Humidity, Sunshine Across The U.S.

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Weather

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

A Warmer Winter For Some

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Weather

These maps capture the warm winter we’re experiencing in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. The top map shows the average temperature so far this December. The bottom map shows how that figure differs from the norm over the last three decades: 

Source: National Weather Service, Climate Prediction Center

‘Hunkered Down’ With Some DC Hurricane History

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Using the NOAA’s cool hurricane tracker, I discovered that Washington, DC, hasn’t received a direct hit from a hurricane in recorded history. (And, of course, Hurricane Irene won’t pass directly over our city either).

It has, though, endured three tropical cyclones, all of which were unnamed: 

The first, a tropical storm from 1933, crossed directly over American University in northwest DC:

The second, in 1939, was a tropical depression. It moved through southeast DC along the Anacostia River near what’s now RFK Stadium: 

The last, in 1945, was something called an extratiopical cyclone. It clipped southeast DC: 


It’s getting windy outside. I should save this post before we lose power…

NOAA’s Climate Change Library

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

The city of Chicago is planning ahead for climate change, choosing different paving materials and plants in anticipation of warmer temperatures, according to this story in The New York Times.

“Cities adapt or they go away,” said Aaron N. Durnbaugh, deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment. “Climate change is happening in both real and dramatic ways, but also in slow, pervasive ways. We can handle it, but we do need to acknowledge it. We are on a 50-year cycle, but we need to get going.”

Across America and in Congress, the very existence of climate change continues to be challenged — especially by conservatives. The skeptics are supported by constituents wary of science and concerned about the economic impacts of stronger regulation. Yet even as the debate rages on, city and state planners are beginning to prepare.

The story prompted me to seek climate data, and I stumbled up this cool interactive library maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You can use their graphics to see trends in temperature anomalies, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, sea levels, etc.: