Every so often I stumble upon an app or site capable of reducing me to a child cut loose in a toy store. OK, so I’m a weather nut, no shame in that. Nor surprising my toy store is an interactive map of global winds and ocean currents.
Weather is humbling – despite technology, scientific advances and satellite tracking – we’re powerless to stand between our lives and a bad storm. Rarely given the respect it deserves, blissfully unaware nature doesn’t care who you are or where you live, blinded by a bloated sense of entitlement – weather resides in the land of local forecasts and grade school felt board representations. Smiley suns, puffed blowing cheeks of grumpy looking clouds – weather reduced to robotic statistics following sport reports.
Weather can’t be dismissed as “local” or “national” – weather is global, an intricate symphony of cause and affect. The top ten feet of oceans hold as much heat as the entire atmosphere. Ocean currents move and redistribute heat. Hurricanes form only when surface water reaches 79 degrees Fahrenheit – the tipping point where evaporation meets rotation of the earth – unstoppable, inevitable and indiscriminate.
Wind carries upwards of 200 million tons of “mineral dust” from the Sahara into the atmosphere every year. Transported thousands of kilometers in the upper atmosphere, mineral dust deposits fuel plankton blooms (resulting in increased fish) reduction of ocean temperatures (fewer hurricanes), rejuvenated Amazon rainforests, and stunted growth of coral reefs in the Caribbean. Unpredictable, impossible to anticipate – at the mercy of natural forces we can only stand back and witness.
When I stumble upon a tool to observe nature in all her glory I go slightly bonkers. The first link below is to a page highlighting the virtues of an interactive global wind map. You can watch global wind or ocean currents, adjust settings for specific countries, atmospheric height or chuck wind and focus on ocean currents. The second link takes you directly to the interactive site – one I hope you find time to play with after wetting your appetite on the overview.