A New NASA Map Shows Spring Is Coming Earlier Each Year

iStock
iStock

Climate change is shifting Earth’s seasons. Winters are getting shorter, and the warmth of spring has started to arrive earlier and earlier, messing with the timing of processes like animal migrations and the budding of new plant growth. In a series of graphics spotted by Flowing Data, the NASA Earth Observatory shows how much earlier new leaves are arriving in some parts of the U.S., and how much earlier they reach full bloom.

The data comes from a 2016 study of U.S. national parks, so the maps only cover seasonal changes within the park system. But since there are so many parks spread across the U.S., it’s a pretty good snapshot of how climate change is affecting the timing of spring across the country. The map in green shows the difference in “first leaf” arrival, or when the first leaves emerge from tree buds, and the map in purple shows the arrival of the first blooms.

A map of the U.S. with a colored grid showing where leaves are coming earlier
Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

Around 75 percent of the 276 parks analyzed in the study have been experiencing earlier springs, and half had recently seen the earliest springs recorded in 112 years. In Olympic National Park in Washington, the first leaves are now appearing 23 days earlier than they did a century ago, while the Grand Canyon is seeing leaves appear about 11 days earlier. National parks in the Sierras and in Utah are seeing leaves appear five to 10 days earlier, as are areas along the Appalachian Trail. Some parks, however, particularly in the South, are actually seeing a later arrival of spring leaves, shown in dark gray in the graphic.

A map of the U.S. with a colored grid showing where blooms are coming earlier
Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

The places that are witnessing earlier first blooms aren't always the ones with extra-early first leaves. The Appalachian Trail is blooming earlier, even though the first leaves aren't arriving any earlier. But in other places, like Olympic National Park, both the first leaves and the first blooms are arriving far earlier than they used to.

“Changes in leaf and flowering dates have broad ramifications for nature,” National Park Service ecologist John Gross explained in the Earth Observatory’s blog. “Pollinators, migratory birds, hibernating species, elk, and caribou all rely on food sources that need to be available at the right time.” When temperatures get out of sync with usual seasonal changes, those species suffer.

[h/t Flowing Data]

Each State’s Favorite 1990s Sitcom, Mapped

James Avery, Will Smith, and Janet Hubert in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
James Avery, Will Smith, and Janet Hubert in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
NBC Universal, Inc.

Between all the TV reboots currently happening and the nostalgia being drummed up by the anniversaries of hit shows like Seinfeld and Friends, the television experts at USDish, an authorized DISH Network retailer, had a simple question: Which 1990s sitcoms does each state love the most? For example: Does Oklahoma prefer Friends over Full House? (Nope, they like Frasier.)

To compile their data, the site used Ranker's top 15 shows and analyzed Google search traffic from 2004 to the present to see which TV shows each state has been searching for the most. Which means that, from the outset, the data was slightly skewed because it only looked at the shows that made the top of Ranker's list, which changes periodically—and, amazingly, doesn't include Seinfeld. Still, even when limited to just the 15 shows on Ranker's list, it's a fun exercise in nostalgia.

It’s no surprise that Friends ranks as the favorite sitcom in 12 states—the most states on the survey—but not New York state; they picked King of Queens. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Saved by the Bell each have six states, the second biggest majority. Some of the states’ preferences are scattered and aren’t concentrated in one region. For instance, California, Virginia, and Oregon went with The Simpsons, which is the only ‘90s sitcom on the survey that’s still producing episodes from its original run. (In 2018, it became the longest-running primetime scripted show ever.)

East Coast states New Hampshire and Connecticut love Everybody Loves Raymond, and Florida and Alabama adore The Nanny. Roseanne, Full House, and Boy Meets World are the only shows that appear in just one state: West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, respectively. Four of the 15 sitcoms have been rebooted: Roseanne, Sabrina, Boy Meets World, and Full House.

Of all the sitcoms on the list, though, Friends has proven to be the most unstoppable. On September 22, it turns 25 years old and will be the subject of all sorts of fun celebrations. In September and October, more than 1000 theaters will screen episodes of Friends over three different nights. If you want Friends memorabilia, consider the LEGO Central Perk studio set (out September 1), ordering Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Central Perk Coffee, or buying some of Pottery Barn’s Friends-inspired furniture (Rachel's apothecary table included).

You might be over Friends after the fall, but remember that Friends will leave Netflix for WarnerMedia-owned streaming service HBO Max in early 2020. Even still, Friends will be there for you.

Wednesday Was the Busiest Air Travel Day Ever Tracked

Flightradar24
Flightradar24

Because the skies are so expansive and airplanes fly at such high altitudes, you probably don’t spot more than a few flying machines on any given day (unless you live near an airport). So how many are actually in the sky ? On Wednesday, there were more than 225,000.

Flightradar24, a Swedish online service that monitors air traffic, tweeted that it registered more than 225,000 flights on Wednesday, July 24, between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. It’s the highest number tracked in one day since the company’s inception in 2006, Business Insider reports.

The figure comprises most aircraft, including regular commercial passenger flights as well as cargo planes, helicopters, private jets, gliders, sightseeing flights, and personal aircraft. It omits most military flights, however, which metaphorically fly under the radar.

Flightradar24 compiles data from publicly available sources that aircraft use to report position and speed. One of those sources is a traditional radar system, and the other two are newer tracking technologies called Multilateration (MLAT) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), where the in-flight transponder picks up the aircraft’s location from a GPS satellite and then transmits that information to Flightradar24’s receivers. MLAT requires four or more receivers and only works above about 3,000 to 10,000 feet, so ADS-B is the current best way to track location. It’s also the newest way, which means that not all aircraft are built with the transponder required to use it. That number is growing, though, which may be one of the reasons Flightradar24 was able to register so many flights on Wednesday.

Flightradar24 representative Ian Petchenik told Business Insider that another reason for Wednesday’s crowded skies is simply that there has been a steady rise in aircraft traffic over the years. Because of this increase, and because July and August are busy air traffic months in general, he predicted that the record could be broken again this week.

If the prospect of flying in heavy traffic makes you anxious, don’t worry: Airplanes are still the safest way to travel, and you can choose the safest seat to ease your nerves.

[h/t Business Insider]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER