Supercomputer animation of Hurricane Katrina's formation

NASA has created a stunning animation that depicts the global weather patterns which led to the formation of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. The animation was created on a supercomputer by Greg Shirah and Jeff de La Beaujardiere at NASA's Center for Scientific Visualization.

The animation was created with GEOS-5, a high resolution global atmospheric model. The animation begins in early August 2005 with a perspective of the North Pole and depicts the swirling winds which are driven by the Coriolis effect. The view then pans down to Africa where tropical storms often originate. As the animation pans across the Atlantic, the tropical storms which culminate in the formation of Hurricane Katrina become visible. The animation concludes with Katrina's landfall in North America.

NASA also uses GEOS-5 to track and predict tropical storms and hurricanes at its Global Modeling and Assimilation Offices (GMAO). In fact, the GMAO uses GEOS-5 to generate near real time analyses of the atmosphere over the earth every six hours. GMAO also produces five-day forecasts twice daily using the GEOS-5 model. The GMAO's primary mission is to predict weather and atmospheric processes with satellite data and global models. You can learn more about the important work done by the GMAO here.

You can find over 5000 visualizations, animations and images at NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.  Its mission is the creation of educational visualizations in order to promote a greater understanding of Earth and Space Science research activities.  

 Photo and Video Credit (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)