Cool Toys Pic of the Day – Wind

Hint: Wind:

This is, at least for today, kind of the ultimate in practical real-time data visualization. Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on us, being called “Superstorm” and “Frankenstorm.” Everyone is collecting links, stockpiling resources, downloading apps, tracking the news, and wondering how folk are doing in other places. Megan Foldenauer, a scientific illustrator, shared this on Facebook, and it was so timely I couldn’t NOT share it with you.

This screenshot shows a close up of the current wind currents on the East Coast. The way this visualization works is that the lines are denser (and move faster) where the winds are moving faster. Yes, the lines MOVE. If you click on a point, the map zooms in around that spot. If you mouse over an area, the current stats pop up, as shown here. I had my mouse over the eye of the storm. You see the stable wind speed there is around 4 miles per hours. Just outside the eye they were 37mph. I have screenshots of that, too.

They pull their data from the National Weather Service, updated hourly. That’s why it can’t show gusts. They recommend that people refer to Wunderground for a more traditional (and colorful) display.

National Weather Service:

Wunderground: Wind Speed:

Things are pretty windy where I am in Michigan, also, although I was told that the winds here have nothing to do with the hurricane. This visualization is doing a pretty good job of convincing me otherwise!


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