March 07, 2003

Where All of Us Live

Lance Knobel posts a very nice map of where people live:

Global population distribution: Based on population estimates from 1994, when global population was 5.5 billion. It is estimated to be 6.3 billion today


Update: Excellent! Thanks! Eric Eisenhart says:

A higher resolution version with an explanation and credit is available at http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap030305.html

Posted by Eric Eisenhart at March 6, 2003 04:06 PM


Update: And there is the still bigger version at http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0303/peopleearth94_usda_big.gif. Posted by DeLong at March 7, 2003 04:02 PM | TrackBack

Comments

A higher resolution version with an explanation and credit is available at http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap030305.html

Posted by: Eric Eisenhart on March 6, 2003 03:06 PM

Some random thoughts:

I had no idea that large swaths of China and India were as densely populated as the LA region.

Good stargazing is to be found in the Rockies but virtually nowhere in Europe, even the Alps.

Russia utterly failed in its attempt to colonize Siberia.

Canada didn't give up much when it seceded control over much of its center to local tribes.

there is plenty of room for a larger population. but all the newcomers will want to live in the usual places and not in the Sahara desert.

the Great Plains states should have stayed territories.

development closely tracks major river systems.

Posted by: FDL on March 6, 2003 04:00 PM

The map should have been an equal-area map for best results. (1 pixel on map corresponds to the same area on earth's surface, independant of latitude.)
rbb

Posted by: Mobius Klein on March 6, 2003 04:32 PM

Thanks, Brad. Great map!

A little known factoid is that Duck, NC, where I live, is on the same parallel as the Strait of Gibraltar, far south of all of Western Europe. While an interesting place to live with a decent climate, Duck is neither Provence nor Tuscany in climatic ambience, although both are far to our North.

The curious climatic anomolies that have made Western Europe into a lush territory are in large measure responsible for its population densities. These include temperatures that are 16 degrees F. above the "normal" for its latitude coupled with moisture more in accord with its latitude. (I suggest you compare the climate of Prague with Winnipeg if you have doubts or examine the average monthly temperatures of Edinburgh, which is far North of both.)

Is it any wonder that Western Europe has a different appreciation for the potential for global climate change than the U.S., which is stuck with a climate that mostly represents the angle of the rays of the sun?

I was sorry that Jared Diamond missed this phenemon in his otherwise sage analysis of history.

Posted by: Sam on March 6, 2003 07:27 PM

Yemen! Who knew?

Posted by: Ben Hyde on March 6, 2003 07:28 PM

>>Yemen! Who knew?<<

The Yemenis, presumably...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 6, 2003 08:40 PM

I had no Idea such large swaths of the planet were so uninhabited. I had always thought people had more or less spread compeletely out.

Posted by: Dennis O'Dea on March 6, 2003 09:19 PM

Australia seems pretty empty and I've heard it's nice. I think we should colonize it.

Posted by: Dan on March 6, 2003 09:35 PM

An Australian of my acquaintance argued that Australia was actually vastly OVER-populated; that the interior simply would never be farmable, and resources were unsustainable.

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on March 6, 2003 10:33 PM

Anyone know what the purple blob is in what I'm guessing is western China? I thought the mass of Chinese population was in the east. Also am surprised to see southeastern China less dense than northeastern; I would have assumed the reverse.

Posted by: Jeremy Osner on March 7, 2003 06:19 AM

Blob in western China is probably Sichuan province, whose capital is Chungdu. Huge city, in the midst of a densely populated agricultural area.

JC

Posted by: John Casey on March 7, 2003 06:56 AM

>>Australia seems pretty empty and I've heard it's nice. I think we should colonize it<<

There are very good reasons why the waterless Australian deserts are sparsely inhabited, and why all the people are on the Boomerang Coast...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 7, 2003 07:26 AM

"There are very good reasons why the waterless Australian deserts are sparsely inhabited"

I grew up in the Southern California desert. We just got our water from Northern California. Isn't there some kind of Northern Australia where we could get our water?

Besides, it was just a little joke.

Posted by: Dan on March 7, 2003 08:47 AM

"Russia utterly failed in its attempt to colonize Siberia"

Right, but so did Canada with its north (about the same latitude), or US in Alaska. So failure might have less to do with Russia than with the difficulties of living in such cold climate.

Posted by: Andres Salama on March 7, 2003 11:30 AM

Responding to Sam:

Here is L.A. we're at about the same latitude as you, and our weather is much closer to those areas. In fact, our climate is classified as "Mediterranean."
It relates to how the prevailing winds blow. The east coasts of continents (west in the southern hemisphere) tend to be more humid than the west coasts. Compare any point on the China coast to Gibralter and you'll see what I mean.
Interesting phenomena, I wish I could remember exactly why it happens.... :)

Also, it doesn't hurt Europe to have the Gulf Stream. Which brings up another fear for Europeans, that Global Warming could disrupt the Gulf Stream (see link


Posted by: section321 on March 7, 2003 05:15 PM

oops.... forgot the link...


http://millennium-debate.org/indsun8oct.htm

Posted by: section321 on March 7, 2003 05:20 PM

This map is also pretty cool. It is a composite of satellite images reflecting Earth at night:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights_dmsp_big.jpg

Posted by: ben on March 7, 2003 08:40 PM

Personally, I never knew about the concentration in the north of India - somehow, I always pictured the south as being more crowded...

Posted by: jimbo on March 8, 2003 07:05 AM

>>Personally, I never knew about the concentration in the north of India - somehow, I always pictured the south as being more crowded...<<

A reliable water supply is very important. The north of India has the Ganges draining off the Himalayas and the Jamuna...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 8, 2003 10:38 AM

This map doesn't seem right. The EU looks as if it has twice the US population. Canada looks like most of its population is off in Alberta somewhere.

The photograph of Earth at night seems to be more correct in comparing the relative population sizes of the US and Western Europe.

But maybe I'm wrong.

Posted by: Mitch on March 10, 2003 11:36 AM

This map doesn't seem right. The EU looks as if it has twice the US population.

That's probably because the map is a Mercator projection (which "blows up" areas farther north...see Greenland, which isn't nearly as large as it appears on that map).

If the map was a Peters' projection--which gets all areas correct, but distorts the #@$% out of shapes--you'd see that Europe is not as large as the continental U.S.:

http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/mapproj/gif/peters.gif

Note: If one includes *all* European countries, I think that Europe does have at least 30 percent more people than the U.S. (Can't find the actually value for Europe...I know the U.S. is about 280 million.)

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 17, 2003 03:33 PM
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