a visualization of global weather conditions

forecast by supercomputers

updated every three hours


ocean surface current estimates

updated every five days


ocean surface temperatures and

anomaly from daily average (1981-2011)

updated daily


ocean waves

updated every three hours

artwork purchase artwork from Point.B Studio to help support this site

Community |

 Facebook Page

Author |

 Cameron Beccario @cambecc

Free Version of Source |

Modules |

 D3.js, backbone.js, when.js, node.js

Weather Data |

 GFS (Global Forecast System)
 NCEP / National Weather Service / NOAA

Ocean Currents Data |

 Earth & Space Research

Sea Surface Temperature |

 Real Time Global SST

Waves |


Aerosols and Chemistry |

 GEOS-5 (Goddard Earth Observing System)

GRIB/NetCDF Decoder |


Geographic Data |

 Natural Earth

Hosting |

 CloudFlare, Amazon S3

Font |

 M+ FONTS, Mono Social Icons Font

Color Scales |

 Kindlmann Linear Luminance
 Dave Green's cubehelix

Waterman Butterfly |

Earlier Work |

 Tokyo Wind Map

Inspiration |

 HINT.FM wind map

atmospheric pressure corresponds roughly to altitude

several pressure layers are meteorologically interesting

they show data assuming the earth is completely smooth

note: 1 hectopascal (hPa) ≡ 1 millibar (mb)

1000 hPa |

 00,~100 m, near sea level conditions

850 hPa |

 0~1,500 m, planetary boundary, low

700 hPa |

 0~3,500 m, planetary boundary, high

500 hPa |

 0~5,000 m, vorticity

250 hPa |

 ~10,500 m, jet stream

70 hPa |

 ~17,500 m, stratosphere

10 hPa |

 ~26,500 m, even more stratosphere

the "Surface" layer represents conditions at ground or water level

this layer follows the contours of mountains, valleys, etc.


overlays show another dimension of data using color

some overlays are valid at a specific height

while others are valid for the entire thickness of the atmosphere

Wind |

 wind speed at specified height

Temp |

 temperature at specified height

TPW (Total Precipitable Water) |

 total amount of water in a column of air
 stretching from ground to space

RH |

 relative humidity at specified height

WPD (Wind Power Density) |

 measure of power available in the wind

TCW (Total Cloud Water) |

 total amount of water in clouds
 in a column of air from ground to space

3HPA |

 Next 3-hour Precipitation Accumulation:
 total amount of precipitation over the next three hours

MSLP (Mean Sea Level Pressure) |

 air pressure reduced to sea level

MI (Misery Index) |

 perceived air temperature
 combined heat index and wind chill

SST (Sea Surface Temp) |

 temperature of the ocean surface

SSTA (Sea Surface Temp Anomaly) |

 difference in ocean temperature from
 daily average during years 1981-2011

Peak Wave Period |

 period of most energetic waves,
 whether swells or wind generated

HTSGW (Significant Wave Height) |

 roughly equal to mean wave height
 as estimated by a "trained observer"

COsc (CO Surface Concentration) |

 the fraction of carbon monoxide present
 in air at the earth's surface

CO2sc (CO2 Surface Concentration) |

 the fraction of carbon dioxide present
 in air at the earth's surface

SO2sm (Sulfur Dioxide Surface Mass) |

 amount of sulfur dioxide in the air near
 the earth's surface

DUext (Dust Extinction) |

 the aerosol optical thickness (AOT) of
 light at 550 nm due to dust

SO4ext (Sulfate Extinction) |

 the aerosol optical thickness (AOT) of
 light at 550 nm due to sulfate

about ocean waves

Significant Wave Height is the average height of the highest 1/3 of waves at a particular point in the ocean. There's a great writeup here describing what this means.

Peak Wave Period is the (inverse) frequency of the most energetic waves passing through a particular point, whether wind generated or swells. Certainly, there are many more groups of waves moving through an area, each in different directions, but trying to show them all rapidly becomes complex. Instead, we show the one wave group contributing the most energy. This has the effect, though, of creating "boundaries" between regions of ocean where the #1 wave group suddenly switches to second place. Often these boundaries represent swell fronts, but other times they are just artifacts of the ranking mechanism.

about CO2 concentrations

While implementing the visualization of CO2 surface concentration, I noticed the NASA GEOS-5 model reports a global mean concentration that differs significantly from widely reported numbers. For example, from the run at 2015-11-23 00:00 UTC, the global mean is only 368 ppmv whereas CO2 observatories report concentrations closer to 400 ppmv. GEOS-5 was constructed in the 2000s, so perhaps the model does not account for accumulation of atmospheric CO2 over time? This is simply speculation. I'm just not certain.

To bring the GEOS-5 results closer to contemporary numbers, I have added a uniform offset of +32 ppmv, increasing the global mean to 400 ppmv. This is not scientifically valid, but it does allow the visualization to become illustrative of the discussion occurring today around atmospheric CO2. Without question, I would welcome a more rigorous approach or an explanation why the GEOS-5 model produces the data that it does.


GEOS-5 data (covering all Chem and Particulates layers) comes with the following disclaimer: Forecasts using the GEOS system are experimental and are produced for research purposes only. Use of these forecasts for purposes other than research is not recommended.

about aerosols and extinction

An aerosol is air containing particles. Common particles are dust, smoke, soot, and water droplets (clouds). These particles affect sunlight primarily through absorption and scattering, which combine to reduce the amount of light reaching the ground. This loss of light as it passes through the atmosphere is called extinction.

One common measure of extinction is aerosol optical thickness (AOT), which is (the log of) the ratio between the power of incoming light and the power of transmitted light. This helps us understand how "thick" the air is with particulates.

keyboard shortcuts

e |

 show the menu

escape |

 close dialog/menu

k |

 go forward one time step

shift-k |

 go forward eight time steps

j |

 go backward one time step

shift-j |

 go backward eight time steps

n |

 go to now (the most recent data)

i |

 go up one pressure level

shift-i |

 go up to the stratosphere

m |

 go down one pressure level

shift-m |

 go down to the surface

g |

 toggle the grid on/off

p |

 toggle the animation on/off

The GEOS-5 data used on this site have been provided by the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center through the online data portal in the NASA Center for Climate Simulation

weather and ocean data are generated from numerical models implies no guarantee of accuracy

Copyright (c) 2016 Cameron Beccario