Earth Wind Map

Caitlin Dempsey


Last year, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg of the site Hint.FM pulled near real-time data from the National Digital Forecast Database, to create a dynamic wind map of the United States.  Now,  Cameron Beccario has taken it one step further and create a wind map of the entire Earth.

Simply called, “earth”, the visualization shows forecasted global weather conditions and is updated every three hours and is built using D3. “earth” uses a script to download and process Global Forecast System weather data in GRIB2 format from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, NOAA / National Weather Service.

Using free GIS data from Natural Earth, the end result is a browser based 3D model of the earth with green to red to purple gradient wind movements. Use your cursor to pull and drag the earth around its axis to view different parts of the word.  The more purple areas represent greater wind velocity.  The flow of the lines indicates wind direction. Click on any location on earth to see a pop-up with coordinates and wind speed.  Click on the earth text in the lower left hand corner to access more controls.  From there, you can change the heights for the wind velocity readings, step back in time to see different wind velocity conditions, turn off the gradient, and change the projection.  Click on the earth text to minimize that box.

Previously, Beccario had visualized Tokyo wind and air pollutants which allow users to toggle wind speeds as well as such air pollutants as photochemical pollutants, sulfur dioxide, nitric monoxide, and methane.

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Beccario has placed the source code for earth on GitHub

Visit: earth

Global wind speeds at 10hPA using the Waterman butterfly projection.
Map of global wind speeds at 10hPA using the Waterman butterfly projection.
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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.