Visualized: Measuring the Depth of the Great Lakes
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Visualizing the Depth of the Great Lakes

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Visualized: The Depth of The Great Lakes

Click here to view the interactive version of the visualization on Tableau.

As the seasons change, it’s natural to want to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. The Great Lakes, a distinct geographical region sandwiched between the U.S. and Canada, provides immense opportunity for millions of tourists to do just that every year.

But did you know that altogether the Great Lakes contain 21% of the world’s surface freshwater by volume—or 84% of the surface freshwater in North America?

This bathymetric visualization, created by Alex Varlamov, helps put the sheer size and depth of all five of the Great Lakes into perspective.

What is Bathymetry?

Bathymetry is the study of the underwater depth of ocean or lake floors, a geographical science that falls under the wider umbrella of hydrography.

In essence, it is the underwater equivalent of topography. Contour lines help to represent and study the physical features of bodies of water, from oceans to lakes.

Most bathymetric studies are conducted via sonar systems, transmitting pulses that ‘ping’ off the ocean and lake floor, uncovering what lies below.

The Depth of the Great Lakes, Compared

High on the list of the world’s largest lakes, the five Great Lakes altogether account for over 244,700 km² (94,250 mi²) in total surface area. That’s bigger than the entire United Kingdom.

Lake Superior emerges, well, superior in terms of total surface area, water volume, and both average and maximum depth.

 Surface areaWater volumeAverage depthMaximum depth
Lake Ontario19,000 km²
(7,340 mi²)
1,640 km³
(393 mi³)
86 m
(283 ft)
245 m
(804 ft)
Lake Erie25,700 km²
(9,910 mi²)
480 km³
(116 mi³)
19 m
(62 ft)
64 m
(210 ft)
Lake Michigan58,000 km²
(22,300 mi²)
4,900 km³
(1,180 mi³)
85 m
(279 ft)
282 m
(925 ft)
Lake Huron60,000 km²
(23,000 mi²)
3,500 km³
(850 mi³)
59 m
(195 ft)
228 m
(748 ft)
Lake Superior82,000 km²
(31,700 mi²)
12,000 km³
(2,900 mi³)
147 m
(483 ft)
406 m
(1,333 ft)

Lake Erie is by far the shallowest of the lakes, with an average depth of just 19 meters (62 ft). That means on average, Lake Superior is about eight times deeper.

With that in mind, one drawback of the visualization is that it doesn’t provide an accurate view of how deep these lakes are in relation to one another.

For that, check out this additional visualization also created by Alex Varlamov, which is scaled to the same 20 meter step—in this view, Lake Erie practically disappears.

More than Meets the Eye

The Great Lakes are not only notable for their form, but also their function—they’re a crucial waterway contributing to the economy of the area, supporting over 50 million jobs and contributing $6 trillion to gross domestic product (GDP).

Together, the five Great Lakes feed into the Atlantic Ocean—and when we expand the scope to compare these lakes to vast oceans, trenches, and drill holes, the depth of the Great Lakes barely scratches the surface.

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Misc

10 Ways You Can Build Leadership Communities in a Hybrid World of Work

Feeling disconnected? This infographic teaches you how to build strong leadership communities in your organization in a hybrid working world.

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The world has never been more connected. Yet many of us feel more disconnected than ever before.

In particular, CEOs and managers can often feel isolated from their peers, and therefore crave a greater sense of community and belonging. This lack of social connection can have a detrimental impact on both them and their team—putting the future of their company at risk.

Leading in a Hybrid World of Work

This infographic from bestselling author Vince Molinaro dives into the ways you can build a strong community of leaders in your organization, enabling you to more successfully execute on strategy, drive growth, and deliver results.

leadership

>>Download Dr.Vince Molinaro’s Community Builder Ebook Today

The Critical Need for Leadership Communities

In today’s world, many leaders have been conditioned to work and lead in a way that is individualistic and hyper-competitive, which leads to problematic outcomes including:

  • Limiting innovative ideas
  • Causing overwhelm and stress
  • Limiting diversity and a sense of inclusion
  • Promoting a macho culture
  • Creating heroes and zeros in organizations

This outdated model breeds a weak leadership culture. Even though leadership expectations are higher than ever, very few companies boast a strong leadership culture. In fact, just 15% of companies have the culture they need to succeed.

What does a weak leadership look like?

Weak Leadership Cultures

When leaders demonstrate the following behaviors, organizations are at risk of developing a weak leadership culture:

  1. They lack clarity around strategic priorities.
  2. They fail to inspire the people they lead.
  3. They tolerate ineffective and mediocre leadership.
  4. They demonstrate animosity for the success of other leads, teams, and departments.
  5. They work at cross-purposes with each other.
  6. They prop themselves up while downplaying the contribution of others.
  7. They don’t engage stakeholders.
  8. They regularly badmouth others and throw colleagues under the bus.
  9. They withhold information as a way to retain power over their peers.
  10. They act as bystanders when colleagues need help.

