With severe storms again rolling across the central US, I thought it’d be a good time to revisit the ways that Google Earth can help you track the 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.
We’ve all heard about El Nino over the years and how it can affect weather patterns, but it can be a bit tricky to understand the relationship between all of the elements involved in it. According to Fabius Maximus, a monster El Nino may be coming this year.
This documentary,in the form of a Google Map, accounts for everything you want to know about the El Niño Zone in a Google Map. Like weather changes, the Galapagos volcanic hotspot, changes in Thermohaline Circulation from Deep Current to Surface Current, the Westerly Winds, the submarine topography, disease outbreaks, food shortages, famine and cultural uprisings. I created this map because I discovered that no map to date put all the factors listed above together in one image. You can even compare today’s weather in the zone by turning on the weather feature in Google Map as shown below.
The NASA Earth Observatory site brings us amazing images from time to time (such as some of these), and they’re back with some fresh imagery from the tornadoes that have ripped across the central United States in recent weeks.
The Mayflower tornado hit on April 27 and was rated an EF4. It left a path nearly 41 miles long and destroyed between 400-500 homes. From the Earth Observatory site:
At MODIS resolution, the entire town of Mayflower is barely distinguishable; but at ALI’s top resolution of 10 meters per pixel, it is possible to distinguish between individual buildings. In this ALI image, a trail of damaged trees and homes is visible near Interstate 40. The storm moved in a northeasterly direction, hitting the southern part of Mayflower first, then crossing I-40, and flattening neighborhoods along the shore of Lake Taylor.
For those of you shivering in the United States, you may have read that a “polar vortex” is to blame for the shockingly low temperatures. For a new look at that phenomenon, the folks at NOAA have released some amazing imagery of it.
Google Earth is an amazing tool for studying and sharing information about our planet’s climate. Frank first shared a climate-related story back in 2006 (UNEP’s New Environment Layer in Google Earth) and we’ve posted many more since then. If you enjoy these kinds of tools, then you’ll find that the “Climate Viewer 3D“ is quite amazing.
The describe the tool as:
Climate Viewer 3D empowers the user with cutting-edge technology, real-time situational awareness, and a visual tour of our planetary problems. With a plethora of controls, data sources, Google Earth interface, and fresh content daily, what are you waiting for?