John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
NOAA’s weatherView animates real-time wind and even shows city lights at night.
Or day—you can change the time to see current and future conditions, and even watch the sun line swoop across the globe. (The model is refreshed with new forecasts every six hours.) This is North America with the day-night terminator halfway across the continent:
Winds are displayed as blue lines bunching in tight swirls in low-pressure areas. Shown above is Typhoon Soudelor menacing Taiwan on Thursday, and here are gusty ocean breezes flowing down the California coast:
The temperature filter transforms the world into a seeming lake of fire. Look at the hot weather in the South and cooler conditions in the mountainous West:
Typhoon Soudelor again, looming like a humongous, ghostly whirlpool in the model’s moisture filter:
And here is the equator’s famous rain band, which is predicted to shift north as the climate warms, screwing up farming for millions of South Americans: