Sandy's Hemispheric Scale (in GIFs)

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The storm might be a thousand miles across, but its impact across the earth is even larger than that.

windmapgiftoday.gif

On most days, the simply named 'wind map, is a beautiful visualization of the nation's wind patterns. Little lines, representing the speed of the wind, swirl into swoops and swooshes and whorls. There are usually scores of different wind phenomena that appear on the map. But not today.

Today, the massive storm system heading right for the New York metro area has entangled a vast chunk of the continent's wind, not to mention the entire Atlantic's weather, which we don't see on this map. Sandy is a hemispheric scale storm. If you're east of the Mississippi and west of central Europe, this system is influencing the air around you.

For comparison to the image above, here are two other GIFs of other days. The first shows Hurricane Isaac, the other Tropical Storm Debby.

Isaac:

hurricaneisaac_2.gif

Debby:

June26_2.gif
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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