Interactive

GIF: Amazon Deforestation & Mountaintop Mining

Michael Data & Graphics, Interactive, Photo May 23, 2016

Another couple of pieces of gem from NASA Earth Observatory’s archive, first about the catastrophic mountaintop mining happening in West Virginia (1984-2015) and the other about deforestation (2000-2012) in the Amazon.

This time-series of images of a surface mine in Boone County, West Virginia, illustrates why this controversial mining method is also called “mountaintop removal.” Based on data from Landsat 5, 7, and 8, these natural-color images document the growth of the Hobet mine as it moves from ridge to ridge between 1984 to 2015.

This time-series of images of a surface mine in Boone County, West Virginia, illustrates why this controversial mining method is also called “mountaintop removal.” Based on data from Landsat 5, 7, and 8, these natural-color images document the growth of the Hobet mine as it moves from ridge to ridge between 1984 to 2015. See original post for animation of a lot more images.

 

By the start of this satellite time series from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the frontier had reached the remote northwest corner of Rondônia. Intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). Over the span of 12 years, roads and clearings pushed west-northwest from Buritis toward the Jaciparaná River. The deforested area along the road into Nova Mamoré expanded north-northeast all the way to the BR-346 highway.

By the start of this satellite time series from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the frontier had reached the remote northwest corner of Rondônia. Intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). Over the span of 12 years (2000-2012), roads and clearings pushed west-northwest from Buritis toward the Jaciparaná River. The deforested area along the road into Nova Mamoré expanded north-northeast all the way to the BR-346 highway. See original post for animation and more images.

The state of Rondônia in western Brazil — once home to 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres), an area slightly smaller than the state of Kansas — has become one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s forests have been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest—an area larger than the state of West Virginia—had been cleared.

GIF: Yellow River Delta Engineered

Michael Interactive, Photo May 22, 2016

It is well known that the Yellow River, a.k.a. China’s mother river, dumps billions of tons of sediment to the sea and its floods cause havoc on the people along the watershed. Yet I first heard about that China tried to engineer a re-routing of the very end of the river flow right before it reaches the sea, via this NASA Earth Observatory post:

Between 1989 and 1995, the delta became longer and narrower along a southeast-bending arc. In 1996, however, Chinese engineers blocked the main channel and forced the river to veer northeast. By 1999, erosion and settling along the old channel caused the tip of the delta to retreat, while a new peninsula had formed to the north.

Yellow River Delta between 1989 and 2009

Between 1989 and 1995, the delta became longer and narrower along a southeast-bending arc. In 1996, however, Chinese engineers blocked the main channel and forced the river to veer northeast. By 1999, erosion and settling along the old channel caused the tip of the delta to retreat, while a new peninsula had formed to the north.

The new peninsula thickened in the next five-year interval, and what appears to be aquaculture (dark-colored rectangles) expanded significantly in areas south of the river as of 2004. By 2009, the shoreline northwest of the new river mouth had filled in considerably. This may be the outcome that the engineers were anxious to achieve: the land northwest of the newly fortified shoreline is home to an extensive field of oil and gas wells. Their protection is a primary concern.

The World’s Heat Map (also wind map)

Michael Data & Graphics, Interactive, Photo May 20, 2016

I used to awe at this genius’ work pulling off a live interactive map that shows the latest (not by minute though) winds blowing around the world. And there are actually more gems to be found here, when I read about India’s recent record breaking temperature of 51 C. Here below is in the middle of the night in Asia, when Beijing was at a cool 15.8C while most of India was approaching 40C.

The Temperature Map captured on earth.nullschool.net at 3AM May 21, 2016 China local time

The Temperature Map captured on earth.nullschool.net at 3AM May 21, 2016 China local time

For precise positioning of major cities, you can wikipedia your city of interest and pinpoint the location by modifying the URL’s location coordinates, such as “…loc=116.383333,39.916667”

For instance, if you are trying to find Beijing, you’d enter the above coordinates value at the end following “loc=” as you will find the coordinates of Beijing by clicking this on Beijing’s wikipedia page 39°55′N 116°23′E which leads to this GeoHack page for Beijing.

