Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weather from Above

While perusing Sitka Nature, I learned of the website Earth, which provides an animated global image of surface wind patterns over which other weather parameters (temperature, humidity, ocean currents) can be superimposed.

While there are many interactive weather maps available on the Internet, this image is especially fascinating.  Most importantly, one can easily visualize how surface winds are produced by areas of high and low pressure, watching as winds flow from the former to the latter.  The Intertropical Convergence Zone (see this post)  is also easily identified and tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons stand out as tight spirals (counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, clockwise in the Southern) against the calmer ocean background.  Under the right conditions, upsloping winds are observed along mountain ranges, cooling the regional temperature and dropping their cargo of rain or snow.

Anyone interested in global weather patterns is strongly advised to check out this site; clicking on the label "earth" opens a menu of data that may be superimposed on the wind patterns and users can zoom into areas of interest across the globe.  Weather junkies, like myself, may find themselves mesmerized for hours at a time.