Saturday, December 14, 2013

Real-time global wind map

Programmers! See this web page with the source etc.
Update January 2014: New overlays with temperature, pressure, cloud, and rain were added!


I just saw an amazing tweet by Pakistani string theorist Amer Iqbal (whom I know from Harvard) and you have to see it:
Real-time global wind map (earth.nullschool.net)
It's beautiful, fast, and hopefully accurate.




Using the usual gestures (dragging with the left mouse button, mouse wheel etc.), you may rotate the globe, zoom it in/out, and/or focus on the region you are interested in. The wind flows are visualized by animated flying green jets, sort of.

It may take a few seconds for the wind data to load and for the green animation to begin.




When I was posting this blog post for the first time, I still hadn't verified the credibility of the data and who is behind the impressive project.

Update: I have compared the graphical wind data with Weather Underground and the degree of agreement leads me to believe that the data are legit.

The information about the application and the source of its data may be accessed by clicking at the "earth" label in the lower left corner. The author (Cameron Beccario, software engineer focusing on .NET in Japan) seems to be a citizen scientist if we use this term and the data are from NCEP / US National Weather Service / NOAA.

The "earth" button also offers some options – changing the height (parameterized by pressure: e.g. the high-altitude 10 hPa pressure winds are more uniform, stronger, and red, purple, or even white if too strong), projection of the terrestrial sphere, changing the reference time (yesterday, forecast for tomorrow), UTC vs local time, visualizing your current location (permission may be needed; a "cross" closes the local info), and more. Left-clicking a place (with no dragging) gives you some local information about the place. If you click at "earth" again, the menus disappear.

The author kindly told me that he applies a simple bilinear interpolation to fill the gaps in the NCEP data – it surely looks good to me. He is unusually modest which is the reason why you probably haven't heard about the widget earlier.

Just by looking at the animations, one can learn some things. For example, the winds over oceans are generally much stronger than those over the land, indeed. The vortices simply love to appear at various spots. It would be interesting to see how much the wind field follows from the pressure field (a potential: the vortices imply non-potentiality), and other things.

39 comments:

  1. Judging by the winds battering my home in the north of England, I'd say the data looks spot on!

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  2. Same in Dublin... We're sending it to you ;-)

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  3. Wow! The windspeed vs. altitude (given in hectopascals) is a great tool for aircraft pilots.
    I love it!

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  4. This is a great post! Brahe is one of my favourite historical figures based simply on his life's general wackiness and improbability. He also had a prosthetic nose, his real one having been lost early in life during a duel with a fellow aristocrat concerning the validity of a mathematical formula (certainly not the modern way of settling scientific disagreements)!


    One quick grammar thing: "commando" in English is used as a singular noun to refer to a single soldier. The collective noun you want here would be something along the lines of "battalion" or "regiment," or perhaps "gaggle" (which would fit in rhetorically with the disparaging tone you take here towards these particular soldiers-cum-looters).

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  5. Such an animated image should be a standard thing on displays in front of pilots - and a few other occupations, right? ;-) I am sort of amazed by the so-far unused potential of this simple app. The creator only has 149 Twitter followers and almost no one knows about it. I have at least contacted the US National Hurricane Center of NOAA whether they would include it on their hurricane web page - and I am trying to find out what app developers for mobile devices think about making a special app like that with Cameron.

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  6. Here's one for the USA: http://hint.fm/wind/

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  7. Very similar, less colorful and not global. But the agreement in the U.S. is undeniable:
    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-101.73,45.04,1153

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  8. Thanks for the interest and the lesson on commandos! It's cool that you not only know the right words for a batalion in English but you even seem to know what do we mean by a "commando" outside the English-speaking world!

