This Global Wind Map Is Mesmerizing

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Dec. 18 2013 4:40 PM

Mesmerizing Map Shows Which Way the World's Winds Are Blowing

Cameron Beccario's interactive global wind-speed visualization, "Earth."
A screenshot of Cameron Beccario's interactive global wind-speed visualization, "Earth."

Screenshot / earth.nullschool.net

Last year, designers Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg brought us the “Wind Map,” an artistic visualization of wind patterns across the United States.

Now their map has inspired another Web developer, Cameron Beccario, to adapt the concept to a global scale. Beccario started with a wind map of Tokyo, where he lives. Then he took on the world. You can see his animated map at earth.nullschool.net.

Advertisement

Using data from the Global Forecast System, Beccario’s map updates every three hours, showing near-current weather patterns worldwide. You can spin the map like a globe, zoom in on a particular region, or just soak in the oddly soothing sight of the neon lines steadily making their way across the globe. One takeaway: If you think the winds are bad over land today, check out the ones sweeping across the seas.

Global Wind Map 2
The Pacific Ocean is not looking very pacific today.

Screenshot / earth.nullschool.net

Another takeaway: The waters around Antarctica do not look like a pleasant place to sail.

Global Wind Map 3
Antarctica is surrounded by swirling gyres associated with the cicumpolar current.

Screenshot / earth.nullschool.net

As the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang points out, you can also use the map to get a broad view of specific weather events making news around the world. The Weather Gang matched up the map to last week’s Middle East snowstorm and the Norwegian winds so strong they knocked people down.

Beccario told me he liked Viégas and Wattenberg’s U.S. wind map so much that it inspired him to learn Javascript so he could make his own. He has posted his own code on Github for others to explore.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.