Sandy's Hemispheric Scale (in GIFs)

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/sandys-hemispheric-scale-in-gifs/264228/