Recent Weather Satellite Animations in Google Earth

Weather satellite animations from NOAA GOES in Google EarthSomeone at the Google Earth Community named ‘randomGIS’ has posted two network links which will load up the most recent few hours of infrared (IR) satellite photos as a time animation in Google Earth 4. This means you can watch animations of clouds moving during the past few hours on the 3D surface of GE. Load a network link from either NOAA GOES 11 (covers western North America and the NE Pacific ocean) or the NOAA GOES 12 (covers most of North America and the NW Atlantic ocean). Once you load one up, click on the right arrow (“play”) button on the right of the time slider gadget. You should see an animation of the photos begin. First time through it needs to load the images. You can adjust the speed of the animation by clicking on the little clock icon on the left side of the time slider gadget and adjusting “Animation speed“. If you plan to use these network links frequently, simply save them in your “My Places”. They won’t take up much space in memory until you turn them on.
It amazes me that weather forecasters haven’t done more to support GE on their web sites. Especially with the addition of the time animation with GE 4. NOAA has done a few things with GE/KML, but not nearly enough yet in my opinion. Hopefully now that GE 4 is out of beta we’ll see more official adoption of weather data using GE/KML.
Related: See the weather category at GEB for many things done with Google Earth for weather (scroll down for a long list). Also, see this story for a recent example of NOAA support and a list of other NOAA projects using KML.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. I don’t see why Google doesn’t just put some weather layers in Google Earth to start with. I mean I can find ATMs, coffee shops, see old maps, etc but not check the weather? It doesn’t seem any less important than 3d buildings.
    I’ve got quite a few weather links in my “places” section that I’ve saved from various websites, but over time some links go dead, some are poorly implemented, and it’s a pain to keep them all organized, especially with multiple computers. I think weather information should just come built in. Oh, and NASA’s MODIS TERRA & AQUA + Blue Marble also! 🙂

  2. Nice! It would even be cooler to but the layer at an altitude of about ~5000m so that you can actually see the clouds when near the ground.

  3. Thats great! But, is it also available for a longer time peroid e.g. a week?
    And are there exist any animations for Europe?

  4. This is great. I’d like to see more real-time data like this for Google Earth; in particular I’ve been searching for data on sea ice and ice pack coverage in the polar regions.

  5. I’m also constantly amazed that in addition to the lack of greater government and academic interest in KML, no one seems to be interested in xml content schemas. So developers continue to reparse the same government or other data streams without reference to any content standard or support from google(yet) on common controlled vocabularies and schemas for content. I’ve tried developing something like this on my own at but haven’t seen much interest from the community in any kind of conventions or standards when it comes to KML content(other than 3D models).

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