On September 9th, 2020, the entire San Francisco Bay Area, we had a crazy combination of wildfire smoke and low clouds that darkened the sky and turned everything orange. At 9am, it looked like it was nighttime and at noon, it was so dark, that it looked like dusk.
Here is a plot of 8+ years of solar panel generation from our panels. If you click on the legend, you can toggle whether that data is shown. Total generation for the day was only 93 watt hours (as opposed to a summer median of 13300 watt hours, 13.3 kWh) and peak power was only 32 watts (vs a median summer peak of 2000 watts (2.0 kW)).
The solar generation was even worse than the next worst day in winter (typically when it rains all day). Clicking on the legend will toggle whether certain seasons are shown and you can view how solar generation varies by season.
Source and Tools:
I wanted to better understand the coronavirus situation in my home region, the Bay Area, and I hadn’t seen any good resources that compared what was happening here to other regions in California. So I decided to make this graph. This page will be updated daily so you can come back regularly to see how the situation is changing (and hopefully improving sometime soon).
The coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March 2020 and things have been opening up in late May, which corresponded to an uptick in coronavirus cases in the Bay Area and throughout California. While the cases in the Bay Area are increasing, it’s clear that there’s a big difference between the Bay Area and much of the rest of California. Los Angeles is currently leading the state with a large increase in the number of new cases in June as the economy tries to reopen restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses.
You can toggle between coronavirus cases and deaths and look at the absolute numbers or on a per capita basis (per one million inhabitants). California has 39.5 million residents, while greater LA has 18.7 million residents and the Bay Area has 7.7 million residents. The daily data is shown as well as a five day moving average so you can get a better sense of the trends.
The San Francisco Bay Area was among the first regions to impose restrictions on gatherings and encourage people to stay home to fight the virus. In late February, the city of San Francisco declared an emergency in preparation for the upcoming pandemic and by early March, things became clear that life would not continue on as before.
The Bay Area is defined as the nine-county region consisting of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties.
Greater Los Angeles is defined as the 5 county region consisting of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Data and Tools:
Electric vehicles are any vehicle that can be plugged in to recharge a battery that provides power to move the vehicle. Two broad classes are battery electric vehicles (BEVs) which only have batteries as their power source and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which have an alternative or parallel power source, typically a gasoline engine. PHEVs are built so that when the battery is depleted, the car can still run on gasoline and operate like a hybrid vehicle similar to a regular Toyota Prius (which is not plugged in at all).
Electric vehicles (EVs) have been sold in the US since 2011 (a few commercial models were sold previous to that but not in any significant numbers) and some conversions were also available. Since then, the number of EVs sold has increased pretty significantly. I wanted to look at the distribution of where those vehicles were located. What is interesting is that California accounts for around 50% of the electric vehicles sold in the United States. Other states have lower rates of EV adoption (in some cases much, much lower). There are many reasons for this, including beneficial policies, public awareness, a large number of potential early adopters and a mild climate. Even so, the EV heatmap of California done early shows that sales are mostly limited to the Bay Area, and LA areas.
The map shows data for total electric vehicle sales by state for years 2016, 2017 or 2018 and also the number of EV sales per 1000 licensed drivers (this is all people in the state with a drivers license, not drivers of EVs). If you hover over a state, you can see both data points for that state.
It will be interesting to see how the next generation of electric vehicles continues to improve, lower in price and become more popular with drivers outside of early adopters.
Data and Tools:
California is one of the world’s largest economies (as measured by gross domestic product), currently ranking 5th in the world (if it were judged as it’s own country). This map divides the rest of the US economy into 6 more or less equal parts (each the size of California’s) and they are all within about 10% of each other.
You can hover over a state with your cursor to get more information about the GDP of that state and the group of states that equal California’s economy.
Gross domestic product is a measurement of the size of a region’s economy. It is the sum of gross value added from all entities in the region or state. It measures the monetary value of the goods produced and services provided in a year.
The main sectors of the California economy are agriculture, technology, tourism, media (movies and TV) and trade. Some of the world’s largest and most famous companies contribute to the California economy, like Apple, Google, Facebook, Disney, and Chevron.
Data and Tools:
It’s the winter rainy season in California again, so time to check on the status of the water in the California reservoirs. I previously made a “bar graph” showing the overall level of water in the major California reservoirs. This dashboard provides a bit more detail on the state of each of the reservoirs while also showing an aggregate total. It updates hourly using data from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) website, giving an up-to-date picture of California reservoir levels.
This is a marimekko (or mekko) graph which may take some time to understand if you aren’t used to seeing them. Each “row” represents one reservoir, with bars showing how much of the reservoir is filled (blue) and unfilled (brown). The height of the “row” indicates how much water the reservoir could hold. Shasta is the reservoir with the largest capacity and so it is the tallest row. The proportion of blue to brown will show how full it is, while the red line shows the historical level that reservoir is typically at for this date of the water year. There are many very small reservoirs (relative to Shasta) so the bars will be very thin to the point where they are barely a sliver or may not even show up.
If you are on a computer, you can hover your cursor over a reservoir and the dashboard at the top will provide information about that individual reservoir. If you are on a mobile device you can tap the reservoir to get that same info. It’s not possible to see or really interact with the tiniest slivers. The main goal of this visualization is to provide a quick overview of the status of the main reservoirs in the state and how they compare to historical levels.
You can sort the mekko graph by size – largest at the top to smallest at the bottom – or by reservoir location, from north to south.
Units are in kaf, thousands of acre feet. 1 kaf is the amount of water that would cover 1 acre in one thousand feet of water (or 1000 acres in water in 1 foot of water). It is also the amount of water in a cube that is 352 feet per side (about the length of a football field). Shasta is very large and could hold about 3.5 cubic kilometers of water at full (but not flood) capacity.
Data and Tools
Fires are once again raging in California and air quality in one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the country (the San Francisco Bay Area) is quite poor. This map show current air quality in the Bay Area. For more information see the EPA’s Air Quality website.
EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category to make it easier for people to understand quickly whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities. For example, the color orange means that conditions are "unhealthy for sensitive groups," while red means that conditions may be "unhealthy for everyone," and so on.
|Air Quality Index
Levels of Health Concern
|Good||0 to 50||Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.|
|Moderate||51 to 100||Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||101 to 150||Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.|
|Unhealthy||151 to 200||Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.|
|Very Unhealthy||201 to 300||Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.|
|Hazardous||301 to 500||Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.|
For more information and additional maps see the EPA’s Air Quality website.