Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Real-Time Air Pollution Map

Berkeley Earth claims that 1.6 million people are dying from air pollution every year in China alone. Berkeley Earth is a non-profit organization who are investigating evidence of climate change. As part of that task they have released a real-time map of air pollution around the world. The Real-time Map of Air Pollution shows real-time information on particulate matter air pollution less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5).

The data for the Berkeley Earth air pollution map comes from thousands of surface monitoring stations across the globe. The map typically shows data from about two hours behind real-time. As you will probably see when looking at the map large areas of China and India typically experience dangerous levels of air pollution. If you hover over an area on the map you can read an assessment of the current air pollution conditions at that location.

Berkeley Earth also maintains a number of databases on historical global temperature records. There are some interesting mapped visualizations of this data. For example Lisa Charlotte Rost has used historical temperature data from Berkeley Earth to visualize how much the average temperature has risen or fallen in every European city since 1960.

The interactive map in Which European cities have gotten warmer? (Spoiler: All of them) uses colored markers to show the average temperature difference in European cities. If you hover over a city's marker you can view the name of the city and the number of degrees centigrade that the average temperature has risen in the city since 1960.

Axios also used Berkeley Earth data to create an animated map of summer temperatures, All the heat records broken this summer on one map. Axios' map uses data compiled by Berkeley Earth from May 1 through July 31 2018. The map animates through this time period plotting all the locations around the world which experienced a daily, monthly or all time temperature record. The overall picture at the end of the animation, showing all the records at once, is a stark illustration of how practically the whole of the northern hemisphere experienced record breaking temperatures last year.

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