Seeing Which Way the Wind Blows — Literally

One recent spring, I was poaching wifi in Moab with some friends, including the climber Mikey Schaefer, who, while I was wasting time reading other people’s braggadocio on Facebook when I should have been writing my own, was busy digging into the digital catacombs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather data feeds so he could send forecasts to Jimmy Chin, who was sitting in a tent in Alaska or the Karakorum or somewhere decidely more exotic than Utah. Where Jimmy actually was or what his forecast would be eludes me now — what’s important is that it’s a reminder how the internet is a weather geek’s biggest fantasy come true.

And that’s embodied in this new manifestation of wind data called, simply enough, Wind Map. It’s an art project from Hint.fm, a collaboration between visual experts Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, but what it really is is an almost-real-time map of surface winds across the United States. And though what you see here is just a photo, on the Hint website, it’s dynamic, in motion, and you can see the wind flowing across the continent. How cool is that?

See it here.

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