This dramatic visualization of hurricane Katrina masterfully captures the monster storm for a period of 1.5 days as it gathers strength over warm ocean waters.
Scientists at the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications crunched terabytes of data gathered by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, to help create an amazing simulation. It creates an appropriate sense of foreboding for the impending disaster. Bulbous clouds gather moisture and deadly winds gain power as they travel across the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, about to wreak havoc on New Orleans. The colored lines trace the storm's 150 mph winds and represent air rising and falling: rapidly rising air is yellow, sinking air is blue. As time passes the sun, moon, and stars come into view and change positions.
The video is an excerpt from what must be a phenomenal and humbling planetarium film called Dynamic Earth, which explores how the Earth's climate works. The more peaceful marine biosphere excerpt and the abyssal volcano one are also very much worth watching.