Glacial Ice versus U.S. Freshwater Usage, 1985-2000

It's hard to determine any correlation between U.S. fresh water usage and Arctic sea ice extent given the data, but there does appear to be an overall slight increase in fresh water usage over the years. The year 2000 data, the most recent available, showed a decrease, but the other 3 years compared showed an increase (from 1985 to 1995). Also, the data clearly shows a trend with decreasing sea ice extent in the northern hemisphere. However, the causation is not direct. Human activity may be causing decreasing sea ice extent, while at the same time, increasing population requires more freshwater usage.



Global warming is a widely discussed issue in the past few years, so I thought I'd do a comparison to see how the glacial ice is faring with available data. In the media, the Western world is widely cited as using more resources proportional to its population than the rest of the world, so I decided to do a study using water usage. For the sake of simplicity and consistency, I focused on United States data.

Freshwater usage per state was broken up into 5 classes using natural breaks. Lighter symbols mean less freshwater was used in the classification scheme, while darker symbols mean more freshwater was used.

The data layers for this map can be turned on or off by checking or unchecking the boxes below. The ice extent layers can be turned on or off at any time, so that you may compare them more easily.

Ice extent 2000
Ice extent 1995
Ice extent 1990
Ice extent 1985
Freshwater usage