at NPR used recently to map conditions in Texas, which endured the worst drought in its history last year. The map shows the full country, for context, and allows users to see an animated view week-by-week from summer 2010 to last month. Check it out.
Hint.fm visualizes surface wind from the National Digital Forecast Database:
View larger, live version and archive.
Last month was the fourth-warmest January in the contiguous United States on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
This chart shows three decades of Januaries. Red bars represent the percentage of the country that experienced “very warm” conditions compared to the norm: