Analyzing The Amazon Rainforest Wildfires With Data Visualizations
A few days ago, I was showing a friend how to create some basic but powerful visualizations using Python and its packages. Meanwhile, I realized that one of the most exciting parts of becoming a Data Scientist is gaining the ability to play with data sets. You are creating what metrics you want to use, and you can visualize the data in whatever way you like. Even the most straightforward data visualizations have the power to make significant impacts.
Creating data visualizations became my new hobby. I like to use data sets that are meaningful to me. Today, let’s get our hands dirty with a data set about wildfires in the Brazilian portion of the Amazon rainforest and create some basic but cool data visualizations. You can choose any data set you would like and adapt it on your own.
But first, why did I choose this data set? Here are a few numbers to explain why:
- The Amazon rainforest represents 67% of all the rainforests in the World.
- 20% of all the drinkable water
- A third of all the trees on the planet are found in the Amazon rainforest.
- The Amazon rainforest absorbs more than 20% of the earth’s carbon dioxide. When trees die, they release CO2 back to the atmosphere.
- About 0.2% of the Amazon rainforest is lost every year. However, if it loses more than 20% of its size, an irreversible desertification process will start. 17% has already been lost.
Well, now that I’ve thrown a lot of data to you, let’s start playing around and see what is going on in Brazil. Again, the theory will work for every data set and you will need to adapt it to your own. Hashtags represent comments about the code.
It was easy so far, right? Now let’s start with some visualizations. Let’s find out if the number of wildfires in Brazil has increased or not between 1998 and 2017. Unfortunately, the Brazilian government hasn’t released data since 2017. Let’s plot the data and create a regression line.
Ok, the graphic with a regression line is done. We can clearly see that number of wildfires has been increasing since 1998 with some ups and downs. Now I want to find out which Brazilian states have the highest number of wildfires.
It seems that the Mato Grosso state is the winner (maybe loser?) of this sad position in the past 20 years. Now, let’s check if these states have been fighting effectively against deforestation in Brazil
Well, it looks like the Mato Grosso state is the big villain here. We can see that while some states have reduced the number of wildfires, Mato Grosso has dramatically increased. With a quick search on Google, I was able to find out that Mato Grosso is Brazil’s largest producer of beef. They set fire to the forest to have more space for cattle.
These three graphics showed us some crucial information about a problem that affects the whole world. It proves the power that some simple data visualization has in showing us essential information. If and when the Brazilian government releases data from 2018 to 2020, these graphics will be updated.