View the 2010 Hurricane Season in Google Earth

While we are waiting for Ryan Maue’s ACE 2010 report on the hurricane season, there’s this from the Google Earth blog:

Greg at Geodesic contacted us to let us know about a very cool animation that his company has built which provides a great visualization of the 2010 Hurricane Season. Based on the NOAA tropical cyclone track data, this file does a great job of showing all of the hurricanes in 2010.


The file is rather large (9.35MB), but includes fantastic imagery of the various stages of each storm. For example, here is a great image of Hurricane Danielle as it was heading toward Bermuda:


You can read more about this project on their site. To see it for yourself, you can use this KMZ file or watch the video below:

[Update by Willis Eschenbach] Without Anthony’s permission but hopefully with his retroactive blessing I am adding this image from the Google Earth File:

All hurricanes, 2010, from the KMZ file cited above.

The surprising thing to me was the uniformity of the coverage. It looks like someone set out to sweep the entire area with the hurricane broom.

It emphasises the “heat-seeking” nature of hurricanes and thunderstorms. Both of them move preferentially to the warmest area in their path. There, they remove heat from the ocean and transport it to the upper troposphere. Subsequent hurricanes or thunderstorms tend to avoid the areas that have already been cooled.

Kudos to Craig for the Google Earth animation.

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R. de Haan
December 12, 2010 5:04 am


December 12, 2010 5:33 am

Sorry to be off topic here but with Hurricane Season over I just had to post this somewhere.
From 2005
When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. Today, children always hear stories from their parents and grandparents about how snow was always piled up to their waists as they trudged off to school. Children today in most areas of the country haven’t experienced those kinds of dreadful snow-packed winters, except for the Northeastern U.S. in January 2005. The change in recent winter snows indicate that the climate has changed since their parents were young.
If summers seem hotter lately, then the recent climate may have changed. In various parts of the world, some people have even noticed that springtime comes earlier now than it did 30 years ago. An earlier springtime is indicative of a possible change in the climate.
It seems since 2005 in re to snowfall the climate has changed once again.
And who would of thunk it that snowfalls were just a thing of the past.

December 12, 2010 5:40 am

Now that’s a cool way to watch hurricanes. It’s as if the 2010 season was bouncing off a wall, of cold.

December 12, 2010 5:55 am

… which proves that you don’t need Google’s Cancun-hyped “Earth Engine” to make useful climatology visualizations in Google Earth.
If you’ve got Google Earth installed you can watch this by just loading this compressed KML (“kmz”) file:

December 12, 2010 6:23 am

Good vid for those with ADD.
As Mr Scott would say:
“The shields are holding Captain but I dunna know if they’ll last through 2011!”

December 12, 2010 9:05 am

Am I the only one who is suspicious of the motivation for this?
Is a good way of reminding people about hurricanes even if they are not being impacted. Is a subtle way of reinforcing AGW predictions.

December 12, 2010 9:17 am

I agree with that the temperature rose up for past 50 years. I see that is quite obviously caused by human´s activities. Also it can change after another 50 years when we run out of all fossil reserves. Is the solar energy (and other alternative energy sources) the right solution?

December 12, 2010 3:17 pm

I’m more than happy to be wrong on this, but I don’t think the images they used are of the storms they track. I think they have a generic library of Cat 1, Cat 2, etc images that gets shown based on the underlying data. Thus, the image of “Danielle” above may not actually be that storm.
I suspected this when watching the video and my belief is supported by this statement on the source page:
“The overlays used are a compilation of satellite imagery of classic storms, creating a realistic look and feel.”

December 12, 2010 3:38 pm

I just verified that the images are composites and are not the actual storm. That is unless Earl and Danielle had the same cloud pattern when they were Cat 4.
This is not posted to take away from the work that went into building the KMZ file but to ensure that people do not make the mistake made above by confusing an representative illustration with an actual image.

December 12, 2010 3:50 pm

ew-3 says:
December 12, 2010 at 9:05 am
Am I the only one who is suspicious of the motivation for this?
Is a good way of reminding people about hurricanes even if they are not being impacted. Is a subtle way of reinforcing AGW predictions.
ew-3, I agree with your suspicions. Google is one of the promoters of the AGW faith. Google’s search engine downplayed the Climategate release and hid many sites and comments. Who doesn’t remember the ridiculous search numbers which went backwards as more and more sites wrote about climategate?
Whereas scientifically alert people such as on this site will realise these are animations only, how many other people using Google earth will realise this? Google is in a prime position to influence thought on this right around the planet. Google earth has no competitor.
Also there is the subject of what exactly is classed nowadays as a major storm?
What is the point of doing this unless it is to scare people?

December 12, 2010 4:57 pm

Don’t suppose someone could do the same thing for the Pacific Cyclones?…
Those of use who are not Atlantic Oriented sometimes wonder what’s going on in the Pacific…
Nice pictures of what’s happening to family and friends, though…

from mars
December 12, 2010 5:42 pm

When I run the animation on Google Earth, it happens too fast:
All the season in just 4 seconds!
And of course in 4 seconds you don’t see anytning.
How I could slow down the animation to a decent velocity?
(roughly 8 seconds per storm)
Please help!

Richard Patton
December 12, 2010 10:39 pm

@from mars:
Once it’s stopped just move the slider manually from left to right.
Even in the slowest animation speed letting it run by itself is too fast.

Pressed Rat
December 13, 2010 10:00 am

Kinda reminds me of “PacMan”.

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