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Whoosh: Animated global weather map has winning winds

Not just for weather junkies, an online interactive global wind map will capture your imagination with a colorful swirl of moving wind patterns.

Wind map with polar attitude
Check out that big sweep of red. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

As little humans on this big planet, we can feel the impact of something like the infamous polar vortex. We can see the snow outside and notice the wind blowing the trees, but it can be hard to put it into a global perspective. That's where supercomputers can be a big help.

A supercomputer-powered Web site project sporting the humble name "earth" is a fascinating look at global weather patterns. It comes from software developer Cameron Beccario and it will suck you into a world full of weather-induced curves and swirls viewable at different levels in the atmosphere.

The globe, with its animated lines of colorful wind patterns, can be rotated and zoomed to get in close on a particular location. The closer you click, the more surreal it gets, until the wind looks like some hairy alien growing across your state.

Try out the different heights and overlay options (like temperature) and watch weather patterns around the world meld into each other and connect across continents.

The visualization of global weather conditions is generated by supercomputers, with the forecast being updated every three hours.

It's especially fun to check in on the site when unusual patterns like the polar vortex pop up. Even if things near the surface look relatively calm, higher up there can be intense whirls of wind. Beccario's map succeeds in making the world feel like a smaller place, where the wind blowing across your face is connected to gusts across the globe.

(Via Project Loon)