Data Viz

Visualizing Climate Change

Using 3D-modeling and animation, I create unique ways to visualize data. For example, to explore the relatively large emissions of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico, I calculated the average per-day emissions of the average vehicle in New Mexico compared to the average per-day emissions from the oil industry per oil pump in the state.

While oil and gas fugitive emissions don’t only come from the pumpjacks, averaging by pump allows viewers to realize that even if every person in New Mexico stopped driving their car, statewide carbon emissions would decrease by only 14%. If every oil and gas operation shut down, on the other hand, statewide emissions would decrease by 53%, according to estimates from a 2020 report by Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. done for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

This visualization aims to show the relative “fugitive emissions” created by the New Mexico oil and gas industry compared to the emissions from all vehicles in New Mexico per day. Each balloon represents one cubic foot worth of carbon dioxide. The balloons show average emissions per oil operation compared to the average emissions per vehicle.

Emissions from the oil and gas industry (pink balloons) are shown as the total statewide per-day fugitive emissions (2018) divided by the number of oil wells in the state. Emissions from vehicles (blue balloons) are shown as the total per-day transportation emissions (2018) divided by the number of registered vehicles in the state (2017).

Classic Muscle car model by Lexyc16 is licensed under Creative Commons AttributionOil Pump Jack model by Machine Meza is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution. Visualization by CKSegarra.

To create visualizations and animations, I combine data with models made in Blender, an open-source program for CGI. I also use industry-standard tools such as Adobe After Effects.

The timeline for creating a visualization depends on the complexity. Modeling this one didn’t take long, but rendering all the animated frames took roughly a day.