Flood vs Drought

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Flood vs Drought, realized by designer David Bihanic in collaboration with the Trafik agency, is one of the projects featured in the French section of the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature. Responding to the theme of the main exhibition, Bihanic’s work draws on different paradigms of visualization and manipulation of large and complex datasets to shed light on the extreme climate variations that the United States have experienced in recent years. The French pavilion, entitled From Thought to Visible. Design as a Large Ring, was commissioned by the Institut français with the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, and curated by Catherine Geel.

In 2015, an extreme climate variation in the United States was highlighted and analyzed by NASA-GPM (National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission) in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Indeed, many states throughout the East Coast (the states of Kentucky, Illinois, Idaho, Louisiana, and Texas) received immense amounts of rainfall over the first seven months of the year (2015), whilst other states along the West Coast, like the state of California, underwent one of the worst droughts on record.

This phenomenon proves once again the seriousness of the threat of global warming to our planet. Scientist have concluded––and constantly remind us––that there really is cause for concern. In order to grasp this phenomenon visually, David Bihanic has drafted a graphical reinterpretation using D3.js, based on a GPM-IMERG (a data processing method known as Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals) satellite-based precipitation dataset produced by the NASA-GPM. The vector field, which depicts the rains, is a dynamic conversion of the accumulated rainfall (from 0 to 5000 mm) for the first seven months of the year 2015. The amount of rain is here proportional to the density of the vector field.

Flooding in the state of Illinois in 2015. Photo courtesy NHPR.

To read more about Flood vs Drought, please visit www.triennalefrenchsection.fr.

David Bihanic
David Bihanic is a designer and researcher. He is the founder of the fxdesignstudio (fxds) digital design agency, as well as Associate Professor at the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne, Permanent Researcher at the ACTE Research Institute, Associated Researcher (honorary member) responsible for Digital Affairs at the CALHISTE Laboratory, and Senior Research Fellow at EnsADLab.

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