Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricanes Flip-Book Style

Here are 33 years of hurricane seasons lobbed into a bloated and clunky animation (it may take a few moments to fully paint in).  I've retained the newest 33 years of data, sourced form the original visualization of hurricanes since 1851, to get a baseline sense of activity all over the globe (collection was less consistent in earlier years).

I was interested to get a sense of the overall proportion of storms in the various basins compared to the relative number of high-category hurricanes.  I would have expected more storms overall per season in the Atlantic, but when they form they do tend to get ferocious.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hurricanes Since 1851

Hurricanes and tropical storms since 1851, as far as we can tell.  Poster print options available here.  You are looking up at the Earth; Antarctica at center, the Americas to the right, Australia and Asia to the left, and Africa at the bottom.

What Is It?
Ok, here's a bottoms-up view of known tropical storms and hurricanes dating back to 1851.  The fine folks at NOAA keep an archive of storm paths with wind speed, storm name, date, among other attributes, and are always updating and refining information for past events based on historical evidence and educated hunches.  The data are awesome and they make it available in several formats.  Here's what it looks like slapped onto a polar projection (looking up at Antarctica) with point color tied to intensity...

A couple of things stood out to me about this data...

1) Structure.
Hurricanes clearly abhor the equator and fling themselves away from the warm waters of their birth as quickly as they can.  Paging Dr. Freud.
The void circling the image is the equator.  Hurricanes can never ever cross it.  Check out the oddball to hit South America, though.

2) Detection.
Detection has skyrocketed since satellite technology but mostly since we started logging storms in the eastern hemisphere.  Also the proportionality of storm severity looks to be getting more consistent year to year with the benefit of more data.

Anyways have at it, and you can find a superultramega-sized version here or check out poster print options here.  And check out the slightly animated version of hurricane seasons since 1978 here.

The best part about this process was finding a map projection that would be both cool looking and show the circuitous structure of the data.  I still prefer the South Pole Stereographic but here are some of the also-rans.  Maybe you'll find one of them more orienting...

Cool Mistake
Also when first registering the data, I accidentally assigned time as one of the location coordinates and, after the initial disappointment of what I though was mucked up data, realized that what I was actually seeing was a timeline visualization of where we've historically paid mind to collecting storm data.  Check out this bit of happenstance that showed me we only really started logging the East and South hemisphere versions of these things around 1978 (which is also the year that I ultimately started keeping track of things)...

Increasing satellite detection -particularly geostationary satellites, brought the southeast quad of the globe 'online.'  The two charts are a maybe-mind-bending look at the when and where of detection, showing the abrupt inclusion of hurricanes (known as Typhoons, locally) from other parts of the world in the data archive.

Other Sort-Of Related Maps
If this map is interesting to you, you might be amenable to plunging down the rabbit hole of related visualizations...

Tornado Tracks since 1950:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Oldies But Goodies

From time to time, I'll rediscover these shipping maps from last year and sigh a little.  There are a few posts about this humongo data (a day in the life of global shipping traffic) so I thought it would be handy to combine their links into a single post -mostly for my benefit, but I hope you enjoy it as well!

Here's the heatmapped shipping data draped over a masked out road/aerial basemap (full collection of maps here).  I think the transitions of silver cartographic seas blending into the blackness of the aerial images looks sort of metallic, for whatever it's worth...

Here it is with a Boolean mapping theme to show relative proportions of traffic based on shipment type, either goods or oil (full collection of maps here)...

And, finally, a weighting and extrapolation method used in the cartography to coax out the linearity of the network (background info here)...

Oh, and an over the top chalkboard illustration using this data with insets of some interesting bits...