    30 years ago, I would spend tens of hours by playing Commando on C64

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDAhixO2t5w



    with the excellent music by Rob Hubbard and I still don't know what a commando is! ;-) Of course, 30 years ago, my knowledge of English was reduced to a vague understanding of the words IF, THEN, INPUT, PRINT, RETURN, RUN, LIST, GOTO, and (a dscipline in which I could trump many native speakers) GOSUB - I've made at least some progress in the following 30 years. :-)

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  9. "Golem the Jewish soil robot" Clay, Bible, Genesis 2:7. Yahweh formed clay then blew in spirit. Flesh has no aluminum or silicon, clay is loaded with both, this being a symmetry breaking. Golems are "animated anthropomorphic beings" not robots. Their operation is mystical not engineered (e.g., RUR, Karel Čapek; intrinsic androids, retrofitted cyborgs). Chełm and Prague were golem hotspots.

    A vast Golem literature (e.g., Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 38b; Sefer Yetzirah; Sodei Razayya) lacks empirical examples, suggesting golems are left-right anti-symmetric string theory vacua. "8^>)

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  10. Excellent, what's the difference between soil and clay?


    Their operation could have been mystical but according to the mythology, they're sculptures that were animated by the humans. As far as I understand, the old definition in the legends is perfectly compatible with their being robots. Robots are no longer mysterious to us but that's not because golems weren't robots; it's because we're more educated and advanced than ancient Jews - sorry for the heresy.

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  11. An interesting and witty post.

    The mention of the battle of White Mountain and of a mention of pillaging commandos, reminded me of of one of the most unfortunate things from the common Polish-Czech history, namely the mercenary Polish cavalry called "Lisowczycy", who played the key role in that battle. It was said of them that they were the kind of cavalry that "'God would not want and the Devil was afraid of'.

    Of course, they could have been on the other side had the Czech protestants been willing to unbid the emperor. Eventually, however, everyone became too ashamed to hire them, including even he French who usually had the least scruples.

    However, Rembrant may have been inspired by them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisowczycy

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  12. Interesting - it would be surprising for other reasons if the Poles fought against the Catholics, wouldn't it?

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  13. You got to hand it to the windmill merchants. They pick the good spots to mount the suckers.


    Except in California. Altamont makes zero sense.

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  14. For the first shell, x=0, then for subsequent increases of shell number, shell depth = initial shell radius *(((1+x)^1/3) - (x^1/3)). Going below the surface of x=0, reaches a maximum value of 1.5874 at x= -0.5. As x becomes even more negative the curve falls again in value. Its like turning a balloon inside out and inflating it from the opposite side! Note this equation only applies to odd valued dimensions.

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  15. I am sure that in this case there would have been no problem ;-)


    Actually, although the 30 year war was one of the greatest "wars of religion", in fact the armies were mercenary and catholics fought on the protestant side and vice versa. I am sure you know the most famous example: Albrecht von Wallenstein, the most famous imperial general of that war (on the catholic side) was born in protestant Czech family (well, his father Vilem was probably a German Lutheran but the mother Marketa was a Czech Utraquist. The young Albrecht Vaclav spoke better Czech than German. )


    On the other hand the war was finally decided when catholic France, de facto ruled by a cardinal(Richelieu), intervened decisively on the protestant side.
    So these inter-christian "wars of religion" were not always quite what they seemed.

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  16. Great job, absolutely mesmerizing, thanks for bringing it. I have also featured it in my blog, impossible not to:

    http://scienceisbeauty.tumblr.com/post/70003193955/do-not-miss-this-spectacular-real-time-animation

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  17. Do you know why the Pilsner coat of arms (see e.g. this blog, upper left corner) we have the camel?

    In 1434, Zikmund of Luxembourg gave it there because the Pilsner folks managed to steal this camel from the Hussites when the latter unsuccessfully tried to siege Pilsen.


    The Hussites themselves got it from the Polish king as a gift for their help in the fights against the Teutonic Order. ;-)

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  18. Commercial aircraft have long used meteorological data in order to minimize flight time and fuel consumption but I was thinking of private pilots.
    The next time we have a major hurricane I plan to verify or, more likely, falsify the news reports of wind speed.