 

GIF: Beetle Infestation Eats Up Forests in the Rockies

Michael Interactive, Photo May 18, 2016

Another interesting bird’s-eye view of the wipe out of large forests in the Rocky Mountains, via NASA Earth Observatory:

In Colorado, severe beetle infestations showed up in lodgepole pine forests about 50 miles west of Boulder and Fort Collins around 2000. Over time, the affected area grew so that by 2011 the infestation had spread east to ponderosa pine forests that were much closer to the two cities.

In Colorado, severe beetle infestations showed up in lodgepole pine forests about 50 miles west of Boulder and Fort Collins around 2000. Over time, the affected area grew so that by 2011 the infestation had spread east to ponderosa pine forests that were much closer to the two cities.

A single pine bark beetle is about the size of a grain of rice. But when the beetle population swells, it can have a major impact on forest health. And that’s exactly what has been happening across the Rocky Mountains over the past decade.

GIF: Time Traveling in China by Dheera Venkatraman

Michael Data & Graphics, Interactive, Photo May 18, 2016

Really amazed by this MIT scientist/photographer who has taken this to an artistic level, documenting the dramatic changes over the landscapes of many Chinese cities. There are more on his site here.

Pudong, Shanghai, circa 1920-2009

Pudong, Shanghai, circa 1920-2009, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

Shanghai via satellite, 1984-2012, (Google Earth)

Shanghai via satellite, 1984-2012, (Google Earth)

 

Lanzhou, China, circa 1930-2016,

Lanzhou, China, circa 1930-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

 

Chengdu, China, 1994-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

Chengdu, China, 1994-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

 

Guangzhou, China, circa 1970-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

Guangzhou, China, circa 1970-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

 

Yibin, China, circa 1940-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

Yibin, China, circa 1940-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

 

Guiyang, China, circa 1920-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

Guiyang, China, circa 1920-2016, (Unknown, Dheera Venkatraman)

Original post on ChinaFile.com

iPhone 360 Video Capture: Falcon 9 Landing on Sea

Michael 360°, Interactive, Video May 17, 2016

I’ve posted something advertising for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket landing on the drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. But that post has some issues while viewed on a mobile device to watch the 360 video. Here below is a recorded iPhone screen playing back that 360 video via a Facebook 360 post. With an Mac and iPhone, it’s a lot easier to record the phone’s screen, inspiration here.


If you are behind the Great Fire Wall, watch below:

GIF: Cities Under Water 2C vs. 4C Temperature Rises

Michael Interactive, Photo May 15, 2016

A few months ago, I wrote on ChinaFile.com about the dramatic renditions of climate change impacts on major cities around the world, with large swaths of urban centers flooded by rising waters, between the 2C and 4C temperature rise scenarios. A huge tip of my hat to ClimateCentral.org for their genius and artistic work on visualizing the consequences of climate crisis.

Shanghai under water 2C vs. 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

Shanghai under water 2C vs. 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

Lower Manhattan under water 2C vs. 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

Lower Manhattan under water 2C vs. 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

Sydney under water 2C vs 4C temperature rises

Sydney under water 2C vs 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

London under water 2C vs 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

London under water 2C vs 4C temperature rises, via ClimateCentral.org

GIF: Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Half Built

Michael Interactive, Photo May 14, 2016

Here’s the first half of the world’s soon-to-be longest water crossing, before it was built and now half way there, via NASA Earth Observatory:

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge over Pearl River Estuary 2013-2016

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge over Pearl River Estuary 2013-2016

If you want to get from Macau or Zhuhai to Hong Kong, you either have to take a boat or drive at least four hours (200 kilometers) across southeastern China. An ambitious engineering project intends to shorten that drive time to 40 minutes.

The HKZM connector will include roughly 42 kilometers (26 miles) of bridges over water, with another 7 kilometers (4 miles) passing through a submarine tunnel. The estimated $132 billion (Hong Kong) project will include three cable-stayed bridges and long stretches of causeways; the longest bridge section will be 29.6 kilometers (18.4 miles) long. Three lanes of traffic will move in each direction, roughly east-west across the water. Once completed, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will be one of the longest water crossings in the world, equivalent to about 15 Golden Gate Bridges.