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.
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.
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
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.