If you've sailed onboard Star Clippers or seen pretty pictures of the ships at sea then you likely know that the fleet travels under sail whenever possible. When sailing it's vital to understand the direction and strength of the wind to maintain direction and speed.
Years ago sailors had to rely on weather lore and educated guesses to understand wind patterns. Today we are lucky to have onboard instruments that do the job, and as technology advances we have more opportunities to understand the direction of the wind. Recently Cameron Beccario, a software engineer, created an incredible interactive visualization of the wind and other outlying weather patterns called Earth Wind Map, and it's absolutely stunning. Whether you're a sailing enthusiast or just have some time to kill while planning your next vacation visit http://earth.nullschool.net for a hypnotic view of the world and all its wind.
According to Yachting Times magazine,
"The interactive visualization of wind patterns all around the world is created by a script that Beccario wrote which downloads weather data from the Global Forecast System at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, part of the NOAA/the National Weather Service. The raw data is then rendered in your browser in the form of a globe that can be moved by dragging with a mouse or your finger on a handheld device. Data is updated every three hours, so it is as close to real time as you can get."
You can use the technology to check out sailing conditions in your area or to check in while dreaming of the Caribbean. For instance, below is a shot of today's conditions on Royal Clipper's Grenadine Islands itinerary.
Earth Wind Map is fully interactive, so -- in addition to homing in on your area -- you can change the settings to display the wave patterns, heat index and much more. Just tap "earth" in the bottom-left corner of the screen and you'll be greeted with options.
[caption id="attachment_16602" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Wave and heat patterns are available on the Earth Wind Map.
With advancements like this it's hard to believe that not so long ago sailors were whistling to bring a breeze! Happy mapping and happy sailing!
Are you a sail enthusiast? Let us know in the comments!