Atmospheric Heating Animations

Compiled by Mark Francek (more info) at Central Michigan University (more info)

Find animations covering the electromagnetic spectrum, Earth's radiation balance, temperature contours, and the urban heat island.

Click here to browse the complete set of Visualization Collections.

Drawing Temperature Contours, University of Wisconsin (more info) The site employs a series of Java applets to give students practice drawing temperature contours. A strength of the site is that the exercises is arranged in order of increasing difficulty.

Urban Heat Island, NASA (more info) While this MPEG could have been better designed to show how and why urban areas absorb more heat than surrounding vegetated areas, there is value in seeing enhanced convection over the city, cloud formation favored by increased condensation nuclei, and increased showers downwind of the city. The complete story, NASA Satellite Confirms Urban Heat Islands Increase Rainfall Around Cities (which can be found here:, accompanies this animation.