The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been gradually making more weather data available through Google Earth. I say “gradually”, because NOAA has fantastic weather data and visualization capabilities, but they have only scratched the surface in releasing the data in KML which takes full advantage of Google Earth’s capabilities. And, they have not done much to publicize the availability of their KML files. Fortunately, someone at NOAA has put together a new web page showing the KML content available from NOAA sites organized by data types – and it highlights newly available files. Things are definitely improving at NOAA with several new files I haven’t seen before. I’m really glad they are growing their support, because they could do a lot more with Google Earth.
My favorite of the new files is “Snow Gages with Labels” . This file shows the condition of snow measuring stations in the Rocky Mountains of the US. The colors of the placemarks indicate the percentage of water content verses the normal levels for each site. Inside the placemarks are the details, and – I like this part – each one includes a photo of the measuring site (too bad it’s not a live web cam photo!). Looks like Colorado has a lot more snow than usual this year.
The US forecast network link is kind of handy. You can place it in your My Places and turn it on when you want to do a weather check. Move GE to the area you are interested in and pause. You get a placemark which, when you open it and click on the “forecast” link, you are taken to a NOAA weather page giving you full weather details for that location. It’s just a handy way to get to the NOAA data more quickly than having to do a search on their site.
Here are some previous GEB stories on other NOAA data available:
- National Weather Service Releases Radar Loops for Google Earth
- Near Real-time Severe Weather Data for the US from NOAA
- Great Lakes Bathymetry
- NOAA Estuarine Bathymetric Data
- NOAA Coral Reef Watch
- NOAA Voluntary Observing Ship Data (Not developed by NOAA)
See also: Best Weather and Storm Tracking Tools for Google Earth. And don’t forget to try the new weather layers built in to Google Earth.