A visually stunning graphic of wind patterns all over the world, almost in real time, is available here.

This interactive visualization of wind patterns — modeled from the U.S. National Weather Service’s Global Forecast System database — provides nearly current weather conditions on the global scale. And it’s beautiful.

In an interactive form, this data set allows the user to move the globe around (simply drag with your mouse) and zoom in and out (use your scroll wheel). After a few seconds the colors appear in snaking lines, depicting wind patterns at varying speeds. Gentle breezes are thin lines of green, strong winds are light streaks of yellow, and the strongest current are thick lines of red and purple.
A screenshot of the Earth's north pole at 5,500 meters.

A screen capture of the Earth’s north pole at 5,500 meters. The thick purple line is the polar jet stream.

Adjustable parameters also allow the user to view the wind patterns at various heights in the atmosphere, from 100 meters (noted as 1000 hPa in the program) to 26,500 meters (10 hPa) above the Earth’s surface. Simply click on the word “earth” in the lower left-hand corner of the web browser.


When Science is Art: a New Map of Wind Patterns

Exploring the globe from many angles, projections, and wind heights is fun. I learned more about Australia's wind pattern in a few seconds than I'd ever known.

I guessed wrong about the wind height, imagining that the lower numbers meant lower, closer to the surface.

1 hectopascal (hPa) ≡ 1 millibar (mb)

1,000 hPa means surface conditions

850 hPa  means  ~1,500 m or low

700 hPa  means ~3,500 m, planetary boundary, high

500 hPa means ~5,000 m, vorticity

250 hPa  means ~10,500 m, jet stream height

70 hPa means ~17,500 m, stratosphere

10 hPa means even more stratospheric

Tags: wind

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Replies to This Discussion

These maps are so pretty, they make nice meditation pieces. 

I find it interesting that the low winds can flow in a completely independent direction from the high winds.Right now the lowest wind where I live is going East to West, coming from the Atlantic ocean, but the winds at 500hPA are going West to East, bringing wind from Canada and the Pacific. I had no idea the layers could be so contrary to one another.

I had a major agument with a former roomie about her belief(s) in the supernatural (psychics, numerology, ghod, etc.)  I said I believed in provable facts, things I could see, hear, feel, measure, and she came back with "You can't see AIR, can you?"  I paused, and then said, "You've never felt the wind?  Or seen how it blows leaves and stuff around?  Plus it definitely CAN be measured...ever heard of 'air pressure'?"

She changed the subject...and hung up rather quickly, but she still believes in all that crap.  She paid a hefty amount to have a "pet psychic" come analyze her dog....  It's her money, but what if the "psychic" was blowing wind and the dog had a a serious medical condition? 

I love scientific stuff like this!  Thank you, Ruth.

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