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Posted at 02:14 PM ET, 03/30/2012

Wind map: twisting, turning eye candy


Top left weather map, top right temperatures. Bottom: Wind streams (NOAA, Unisys Weather, and hint.fm/wind )
The winding currents of our atmosphere have never been easier to appreciate thanks to a new visualization project by Google computer scientists. Browse on over to hint.fm/wind and watch our nation’s streams of flow converge, diverge, accelerate and decelerate as they create our weather.

The visualization uses data from the National Weather Service to refresh hourly.

I grabbed today’s 1 p.m. image and placed the surface weather map and temperatures above it.

Notice how the swirls in the wind map coincide with the areas of low pressure and how the strongest winds - indicated by the densest concentration of streams - coincide with the regions where temperatures are changing most dramatically (i.e. in the northern Rockies, east of Chicago, and in the Northeast).

The map has gone viral online, with many news websites and blogs singing its praises. Co.Exist calls it “mesmerizing”, Climate Progress “the coolest wind map ever”, Gizmodo “utterly hypnotic”, TheVerge “awe-inspiring”, Discovery News “Escher-like”, Today online "mind blowing” and Clean Technica “like [a] living Van Gogh painting.”

The website is best viewed in the Chrome web browser.

By  |  02:14 PM ET, 03/30/2012

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