Thursday, November 10, 2022

Bloomberg visualizes the shrinking Mississippi river

Chloe Whiteaker
shares the latest project by Bloomberg Visual Data, which explains what's happening to the Mississippi river:

“The Mississippi River — the immense, quiet highway that courses down the middle of America, moving critical food, wood, coal and steel supplies to global markets — is shrinking from drought, forcing traffic to a crawl at the worst possible time.”

The story contains several intricate visualizations, such as this “arterial sankey” —that's the term Chloe used— diagram. Three of these visualizations resemble rivers, which I guess is appropriate for the theme.

The most striking graphics in the story to me are also the simplest and most straightforward: a line graph of the increasing cost of shipping grain down the river, and a map of drought in the United States that also locates the Mississippi basin. Take a look at them.

UPDATE: Justin McCarty says that the main graphic in the story reminds him of an amazing 1960 visualization.

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