When these negative dynamics become apparent, organizations pay a significant price. According to a report from Qualtrics, 40% of managers see a decline in their mental health, while another study shows that 66% of leaders have checked out entirely.

It is clear that building a strong community of leaders has become critical as the world continues to become even more complex and uncertain. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can build a greater sense of belonging in your organization today.

The Characteristics of Leadership Communities

Here are the 10 characteristics and behaviors that promote a strong community of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leadership culture?

CharacteristicAligned Behavior
1. Have clarity on the strategic direction of the organizationBe determined to deliver on the most important strategic outcomes for the company
2. Create excitement about the futureSpread optimism about the company, even through adversity
3. Share a common aspiration to be great as leadersCommit to their roles as leaders and help other leaders thrive
4. Lead with a united front and a one-company mindsetLead in the best interest of the whole organization
5. Hold each other accountable by calling out unproductive leadership behaviorDemonstrate the courage to call out misaligned and unacceptable behaviors
6. Celebrate success and key milestonesIgnite passion by recognizing others and showing progress towards goals
7. Break down silos and collaborate effectivelyIdentify accountability gaps that weaken the leadership culture
8. Keep internal politics and personal agendas to a minimumBehave in a direct and transparent manner with peers
9. Demonstrate resilience and resolve in the face of adversityTurn to each other while navigating tough challenges
10. Support one another and have each other’s backsBuild high-trust relationships with one another

Most leaders want to be in an environment where there is real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support—it just takes one accountable leader to make it happen.

The Benefits to Creating a Strong Community of Leaders

If done right, the effects of building a strong community of leaders can be extraordinary:

  • Promotes a stronger sense of belonging.
  • Allows for greater knowledge sharing.
  • Encourages higher levels of performance.
  • Creates a culture of accountability.
  • Improves employee engagement.

Moreover, research shows that employee engagement is directly linked to a company’s culture and value system. In fact, employee engagement levels can reach up to 72% when managers work well with each other.

With the working world transforming before our very eyes, it’s time to establish a new leadership contract so that CEOs and managers can lead their organizations successfully into the future.

Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? Download your Ebook to discover practical strategies you can apply today.

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Misc

Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons

This map visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how our planet’s Arctic sea ice and vegetation changes throughout the year.

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Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons

Why does Earth have seasons?

Many people think the seasons are dictated by Earth’s proximity to the Sun, but this isn’t the case. It’s the Earth’s tilt, not its closeness to the Sun, that influences our seasons.

This animated map by Eleanor Lutz visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how the temperature changes impact ice levels in the Arctic as well as vegetation more broadly. It also highlights the cloud cover and sunlight each hemisphere receives throughout the year, with each frame in the animation representing a month of time.

Why is Earth Tilted?

Unlike some of the planets that sit completely upright and rotate perpendicularly, Earth rotates on a 23.5-degree axis.

But why? A commonly accepted theory among the scientific community is the giant impact hypothesis. According to this theory, a celestial object called Theia collided with Earth many years ago, when the planet was still forming. This collision not only knocked Earth into its tilted position—some believe that the dust and debris from this impact ended up forming our moon.

Ever since, our planet has been rotating with a slight tilt (which itself is not fixed, as it “wobbles” in cycles), giving us our varying seasons throughout the year.

How Earth’s Tilt Influences our Seasons

As our planet orbits the Sun, it’s always leaning in the same direction. Because of its tilt, the different hemispheres receive varying amounts of sunlight at different times of the year.

In December, Earth is technically closer to the Sun than it is in June or July. However, because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun during December, that part of the planet experiences winter during that time.

Earth's Seasonal Climates

The graphic above by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) visualizes Earth’s orbit throughout the year, showing when each hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight (and thus, experiences summer).

The Climate Change Impact

While our seasons have always varied, it’s worth noting that climate change has impacted our seasons, and changed how much Arctic ice we lose each summer.

In the past, millions of miles of ice remained frozen throughout the summer months. In the 1980s, there were 3.8 million square miles of ice in July—that’s roughly the same size as Australia.

Over the years, Arctic ice cover has steadily declined. In July 2020, the ice cover was only 2.8 million square miles—a million less than the amount four decades ago.

Some scientists are predicting that we could lose our summer sea ice entirely by 2035, which would have a devastating impact on the Artic’s wildlife and the indigenous people who live there.

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