The Earth's Winds, Visualized in Glorious Detail

This colorful map might look fun, but it's seriously useful too. The result of NASA research, it's one of the most detailed simulations of the Earth's winds yet.

Spat out by NASA's Goddard Earth Observing System Model, which can simulate worldwide weather at resolutions as fine as a gobsmacking 3.5 kilometers, it shows the winds that whistle around our fair planet. In this case, the visualization shows global winds simulated using a 10-kilometer resolution. Surface winds, which range between 0 and 40 meters/second, are shown in white, while upper-level winds, which range between 0 and 175 meters/second, are shown in color. Red is fast.

The model, which ran on the Discover supercomputer at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation, is actually part of large project called "Nature Run". Eventually, those simulations will show how biomass burning, volcanoes and anthropogenic sources affect the planet's climate. [NASA]

Image Credit: William Putman/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center