The 2020 European Championship Returns with New Rules
After a year-long delay, the 2020 UEFA European Championship is set to kick off what will be the largest international sports tournament to take place since the pandemic.
While the final stage of the tournament typically takes place in one or two nations, this year’s will be played across 11 different countries.
Running from June 11th to July 11th 2021, the opening game between Italy and Turkey will kick off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, and the final will take place at London’s Wembley Stadium.
COVID-19’s Impact on Teams and Spectators
Aside from the initial year-long delay, COVID-19 has changed how teams and spectators will participate in the tournament.
Squads have been expanded from 23 to 26 players, and coaches will be permitted to call up more players if COVID-19 infections force players into isolation.
For spectators, individual stadiums within host cities have announced varying capacities ranging from 20-100%, with strict stadium entry requirements across the board. Since these capacities are pre-tournament estimates, we’ll have to wait until matchday to see how many ticket-holders are comfortable attending the fixtures in person.
|Host Stadium and City||Spectator Capacity|
|Johann Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam||25-45%|
|Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku||50%|
|Arena Națională, Bucharest||25-45%|
|Puskás Aréna, Budapest||Aiming for 100%|
|Parken Stadium, Copenhagen||25-45%|
|Hampden Park, Glasgow||25-45%|
|Wembley Stadium, London||Minimum of 25%|
|Football Arena Munich (Allianz Arena), Munich||Minimum of 14,500 spectators (~22%)|
|Stadio Olimpico, Rome||25-45%|
|Estadio La Cartuja, Seville||25-45%|
|Krestovsky Stadium (Gazprom Arena), Saint Petersburg||50%|
More Substitutions and the Video Assistant Referee System
This edition of the tournament will also feature two new rule changes to the action on the field.
Coaches will now be able to make up to five substitutions (six if the match goes to extra time), a change first introduced in domestic leagues to allow players more rest as match calendars became congested.
Another key change which was already in play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. This system appoints a match official who reviews the head referee’s decisions with video footage, and allows the head referee to conduct an on-field video review and potentially change decisions.
Strong Competition Among Euro 2020’s Favorites
Despite current world champions France remaining as undeniable favorites, bookies are putting England to win the tournament (despite a fairly young squad) partially due to the home field advantage in the semi-finals and final.
Spain, Germany, and Italy remain formidable competitors, and Belgium’s golden generation will have one final shot at silverware after their third place finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
European champions Portugal are another obvious threat, as Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to become the tournament’s top goalscorer of all time (currently tied with Michel Platini at 9 goals).
While the 2020 edition of UEFA’s European Championship features a variety of on-field and off-the-field changes, the trophy truly feels up for grabs and is a welcome return to international football for fans around the world.
»Like this? Then you might enjoy this article, The Top 10 Football Clubs by Market Value
Chart: 30 Years of Wildfires in America
Here’s a look at the number of wildfires in America that have occurred each year since 1990, and the acres of forest land scorched during that period.
30 Years of Wildfires in America
This summer, record-breaking droughts and relentless heat waves have fueled disastrous wildfires across the United States. It’s gotten so bad, the state of California has decided to shut down all national forests for two weeks to stop the spread.
But how disastrous has this year been compared to previous years? This graphic gives a historical look at the number of wildfires in America that have occurred each year since 1990, and the acres of forest land scorched during that period.
Total Wildland Fires and Acres from 1990 to 2020
In the U.S., an average of 70,000 wildfires burn through 5.8 million acres of land each year. But some years have been worse than others.
|Year||# of Fires||# of Acres Burned|
*note: 2021 figures as of September 3, 2021
One particularly bad year was 2006, which had over 96,000 fires and destroyed 9.9 million acres of land across the country. It was the year of the Esperanza Fire in California, which burned 40,000 acres and cost $9 million in damages.
2015 was also a devastating year, with over 10.1 million acres destroyed across the country–the worst year on record, in terms of acres burned.
Climate Change’s Role in Wildfires
Wildfires are only expected to worsen in the near future since warmer temperatures and drier climates allow the fires to grow quickly and intensely.
We’re already starting to see climate change impact the wildfire season. For instance, autumn is usually peak wildfire season for California, but this year, one of the largest fires on record started in mid-July, and is still burning as of the date of publication.
Editor’s note, September 20, 2021: In the post above, we said that California closed downed down all national parks for two weeks, starting August 31st. In fact, they closed down all national forests.
Visualizing the Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season
While the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to late November, about 85% of activity happens between August, September, and October.
Explained: The Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season
On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida hurled into the state of Louisiana at rapid speed. With winds of 150 mph, preliminary reports believe it’s the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mainland.
As research shows, Hurricane Ida’s impact hit right at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. Here’s a brief explainer on the basics of hurricanes, how storms are classified, and what a typical storm season looks like in the Atlantic Basin.
Let’s dive in.
Classifying a Storm
Hurricanes are intense tropical storms that are classified by their wind speed. What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone? They’re essentially the same thing, but are named differently based on their location:
- Hurricane is used for storms that formed in the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific (impacting countries like the U.S.)
- Typhoon is used for storms in the Northwest Pacific (impacting countries like Japan)
- Tropical Cyclone is used for storms in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean (impacting countries like Fiji and India)
Since we’re focusing on the Atlantic, we’ll be using the term hurricane and/or storm throughout the rest of this article.
A storm needs to reach a certain wind speed before it gets classified as a hurricane. Storms with wind speeds of:
- <73 mph are considered Tropical Storms
- 74-110 mph winds are considered Hurricanes
- 111 mph+ winds are considered Major Hurricanes
Breaking Down the Atlantic Hurricane Season
Generally, Hurricanes form in the warm ocean waters in the central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, following westward trade winds and curving up towards the North American mainland. Hurricanes are formed when these specific elements come into play:
- A pre-existing weather disturbance such as a tropical wave
- Water at least 80ºF (27ºC) with a depth of at least 50 meters
- Thunderstorm activity
- Low wind shear (too much wind can remove the heat and moisture hurricanes use for fuel)
The Atlantic hurricane season technically lasts six months, beginning on June 1st and ending in late November. However, 85% of activity happens between August, September, and October.
Each subregion in the Atlantic has its own unique climatology, which means peak seasons can vary from place to place—for example, south Florida sees the most hurricanes in October, while the entire Atlantic Basin’s peak season is early-to-mid September.
Climate Change and Hurricanes
According to the Center of Climate Change and Energy Solutions, it’s unclear whether climate change will increase the number of hurricanes per year.
However, research indicates that warmer weather and high ocean temperatures will most likely lead to more intense storms, ultimately causing more damage and devastation.
» Want to learn more about climate change? Here’s an article on The Paris Agreement: Is The World’s Climate Action Plan on Track?
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