Some Graphs to Start the Year

Not wanting to start your year with doom, I waited a day.

I didn’t post much satellite global temperature data last year because I was busy. Here’s how things look up to November 2021.

The usual caveats apply here: not the best temperature record but the one that side-steps some time-wasting arguments. If you focus just on a very short time period, it looks like a stable wobble around a mean but over long time periods, the move upwards continues as expected.

La Niña conditions have kept things relatively cool & wet in Australia but the impacts on North America are less benign. When things shift away from those conditions it’s likely to be a bad fire season again here at some point.

While the 2019/2020 fire season was notoriously bad, the timing could have been worse. Australia missed having catastrophic fires and a pandemic at the same time. How is Covid going here? Well, the virus is having a great time. New South Wales dialled back its anti-pandemic measures just in time for the omicron variant. Here’s how the cumulative case numbers per million people are looking, with some other industrialised nations which have had relatively low numbers put in for comparison.

Vaccines have made a difference to the deadliness of the virus but exponential growth will still lead to lots of people with major health impacts (including death). The impact on hospitals is getting bad here also, which has health impacts on everybody.

Hospitalisation data is more limited worldwide and obviously when comparing countries, there are going to be a lot of other factors involved. Having said that, I thought this graph showing Canada and Australia together (and adjusted for population size) was interesting.

Canada & Australia are both very different countries and very similar countries depending on what aspects you consider. Up to around the fourth quarter of 2021, they also had very different experiences of the pandemic (Canada’s proximity to the US being a major factor). In more recent months those hospitalisation figures have become a lot more similar. No big conclusion there, I just thought the coincidence was interesting.

I don’t know if covid will become seasonal like the flu but currently, it isn’t. Public policy and viral mutation appear to be having a bigger impact than the time of year.


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