Figuring out which way the wind blows
Via Stephen Lacey, here’s a fantastic animated map showing how the wind’s flowing across the United States at any given moment. The map, created by the visualization firm Many Eyes, uses real-time data from the National Digital Forecast Database:
At a glance, you can see why so many wind farms are sprouting up in the Texas Panhandle — and why gusty North Dakota is often referred to as the “Saudi Arabia of wind.” Indeed, the biggest hurdle with constructing giant wind farms in the Dakotas is that it’s not easy to string up large, high-voltage transmission lines from the plains to population centers elsewhere in the country.
Also, if you look closely, it seems you can spot a few high-pressure areas (where the wind is flowing clockwise) and low-pressure areas (where the wind is flowing counter-clockwise).