Map Monday: taking a look at geological and weather events around the world

This Map Monday presents an overview of what kind of geological and weather events one may encounter across the globe. Some of these maps are a few years old, although within a decade. One thing to keep in mind is that most of the weather shown is becoming more and more extreme because of climate change. A few of these maps will speak to those changes. As usual, click on any map to examine details more closely.

Earthquakes and volcanoes.

Earthquakes. This world map has a somewhat different orientation (centered around the Pacific) to more effectively show earthquake areas of concentration.

Volcanoes. Not surprisingly, there’s a relationship between many locations of volcanoes and earthquakes.

The following map is in the form of a cartogram. It shows how human settlement patterns and the global distribution of volcanoes correlate by drawing a 100km radius around each of the world’s volcanoes and then projecting this data onto a gridded population cartogram. The red areas show large population areas near a active volcano, highlighting the risk to humans for a natural disaster.

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons.

It’s hurricane season in our neck of the woods. We’re also hearing on the news about dangerous cyclones and typhoons.  What’s the difference? Well, they’re all tropical storms, and the only difference is their location.  Hurricanes are found over the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific; cyclones are found over the South Pacific and Indian Ocean; and, typhoons, such as the one being expected in Japan this week, are found in the northwest Pacific. Anyone who has experienced even one of these storms at the lowest intensity knows that they are something to be feared. And with the warming of the oceans due to man-made climate change, they are coming earlier, more frequently, and with greater intensity. Not good news.

Historical hurricane tracks

Tracks of all tropical storms, 2017. NASA Earth Observatory.


This map of precipitation includes snowfall as well as rain. Notice how large parts of the Arctic landmass are nearly desert, just very cold desert which until recently was frozen and covered with snow most of the year.



Where tornadoes occur


This is an interesting map of temperature range throughout North America in 2018. Some of it’s pretty impressive. If you live in places that are in the red or brown, you experience a HUGE range of temps, from VERY COLD to VERY HOT! We can all expect more extremes like this, for better or worse.

This map from NASA is also interesting, in a sobering way. It shows the difference in annual temperatures in 2019 from the 1951-1980 average. The warming of the Arctic – the canary in our coalmine called earth – ahead of everywhere else is bad news for all of us.

So, based on all of this map data, is there a perfect weather place in which you’d like to live?!

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16 Responses to Map Monday: taking a look at geological and weather events around the world

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Not sure I’d like to live in LA or Tokyo with the probability of a major ‘quake increasing 😦 Take away our winter winds and I’d say the Channel Islands have the perfect climate. Even our Storm of ’87, remembered with awe, caused exactly zero deaths.

  2. iidorun says:

    The global warming map is pretty scary! But how interesting is the correlation of the map of volcanoes and the map of where people migrated/settled. Makes you wonder why humans chose to live so close to volcanoes…🤔

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Interesting. You’re the only one who made that observation. Great question. I know people have settled around water for millennia because it was so important for transportation (although as the oceans rise, this millennia-long settlement strategy is under threat). Not so sure what the motivation would have been for volcanoes unless the early people settled there because of the fertile land and mountain protection the environment offered before they realized the down side! Most human settlements are remarkably ancient. It is really just in the “new world” that human habitation is newer.

      • iidorun says:

        It does feel like human habitation in North America is newer, but I wonder if that’s just because the colonizers were better at getting rid of the evidence of human habitation before they came along? Anytime I have visited Europe, I am so awed by how much “old stuff” they have kept! Earth has so many mysteries! I love how your map posts provide so many interesting and unique perspectives. It’s truly a gift you’re giving us!

  3. A perfectly timed Monday Map post, given that western states in the U.S. today will again be under 110+ degree temps, while the rocky states will have snow and 30 degree temps. Strange times. – Marty

  4. You know, in the scheme of things, Maine is not too bad. We get enough rain for all things green and growing. Mostly, hurricanes don’t come our way. Usually, earthquakes aren’t a problem, and make that nil for volcanoes. Winters tend to be long, and of late we have more icy weather, but even that is more or manageable. But all this, of course, might change as the climate crisis gets worse.

  5. Incredible information gathering, as always.

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