Visualizing American Wind Power Potential

by Mark Lovett on April 9, 2012

Significant progress has been made in recent years, yet the potential for capitalizing on wind power is largely untapped.  The main issue continues to rest wtih politicians (often known as petroleum prostitutes) who are firmly entrenched in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry, and we certainly don’t want to leave out the climate deniers (who also believe in the tooth fairy), but another key factor in the equation involves our inability to visualize the enormous resource that wind represents.

American Wind Power Live Motion Map

Click on image to see current map in motion!

Creative & graphical data analysis to the rescue!  Using surface wind data from the National Digital Forecast Database, Fernanda B. Viégas and Martin Wattenberg have created just such a visualization.  In order to show just how variable the many wind patterns are across the United States they captured some previous days of activity.  Compare the image from the current day above with two days in March of 2012.

March 17, 2012

American Wind Power Map March 17 2012

Click on image to see March 17, 2012 map in motion!

March 27, 2012

American Wind Power Map March 27 2012

Click on image to see March 27, 2012 map in motion!

Once you get to the full motion image, click on a specific area to zoom in and check out the wind patterns in more detail.  You can also hold down the left mouse button and drag the image across the screen.  Hopefully this visual representation of wind will help us all appreciate an incredible natural resource, provided free of charge!

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