Watching Wind Currents Blow Across the Earth Is Mesmerizing

Friday, 26 May 2017 - 1:56PM
Earth
Friday, 26 May 2017 - 1:56PM
Watching Wind Currents Blow Across the Earth Is Mesmerizing
Image credit: NASA, Goddard Flight Center
If you were a fan of the previous video we did on ocean currents, here's your next fix! NASA's Goddard Flight Center has put together a model that shows the movements of wind across the Earth, color-coding them according to their elevation. If you've ever wondered why certain parts of the world end up in the eyes of tornadoes or had trouble visualizing an incoming heat wave, check out the video below:



These sorts of visualizations can help people understand the belts of wind patterns that seem strange on paper—the westerlies, trade winds, and weirdly named horse latitudes. These belts have been recognized by sailors for hundreds of years, but now that we have more advanced technology we can actually see the patterns in action and study how they affect the climate during extreme situations (like the intense heat of 1988).

Hurricanes are one of the products of these wind patterns, with the normal Atlantic hurricane season running from June to November each year. You can read a fun comic from XKCD about hurricanes here, if you want to get a glimpse into the mad, mad world of weather forecasting.
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