I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature. - FAQs - Follow - Face - Ask - Donations - Climate Book Store - Submissions

Recent Tweets @climatecote
Posts tagged "statistics"


World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100

Using modern statistical tools, a new study led by the University of Washington and the United Nations finds that world population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century. The number of people on Earth is likely to reach 11 billion by 2100, the study concludes, about 2 billion higher than some previous estimates.

The paper published online Sept. 18 in the journal Science includes the most up-to-date estimates for future world population, as well as a new method for creating such estimates.

Birds killed per year by energy source. Via U.S. News (trigger warning, written by Alan Neuhauser).

Wind and solar kills about 300k per year. Coal, nearly 8 million. Power lines kill about 12 and 64 million birds per year.

The biggest killer of birds? House cats kill 3 billion birds per year. That’s about 375 of those black bars for coal placed end to end.


26-30 August 2013
Penn State University

The Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM) links an international, transdisciplinary team of climate scientists, economists, philosphers, statisticians, engineers, and policy analysists to answer the question, “What are sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible climate risk management strategies?”

As a central part of its educational and research mission, SCRiM will host a week-long summer school to foster opportunities for collaboration and to provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with a solid foundation in the broad, multidisciplinary knowledge, tools, and methods of the diverse fields participating in the network.  

Taught by senior researchers in the SCRiM network, the summer school will offer sessions on Earth system sciencepolicy analysisuncertainty quantificationcoupled epistemic-ethical analysis, and integrated assessment. Participants will also gain hands-on experience with key methods and tools such robust decisionmaking, the use of simple models, and analysis of relevant datasets.  The summer school will include a Toolbox Workshop session to foster enhanced cross-disciplinary communication and more effective collaborative research among participants.

While the summer school is designed primarily for graduate students and postdocs collaborating within the SCRiM network, participants from other institutions will also find it an enriching experience.  Furthermore, the SCRiM network is open to new members and summer school participation may provide opportunities to explore the potential for new collaborations.

To apply, please send an single PDF file containing an application letter (briefly describing your research interests and explaining why you would like to attend the summer school) and a current CV  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and should be submitted no later thanWednesday 24 July 2013 to receive full consideration.  Funding is available to support travel and accommodations for participants.

Karen Fisher-Vanden — Integrated Assessment
Chris Forest — Uncertainty Quantification
Klaus Keller — Earth System Science
Robert Lempert — Policy Analysis / Robust Decisionmaking
Michael O’Rourke — Toolbox Workshop
Nancy Tuana — Coupled Epistemic-Ethical Analysis
To learn more about SCRiM, please visit


The ways Africa outperforms America - The Washington Post

Eye-opening slideshow showing the ways Africa is growing. Economic development and innovation are taking off, and so are human rights. I wouldn’t characterize these highlights anywhere near “ahead of the US” but a newspaper has to grab eyeballs somehow.

Millions of Africans still die of trivial causes in Africa (diarrhea, malaria, child birth, measles, pneumonia, etc.). Tens of thousands of children under five die every day in Africa. A horrifying number considering how moral the rest of the world thinks they are, or, monetarily, considering the trillions of dollars that nations have poured into the continent (and billions more from charities, NGOs, and so-called religious organizations). 

In fact, now that I look at this a little more, of the planet’s 194 countries, the vast majority of countries with the highest rates of death are all African.

And I haven’t touched upon environmental issues. What a mess.

Anyway, thanks to WaPo for the glamorous slideshow.

(via prepaidafrica)

Population growth and climate change explained by Hans Rosling – The Guardian.

He’s been called the Jedi master of data visualisation, dubbed a statistics guru and introduced as the man in whose hands data sings. When it comes to celebrity statisticians, Hans Rosling is firmly on the A-list.

In the years since his first TED talk (Stats that reshape your worldview), which thrust him into the spotlight in 2006 with millions of online views, Rosling’s now signature combination of animated data graphics and theatrical presentations has featured in dozens of video clips, a BBC4 documentary on The Joy of Stats, and numerous international conferences and UN meetings.

Instead of static bar charts and histograms, Rosling, professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, has used a combination of toy bricks, cardboard boxes, teacups and vibrant, animated data visualisations to breathe life into statistics on health, wealth and population. With comic timing and a flair for the unusual, Rosling’s style has undoubtedly helped make data cool.

When Time magazine included him in its 2012 list of the world’s 100 most influential people, it said his “stunning renderings of the numbers … have moved millions of people worldwide to see themselves and our planet in new ways”.

However, Rosling, 64, is less convinced about his impact on how people view the world. “It’s that I became so famous with so little impact on knowledge,” he says, when asked what’s surprised him most about the reaction he’s received.

