As we step into 2019, let us take a look back at the eventful year of 2018. For Planet OS, our Datahub team, and the global climate overall, 2018 was filled with a series of significant events. In the midst of the Winter Olympics, unprecedented natural disasters, and revolutions in renewable energy, Planet OS has continued its mission to deliver high-quality environmental data.
Last year we applied Planet OS data to visualize the snow conditions during Christmas. This year, we decided to take a look a bit sooner to project whether or not we will have a snow-filled holiday season. For this analysis, we used a high-quality snow cover dataset and the Planet OS API.
It’s no secret that present technologies have rapidly evolved as we try to push the limits of computing. While these advancements are often most apparent in the releases of the newest smartphone or self-driving car, our numerical weather prediction models have undergone exciting advancements as well.
Either on TV or in real life, we have all seen a beautiful scene of the ocean where the waves roll smoothly from sea to shore. There are often even surfers trying to catch these large waves to experience the ocean’s power. However, have you ever considered where these waves come from or what distances they travel to reach the shore?
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, Texas, causing many to lose their lives, property and faith in their emergency response services. A little more than a year later, towns across the Southern part of the United States experienced untold devastation; first from Hurricane Florence, then from Hurricane Michael. The frequency and severity of hurricanes and their profound effect on communities cannot not be disentangled from the wider pattern of warming that is changing our planet. The new reality is that extreme weather events will become more common and will require new levels of data-driven preparations. This week, our data integration engineer Eneli Toodu uses the NOAA OISST and the Planet OS Datahub API to derive a comparison between Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence.
This past month, Governor Jerry Brown signed a historic executive order to make California carbon free by 2045. The recently passed bill aims to take dramatic steps towards reducing the negative impacts of climate change, and will require the entirety of California’s electricity come from clean, carbon free sources.
With the ever-increasing sophistication of digital tools, it’s now possible to alter digital photographs or videos with enough sophistication that it’s often extremely difficult to tell if they’ve been tampered with. In 2018, eMarketer estimated that there will be 4.57 billion people with mobile phones, not to mention huge numbers of security cameras, laptops, etc., all with image sensors capable of taking and transmitting digital images to the Internet.
This past summer, weather and climate-caused events have dominated the news and impacted the day to day lives of many. Each year, across the globe, heatwaves are getting hotter, while cold days are fewer. This summer, the United States alone surpassed nine all-time temperature records, with an additional ten records tied so far.
It was only last December when we analyzed the pollution spike from the Thomas Fire, one of the largest wildfires in California’s history. Now, only half a year later, California and other states are combatting large wildfires once again.
During the past few weeks, in conjunction with the AWS Public Dataset Program, we have been working to bring reanalysis data to AWS. Today we are excited to announce that an initial subset of ECMWF ERA5 data is now available in Amazon S3.
As the planet gets warmer and warmer, the frequency of uncontrollable, devastating fires is on the rise. Fueled by weather, wind, and dry underbrush, hundreds of thousands of wildfires burn millions of hectares of land every year.
Over the last few years, the amount of data generated by consumer oriented sensors rose significantly. Everything from smart watches, thermostats, to cars and public transport are producing some form of numerical output.
My first computer background displayed a sand beach tapering off into a clear, blue body of water. While in practice this was a cheesy, often poor reflection of what the ocean actually represents, this image embodied a profound sense of relief and relaxation.
When launched back in 2004, the Climate Forecast System or CFS, drew excitement from the climate science community. Dr. Suranjana Saha, of the Environmental Modeling Center at NOAA writes, “The CFS provides important advances in operational seasonal prediction on a number of fronts. For the first time in the history of U.S. operational seasonal prediction, a dynamical modeling system has demonstrated a level of skill in forecasting U.S. surface temperature and precipitation that is comparable to the skill of the statistical methods used by the NCEP Climate Prediction Center (CPC).” The significance here, she goes on to write, is a “overall improvement in the operation of seasonal forecasts.”
Most would agree that climate change comes with some serious repercussions. The US department of defense, for example, includes it as one the greatest threats to the future of national security.
This week, in response to multiple user requests, we’ve added two new datasets to the Planet OS Datahub. NCEP MMAB Global Visibility and Ice Accretion Guidance addresses sea ice accretion–the formation of ice on or near an object, usually a ship–and its relation to wind speed, freezing point of sea water, air temperature, and sea surface temperature.
Located on the coast of the Baltic Sea in the North Eastern reaches of continental Europe, Estonia has in recent years shown the world it means business. Outputting such disruptors as Skype, TransferWise, GrabCAD, Pipedrive and, you guessed it, Planet OS, Estonia is well positioned to model a smart society, and we’re not just saying that. We mean it, geographically.
If you ever have the opportunity to fly over the large swath land separating Barstow from Las Vegas, I encourage you to look down at the panels winking back up at you. Similarly, if you ever get the chance to drive from California’s Central Valley to San Francisco, I encourage you to look up at the evolved version of Quijote’s fixation scattered across the foothills.
Pyeongchang was a great Winter games host as it possesses ideal conditions for artificial snowmaking. But with global climate getting warmer, people are starting to wonder whether cities looking to make bids will be deterred, if they don’t have the ideal conditions for natural snow and artificial snowmaking.
Our society has become increasingly concerned with its impact on the environment, but how we contend with the effects of a changing climate is a complex and altogether scary question. As we explore and understand this situation, it’s likely that any solution to combat climate change will have a larger effect on us all.
About one month ago, Southern Australia experienced an extreme heat wave that melted pavement, boiled bats, and exacerbated the fire potential of an already dried out landscape. Rather than being an anomaly, this degree of heat wave may be closer to what, in the future, we view as the norm.
In the light of the ongoing heat wave in South Australia, we checked if the past 100 years reveal any significant changes in the local climate. For the analysis we used the Planet OS API and data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The GDPR, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, goes into effect May 25, 2018 and will have a worldwide impact. The GDPR applies to organizations that have personal data relating to citizens of the EU, including many companies in the US.
Hardware-based security is very difficult to break but, once broken, catastrophically difficult to fix. Software-based security is easier to break but also much easier to fix. Now what?
Using data from the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) and ERA5 datasets we investigate historical snow depth and air temperature in South Korea to assess the likelihood of favorable conditions for the Olympic athletes.