Hurricane Visualizations

Compiled by Jen Millner at Montana State University and John McDaris at SERC.

Find satellite images and visualizations that illustrate how these violent weather systems form and function, as well as their effects on the natural and human landscapes. There are links about past hurricanes and visualizations of model and hypothetical hurricanes used in research.

Browse the complete set of Visualization Collections. If you have comments or additional resources to add to the page, use our Feedback box to let us know.

Historic Hurricanes

NHC/TPC Archive of Past Hurricane Seasons (more info) This archive at the National Hurricane Center hosts over a century's worth of seasonal hurricane track maps for the Atlantic and Pacific basins as well as a decade of text advisories and graphic images and monthly activity summaries. There are also links to "infamous" storms and frequently requested hurricane information.

Spectacular Hurricane Movies and Images (more info) This page has been developed by R. Hays Cummins, a tropical ecologist and science educator at Miami University of Ohio. This page boasts an extensive list of movies and images from seasons up to and including 2004. There is even a quicktime movie clip of video footage shot by Thomas Edison in the aftermath of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900!

Historical Hurricane Information Tool ( This site may be offline. ) This tool was developed by B.H. Bossak and J.B. Elsner at the Hurricane Climate Institute [] at Florida State University. Using documentary sources from the early 1800s, they built a GIS tool for tracking hurricanes that hit North America between 1800 and 1850. The link goes to a Web version of the tool which is view only. There is a customizable version of the tool that is available by contacting the Hurricane Climate Center.

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory: Hurricane Visualizations (more info) This site from NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory presents descriptions, 3-D images and animations of some noteworthy hurricanes in recent history, including Andrew, Opal and Fran. The gallery also includes hurricane models under increased atmospheric CO2 conditions. The visualizations are offered as examples of various visualization techniques and how they might be used to convey complex results as understandable images.

Observe a Hurricane (more info) This animation shows footage from the GOES 8 satellite as hurricane Dennis approaches the coast of Florida on August 28, 1999. Watch the storm develop and increase in size and force as it approaches landfall. Arrows point to the eye and the eye wall of the storm, as well as peripheral feeder bands. Controls allow the viewer to stop and start the animation and watch it forwards, backwards, and in slow motion.

Historical Significant Events History (more info) This database of images from the National Climatic Data Center has an extensive collection of still images from hurricanes and significant storms that have affected the United States since the 1970s. Users can search the database for images to view or download and can order hardcopy matte or glossy finish prints from the NCDC

NOAA Hurricane Research Division of AOML Photo Galleries (more info) This collection of photo galleries from the NOAA Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory contains images of storms and the aircraft that HRD uses to flying into the storms to gather data. There are also quicktime format video clips taken during flythoughs of the hurricanes that were studied.

Reconstructions and Visualizations of Model Hurricanes

NOAA - Storm Surge Overview: This page from NOAA and the National Hurricane Center gives a very good overview of storm surge. What is it? What factors affect the size of the storms surge? There are also a number of visualizations of storm surge and it's effects as well as record setting historical storm surges with accompanying model reconstructions of the extent of inland flooding.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale ( This site may be offline. ) This flash animation on the Associated Press website shows the typical damage done by each of the five levels of hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It shows the combined effect of the winds and the storm surge on buildings and trees in the hurricane's path.

NASA Hurricane Multimedia Gallery (more info) This gallery contains Quicktime-format video clips of models, reconstructions and satellite imagery from major hurricanes since 1998. There are also some video clips about the science of hurricanes.

NASA Hurricane Resource Page (more info) This NASA page is a clearinghouse of information on NASA's research into hurricane activity. The page provides links to news releases and articles on current hurricane activity as well as some good flash animation segments that visualize how hurricanes work such as 'The Birth of a Hurricane' and 'Looking at Hurricanes'.

Hurricane Visualization (more info) This CNN website allows visitors to navigate inside a virtual hurricane via a VRML (virtual reality modeling language) simulation. Viewing the simulation requires users to download a VRML plugin for their browser (find links to VRML plugins at this nist.gove site:

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