"Fame is easy to acquire, impact is much more difficult. When we asked the Swedish population how many children are born per woman in Bangladesh, they still think it’s 4-5. I have no impact on knowledge. I have only had impact on fame, and doing funny things, and so on." He’s similarly nonplussed about being a data guru. "I don’t like it. My interest is not data, it’s the world. And part of world development you can see in numbers. Others, like human rights, empowerment of women, it’s very difficult to measure in numbers."

Report: “The Deadliest, Costliest, and most Intense U.S. Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010 (and other frequently requested hurricane facts)”

Nifty PDF. Technical, but easy to read and focused on U.S. storms. Shows the rank, year, paths on maps, deaths, damage, and economic impacts of several storms over the past century. 46 pages. Looks like Hurricane Sandy will be ranked 6th.


Well played, sir.


Well played, sir.

Hurricanes on steroids and the famous baseball analogy.

Really great interactive map. Hover your mouse over nearly any country to view stats on ag production and needs. There’s also a drop down menu to help show various densities by color on the map. Straight forward and well researched. Check it out and follow the center for investigative reporting.

The United States is the world’s biggest economy and the leading exporter of wheat, corn, beef and many other commodities. It also has the most unequal wealth distribution of all major developed countries. Economic woes in the U.S. have led to one in seven Americans to rely on food assistance.

Get more information on world food statistics from the U.S. and countries around the world in our interactive map.

Weather also has two additional properties that make forecasting even more difficult. First, weather is nonlinear, meaning that it abides by exponential rather than by arithmetic relationships. Second, it’s dynamic — its behavior at one point in time influences its behavior in the future. Imagine that we’re supposed to be taking the sum of 5 and 5, but we keyed in the second number as 6 by mistake. That will give us an answer of 11 instead of 10. We’ll be wrong, but not by much; addition, as a linear operation, is pretty forgiving. Exponential operations, however, extract a lot more punishment when there are inaccuracies in our data. If instead of taking 55 — which should be 3,125 — we instead take 56, we wind up with an answer of 15,625. This problem quickly compounds when the process is dynamic, because outputs at one stage of the process become our inputs in the next.

Given how daunting the challenge was, it must have been tempting to give up on the idea of building a dynamic weather model altogether. A thunderstorm might have remained roughly as unpredictable as an earthquake. But by embracing the uncertainty of the problem, their predictions started to make progress.


Each major wind farm in America creates 1,000+ jobs and adds millions of dollars to local communities.  Today, wind farms generate about 50,000 megawatts of clean, renewable energy — the equivalent of the energy produced by 12 Hoover Dams.

Read more in two recent NRDC reports:

Over 5,000 temperature records were broken in 2012.

Over 5,000 temperature records were broken in 2012.


At :52 seconds, Hans Rosling gives the shortest TED talk ever.

Tumblr-er faithskilee defends Arch Coal’s lawsuit win, which I posted about earlier today. She states that West Virginia needs jobs, and that Arch Coal’s new permit to blow-up mountains and fill streams will create jobs - and jobs are all that matter. You can read her defense, here and below.

"Here’s the deal. This is the company my Dad works for. He knows the soon-to-be manager of this site. I’m frustrated when people are pissed over things like this. Arch has made significant improvements to be more environmentally friendly. Ultimately, in one of the poorest counties in West Virginia, families can be secure to have an income. Families of workers will never fear mine explosions and our nation can still grow and people can use their computers and turn their lights on. #dealwithit #workingwithnotagainst

She’s wrong.

Overlooking that her tags are in direct contradiction with each other, the facts are that:

  1. Arch Coal has laid off workers nearly every year since 1999
  2. The coal industry has not produced the economic gains it promised WV as far back as 1997. Coal has argued that blowing up the mountains of West Virginia will make the state more prosperous. But, WV is still deeply poor. Why? See Shear Madness, written in 1997.
  3. Arch Coal only employs around 1,000 people in West Virginia
  4. Arch Coal has operations around the world, and is the 2nd largest coal miner in the U.S., yet it employees less than 7,000 people (Wikipedia has it at 3,600 employees, but I’ll take the 7k from a recent PR by Arch Coal) (for context, Exxon has about 90,000 employees, Coke about 150,000, Apple about 45,000).
  5. Only 2% of WV’s jobs are in coal mining (see here, PDF). Of WV’s 790,000 people employed, only 19,000 mine coal. 2%! This mine will do nothing for WV families. (And that 19k number is old, from 2008. Since then, thousands have been laid off and more are on the chopping block.)
  6. Coal kills people.

Arch Coal, despite providing light to people’s homes, is not producing jobs nor improving people’s lives.

</second rant of the day>