Mesmerising wind map of the world shows real time gusts

A mesmerising map that shows up-to-date air currents across the world in breathtaking beauty has been created by a computer programmer.

The animated graphic shows worldwide weather conditions, with powerful gusts snaking their way around our planet in real-time.

Each time the visualisation restarts, it shows individual wind currents in a different area of the globe which then spread out to cover the surface of the Earth.

Each line on the map represents a wind current while colours indicate windspeed – the darker the colour, the faster the breeze.

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A mesmerising map that shows up-to-date air currents across the world in breathtaking beauty has been created by a computer programmer. Each time the visualisation restarts, it shows individual wind currents in a different area of the globe which then spread out to cover the surface of the Earth

The map was created by Seattle-based programmer Andrei Kashcha, using data provided by the US National Weather Service.

Every six hours, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) operational model archive and distribution system publishes weather data for the whole globe.

Among these services is the Global Forecast System (GFS), which comes in the form of a latitude/longitude grid with a number of associated values, including wind speed.

It’s encoded in a special type of binary called GRIB, a data format commonly used in meteorology to store historical and forecast weather data to be read by computers.

This can be transformed into information that people can work with using a version of the programming language JavaScript, commonly used in websites.

The animated graphic shows worldwide Andrei Kashchaweather conditions, with powerful gusts snaking their way around our planet in real-time. Each line on the map represents a wind current while colours indicate windspeed - the darker the colour, the faster the breeze

The animated graphic shows worldwide Andrei Kashchaweather conditions, with powerful gusts snaking their way around our planet in real-time. Each line on the map represents a wind current while colours indicate windspeed – the darker the colour, the faster the breeze

Mr Kascha posted the code he used to create the visualisation on open-source web hosting service Github

Speaking about his masterpiece on Reddit, he said: ‘My work is specifically focused on building static visualizations of a vector field with streamlines. 

‘What does this mean? A vector field is just a fancy way of saying that each point on a map has some sort of a vector associated with it. 

‘To visualize a vector field, one can drop thousands of particles and let them flow throw the field, treating each vector as a velocity. 

The map was created by Seattle based programmer Andrei Kashcha, using data provided by the US National Weather Service. Every six hours, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) operational model archive and distribution system publishes weather data for the whole globe

The map was created by Seattle based programmer Andrei Kashcha, using data provided by the US National Weather Service. Every six hours, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) operational model archive and distribution system publishes weather data for the whole globe

Among the services provided by is the NOAA is the Global Forecast System (GFS), which comes in the form of a latitude/longitude grid with a number of associated values, including wind speed. Each line on the map represents a wind current

Among the services provided by is the NOAA is the Global Forecast System (GFS), which comes in the form of a latitude/longitude grid with a number of associated values, including wind speed. Each line on the map represents a wind current

GFS is encoded in a special type of binary called GRIB, a data format commonly used in meteorology to store historical and forecast weather data to be read by computers. Colours represent windspeed, the darker the colour, the faster the breeze

GFS is encoded in a special type of binary called GRIB, a data format commonly used in meteorology to store historical and forecast weather data to be read by computers. Colours represent windspeed, the darker the colour, the faster the breeze

This can be transformed into information that people can work with using a version of the programming language JavaScript, commonly used in websites. Here, wind currents cover almost the entire surface of the planet

This can be transformed into information that people can work with using a version of the programming language JavaScript, commonly used in websites. Here, wind currents cover almost the entire surface of the planet

‘”Streamlines” is a different way to visualize a field. Instead of randomly changing particle’s position, we preserve a path of a single particle as long as it “lives” inside the bounding box. 

‘We could randomly sample particles on the map, and trace their lines, but that would result in uneven distribution of the lines.

‘This visualization tries to keep wind lines evenly distributed from each other. For this I render every new line at given distance from a “seed” line, making sure it never comes closer than allowed.’  

A number of users of the social media site were impressed by Mr Kashcha’s handiwork.

Nthiteration said: ‘This is really amazing. Thank you for posting it. This would make a beautiful wall art.

‘I’m seriously considering having it printed on canvas and hung on my wall.’

HOW ARE WINDS CREATED? 

To understand what makes the wind blow, we first need to understand what atmospheric pressure is.

Pressure at the earth’s surface is a measure of the ‘weight’ of air pressing down on it. The greater the mass of air above us, the higher the pressure we feel, and vice-versa.

The importance of this is that air at the surface will want to move from high to low pressure to equalise the difference, which is what we know as wind.

So wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure – but why do we get these differences? It’s down to the rising and sinking of air in the atmosphere.

Where air is rising we see lower pressure at the earth’s surface, and where it’s sinking we see higher pressure.

In fact, if it weren’t for this rising and sinking motion in the atmosphere then not only would we have no wind but we’d also have no weather.

This rising and sinking of air in the atmosphere takes place both on a global scale and a local scale. 

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