The World Gets Swirly: Tracking Wind Data in Real-Time

It’s hard to imaging a visualization more beautiful than this new animated map of wind speeds across the continental U.S. Individual lines delicately weave their way across the land in Vincent van Gogh like fashion, tracing near real-time wind forecasts around the nation and giving us a mesmerizing view of everything from breezes to gales.

The map displays data from the National Digital Forecast Database, and is updated every hour, giving a near real-time look at the country. White lines over a grey landmass show winds traveling at different speeds in scale to their actual velocity. For additional information on wind speed, the side of the chart contains an easy to understand key which roughly shows wind speeds based on the relative density of white lines. The map also offers a zoomable view, giving wind velocities at larger towns and cities with a simple mouse-over.

Created by the skillful data visualization duo at, the map is more than simply weather information. The two point out how much useful energy is shown here, constantly flowing over the nation and offering a potentially huge amount of electricity to future wind farms. It’s a resource we have barely started to explore.

The two also note that they would like to find world-wide data to create a global wind map. That map could be highly useful, in that it would display not only wind over land, but also those systems headed our way from offshore. For a mesmerizing look at their current creation, click here.

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