A Stunning Visualization of the Polar Vortex

There is no shortage of stunning photographs that record how the US was frozen solid earlier this month, but this animated GIF brings the big freeze to life in stunning technicolor.

Generated by the data visualizer Earth, this animation is taken from a fully interactive version that allows you to zoom in and out, observing the winds of the polar vortex in great detail across different altitudes. The streamlines represent the motion of the winds in the stratosphere; their density indicates speed, so more lines represents faster winds. The data is actually taken from supercomputer models of the weather rather than raw data, but the results are still stunning. [Earth via Discover via National Journal]