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  19. Are those 90 likes/reblogs of your post within an hour real statistics? That's lots of traffic.

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  20. The story sounds plausible, because Jan Zizka did serve as a mercenary in the Polish army, although he probably was not at the battle of Grunwald (as depicted in this very famous but almost comically inaccurate painting by Jan Matejko). Another link with Poland: Pilzen was founded by the Bohemian king Vaclav II, who was also a king of Poland.

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  21. Yep, they are, Science is Beauty is featured on Science Spotlight in Tumblr, and it has almost 200000 followers.

    http://www.tumblr.com/spotlight/science

    ... very successful, except when I post something on Climate, then I lose thousand of followers instantly :D

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  22. "For example, the winds over oceans are generally much stronger than those over the land, indeed."


    My understand is that this is due to friction. The movement of air over a rougher surface than the water would tend to do that.

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  23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SoilTexture_USDA.png
    Clay is a specific class of aluminosilicates. Soil is more complex.

    more educated and advanced than ancient Jews Had Moses' tablet's other side described ferrous metallurgy to Bronze Age emigrants, bingo! They weren't technologically interesting until they were wrought in Eastern Europe - a hot forge and a good pounding crafts the blade, then a whetstone to sharpen. Apologies tendered for inventing Socialism in counterpoint. God save us from the do-gooders.

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  24. I got bored from waiting those Juno's Earth flyby results :-) Here's something much, much, much more convincing http://www.toebi.com/blog/applications/changing-paradigm/


    I'll start those experiments in early next year. Building up a cloud chamber takes few nights then there is Christmas, ordering dry ice, new years celebrations, hangovers and blah blah :-)

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  25. Nice, but for me it just blanks out when I try to zoom or rotate : (

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  26. Ok, the southern tip of South America must be very windy...

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  27. It's impressive and interesting because despite the prominent place of the URL, I haven't observed a single visit coming from your website. ;-)

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  28. They now seem to have data back to the beginning of November. Here is typhoon Haiyan about to make landfall, with a maximum windspeed around 200 km/h at 1000 hPa: http://earth.nullschool.net/#2013/11/07/1200Z/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-236.85,11.16,1724

    Cool to see how the wind speed dies off sharply between 250 and 70 hPa.

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  29. Intriguing. Much of the hits to my entry may come from the dashboard of each user, it could be that visits to TRF come from there too, and so appear masked for Google. Also could be it has incurious readers who do not visit the references, bad for them. And finally, it could be that many of them have been mesmerized with the animation and they do not go beyond. I can't think of more factors.

    By the way, it's not the first time that "TRF" appears on the blog, for example here:

    http://scienceisbeauty.tumblr.com/post/67048893679/breathtaking-the-writer-automaton-from-the-bbc

    or here:

    http://scienceisbeauty.tumblr.com/post/57238822210/the-everett-interpretation-faq

    or here (two years ago):

    http://scienceisbeauty.tumblr.com/post/14164802273/the-higgs-boson-may-have-been-found-a-typical

    TRF has long been inspiration to many, and I am among them.

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  30. Maybe that's because the links are to motls.blogspot.es (servers in spain) and not to the .com version?

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  31. I don't think so, at least the link to this entry is:

    motlsDOTblogspotDOTcom-2013/12/real-time-global-wind-map.html

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  32. Yes, I'm talking about the last three ones.

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  33. Oh, okay, yes, these are from de Spain domain, my fault. I guess that Google takes into account all local domains in order to accounting for total hits, but not sure.

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  34. Manish kumar vermaDec 16, 2013, 1:54:00 PM

    Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.

    online courses....

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  35. Hi lucretius! Actually, I'll start conducting my experiments today. I hope that I'll get it right today, otherwise I'm conducting experiments for couple of weeks. Thumbs up! ;-)

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  36. It's not rela-time exactly. In "about" (http://earth.nullschool.net/about.html) it says that updates every 3 hours. Anyway, that's beautifull way of showing Earth.

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