Google Earth A to Z: Weather

Google Earth has a variety of built-in layers that give you some amazing ways to view the current weather around the world. Simply by turning on the [Clouds] and [Radar] layers inside of the main [Weather] layer, you can get a great look at clouds and precipitation around the world.


If you dive below the clouds you’ll find a few nice touches. First, the clouds/radar are not on the surface of the earth, but up an an elevation of approximately 35 miles. Also, if you fly under an area that is currently raining or snowing (and you have an adequate video card) you’l actually see animated rain/snow on your screen.

You can also use the weather layer to help track hurricanes, as we showed you a few months ago with Hurricane Isaac.
Finally, for those that wish to dig a little deeper, we have our popular collection of weather tools that give you a variety of other weather-related data to explore.
weather tools

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. i like the animated rain 🙂

  2. ….. but rain does not fall from 35 miles above the earth. only record breaking sky-divers.
    More realistically the weather ‘observations and forecasts’ layer gives good spot coverage at ground level
    Also, the ‘cloud’ layer is worldwide, but precipitation ‘radar’ seems to cover only the US, parts of Canada, plus parts of western Europe. There may be better Google Maps based options using radar in these areas such as ‘Will it rain today’ for the UK
    … probably yes 😉

  3. Another consequence of 35 mile high ‘clouds’ is that they vanish from a vertical viewpoint if eye height is less than 50km/35 miles.
    There is also the disconcerting effect that the green areas of rain shift if the view is dragged, presumably because the radar layer is not ‘locked’ to the land below and the perspective changes, but it means that the radar is giving only an approximate picture of anything of smaller scale than a large weather system.

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