Visualizing Severe Weather in 3-D. (Meteorology)

Article excerpt

A real-time, three-dimensional visualization system may help severe-weather researchers improve the timeliness and accuracy of forecasting the formation, path, and possible effects of storms. Researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, are developing a computer-based system to view and analyze large observational data sets, including information from radar stations, severe-weather detection software, high-resolution weather models, geographic information systems, satellites, and aerial photography. These sources will not only provide weather information, but data on terrain, building locations, and even human activities, such as rush-hour traffic.

All of this data will be merged in a platform called the Virtual Geographic Information System, previously developed by the project's lead researchers. The system will run on a personal computer and be viewed on a monitor or large-screen projection. Weather researchers will use the visualization system to improve storm-detection software used by forecasters, and the National Weather Service may eventually use the system to help decide whether it is necessary to issue watches and warnings. …