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Beautiful Visualizations Of America’s Gusty Winds

Beautiful Visualizations Of America’s Gusty Winds

Oklahoma, you may have heard, is where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. And indeed, America’s Great Plains have often been targeted as the perfect location for a lot of wind turbines to capture some of those sweeping winds and turn them into something more helpful, like electricity. This interactive map helps give you a sense of just how much of that wind there is.

Created by Nicolas Garcia Belmonte (and really best viewed in Chrome, we’ve found), the map takes the last 72 hours of wind data from the many weather stations across the country and shows you where, how fast, and how cold it’s blowing:

This map just shows direction (which way the pink line is pointing) and speed (how long the line is). You can see that there is, indeed, a lot of wind on the plains, as well as the Atlantic coast–also home to the beach houses of wealthy people, which can sometimes make turbine installation tricky.

This version of the map adds temperature: The darker the circle, the colder it is. Speed, meanwhile, is now indicated by the size of the circle. What’s that insanely large circle in the northeast? That’s the weather station on Mt. Washington in Maine, which records gusts of well over 100 miles per hour (including a record 231 MPH in 1934). Sadly, there isn’t really enough space up there for a wind farm.

With all the talk these days about how far solar is advancing–and, on the flipside, all the problems with Solyndra–it can sometimes seem like we’ve forgotten about the other kinds of power. But that wind is going to be exploited (just ask T. Boone Pickens), and when it is, you’ll have this handy map to know where your power is coming from that day.

Hat tip: Flowing Data

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