Any weather forecaster can tell you how hard the wind is blowing and which direction it's coming from, but how does that relate to what's happening in the rest of the country or even across the planet? This (nearly) live map of global wind patterns puts all of those pieces together, creating a hypnotic image that shows where things are calm, and where you'd better batten down the hatches.
This vision of Earth was created by Tokyo based software engineer Cameron Beccario, using data from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction and the GFS Model at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The map isn't truly in real time, as it's only updated once every three hours (after all of the data has been crunched), but that's good enough to show you where the action is. This is somewhat similar to the U.S. wind map we saw last year, but we think Beccario's global version is far more mesmerizing.
With a little poking around, you'll find that you can spin the globe to focus in on a particular region, then zoom in to get more detail. If you click on the Earth button, you can then use the air pressure setting to alter the altitude of the winds you're looking at. Hit the 250 hPa button and you'll soon discover why they call four to eight miles up the jet stream, and why it's an hour and a half faster to fly from California to New York than going the other way.