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Weather Animations

A Guide to the Best Interactive Weather Animations and Visualizations


Weather animations can help to enhance weather science knowledge by allowing the user to view a meteorological process step-by-step. Each animation in this list has been chosen for its high quality and accuracy. In addition, I have chosen animations that cover a range of meteorology topics at various levels of understanding. Teachers and students may want to use these animations when creating science fair projects, earth science lesson plans, or PowerPoint projects.

1. The Stages of Hurricane Development

CNN.com presents this simple tutorial which demonstrates the development of a hurricane from a tropical disturbance, to a tropical storm, and to a full-blown hurricane.

2. Hurricane Katrina: The Levees

This excellent interactive graphic shows just how and why hurricane Katrina was so devastating to New Orleans. An interactive map shows the direction of the floods as well as the locations of the levees. Using a control panel, the user gets a step-by-step view of the flooding of New Orleans.

3. The Birth of Hurricanes Videos

The birth of hurricanes is examined in my own list of the 10 best hurricane animations. Most of the links are for videos, but everything from the Saffir-Simpson scale to hurricane paths are examined.

4. Hurricane Katrina Floods

This visualization shows the floodwaters that rose during hurricane Katrina. (Copyright 2005 3DNature.com)

5. National Hurricane Center Virtual Tour

Tour the National Hurricane Center (NHC) from home with this easy to use Java program. A guided tour with audio will show users how the NHC works. No internet connection is required in the classroom because this program can be downloaded and saved on local computers. A great addition to any hurricane lesson plan.

6. Hurricane Rita and the Re-Flooding of New Orleans

3DNature.com brings this animation showing the re-flooding of the Ninth Ward and Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after hurricane Rita's storm surge which spilled over the temporary dike repairs made after hurricane Katrina. (Copyright 2005)

7. Types of Precipitation

By manipulating the wet and dry bulb temperatures, users can determine the types of precipitation that will be released from a cloud. With the ability to include an updraft, students can learn the temperatures necessary to produce rain, snow, sleet, and hail. This animation is easy to use and understand, but is for middle school levels and up.

8. Hurricane Eye Formation

Hurricane Floyd is used as a basis for creating this animation on the formation of a hurricane, wind flow patterns in a hurricane, and the creation of the hurricane eye. The animation is courtesy of Southern Utah University. While the animation is very brief, it is effective.

9. Hadley Cells and the ITCZ

Exploring the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is a breeze with this Prentice Hall animation. Students can show areas of high and low pressure, Hadley cell formation, and precipitation over a global map. The labels can be turned off on this animation for quizzing students.

10. The Atmosphere - Layers, Height, and Composition

The layers of the atmosphere are presented in this excellent animation series. There is a sidebar menu for a truly interactive experience. While the information is more basic, this weather animation would also serve as an excellent review for older students.

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