Watch This Gorgeous and Terrifying Simulation of Hurricane Katrina as It Gathers Strength

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.

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DISCUSSION

SouthernOracle
SouthernOracle

Okay, two things:

First, why is are the blue lines and yellow lines moving together so much in the video? If blue is sinking air and yellow is rising, they should never move in parallel as they do for much of the video.

Second, why in the world would you zoom in so close to something as huge and complex as a hurricane? There's no sense of scale and you can't see the structure building as the storm's power increases. The whole video looks like a bunch of spinning lines and does nothing to explain to me how a hurricane forms and builds in strength.

Interesting simulation, but complete fail on the camera man.